High-efficiency solar collectors also used for solar cooling

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The University of Naples Federico II in collaboration with Arin and Anea, is working on a prototype of a solar collector for improved "solar cooling", a technology that allows the air-conditioned rooms with solar thermal energy. Eco Maximus interviewed by the City of Dentex Accadia, project leader

Harnessing the sun's heat to power an air conditioning system. It's called "solar cooling" (solar cooling) and is the last frontier of sustainable energy. The technology, which provides for the production of air conditioning and cold water as thermal energy derived from sunlight, is the basis of the Sahara project (Solar-assisted heating and refrigeration appliances), a few weeks ago he received a substantial funding ( 352mila euros) from the Ministry of Environment. Promoted by the University of Naples Federico II in collaboration with Anea Agency (Neapolitan energy environment) and Arin (Neapolitan Water Company), the Sahara project involves the construction of a prototype of a solar collector that can harness solar energy not only for space heating (solar heating) and produce hot water, but also to power a cooling system (solar cooling, in fact). The innovative device will be installed on an experimental site in dell'Arin. Echo by City examined the subject, interviewing Massimo Dentice of occurrence, a professor of Detec (Department of Energy, CFD applications and environmental conditions) of the Federico II University and project leader

Professor, how the system actually work? And 'in some way comparable to a common cold machine?
From the perspective of the end user, a system for solar cooling performs the same functions of a normal air conditioning system, with the crucial difference that, in this case, the chiller used for cooling air is fed mainly by thermal energy instead of electricity. The thermal energy, in turn, will be largely produced by high-efficiency solar collectors that will be designed and manufactured specifically for this type of applications.

Solar collectors are popular for a long time, because this new application requires the development of a different technology?
Compared to conventional solar collectors, those suitable for solar cooling applications must be much more efficient and better insulated from the external environment, as they must produce hot water at temperatures of at least 85-90 ° C.

What will be the efficiency of the prototype in the works in Naples?
The maximum expected nominal efficiency in converting solar energy into cooling will be about 40%: all the energy obtained from solar energy is clean, however, thermodynamically "free", not involving the consumption of fossil energy resources and emissions pollutants.

How you plan to save - in terms of energy, financial resources and emissions - thanks to the installation of the prototype at the headquarters Arin?
Considering both the operation in configuration summer (cooling environments) and with the more conventional, heating and domestic hot water, you save about 30 MWh / year of fossil primary energy, corresponding to approximately 2.5 tons and 10 tons of oil equivalent of CO2 emissions.

What times are expected for the conclusion of the experimental phase and entry into operation of the prototype?
The plant should start operating by next summer, say around May or June 2012.

How soon this technology will be reasonably available on a large scale?
Today it is estimated that worldwide there are about 500 plants for solar cooling, so obviously it is a technology still under development: by the end of the decade, however, that we can achieve a good spread of commercial maturity, and therefore a large scale.

It will be applicable mainly to public and commercial buildings, or is it realistic to be able to take even in private homes?
Ideal applications are also in the long term, those of public and commercial buildings, but also residential applications can be very important, not so much in urban areas, for obvious reasons related to the need for large areas to accommodate the solar collectors, but certainly in the case of mono or multi-family villas isolated, rural housing, etc..

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