A US company, 7AC Technologies is developing salt-driven air conditioning technology that is claimed to use up to 80% less power than conventional HVAC technologies.

Right now, Aussies are loving their cool offices, shops and living rooms but they also want to save money and cut carbon. But you can’t have everything!

Could salt-driven air conditioning be the way of the future?

7AC Technologies’ liquid desiccant and membrane based system features an all-plastic conditioner, which treats the outside air and a regenerator, for re-concentrating the desiccant.

In contrast, most modern air conditioners actually use technology that is 50 years old. They use condensers which cool the air by removing the moisture from it (in much the same way a fridge does).

How the proposed new system works:

  • The system features flat, multi-layered plastic plates, covered with a proprietary membrane.
  • Water flows inside each plate and salt water is sprayed over their surfaces. The salt solution rolls down the surface and attracts water vapour from the air.
  • The salt water passes through another set of plates which heat the solution and pump out hot, moist air.
  • The salt solution, minus some water, is recirculated back toward the dehumidification plates
Apart from the extra energy efficiency, it is hoped that the system will open the possibility of true net-zero energy retrofits. In addition, it can cool in summer and recover heat and moisture in winter.

7AC Technologies recently secured an investment milestone and the next phase of development is now underway. Aussies sitting cool at home can await the results with interest.

Photo: a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from włodi's Flickr photo stream