Solar powered air conditioning that doesn’t require copious volumes of water or huge arrays of solar panels has been somewhat of a holy grail for the solar industry. Recently we reported on such a solar powered air conditioning unit under development in Australia and now there’s a new player in the market – Chromasun.
Chromasun is a multifunction solar system, containing photovoltaic and solar thermal technology that harvest light and heat from the sun. While traditional solar cells are only able to convert up to 23 percent of light into electric power and solar thermal systems offer up 48%, Chromasun’s makers claim 75 percent efficiency.
Measuring just over 3 meters by 1.3 metres, Chromasun contains mirrors, receivers and a concentrator, plus silicon solar cells.
Chromasun’s system generates electricity from the cells and the waste heat is used to increase the temperature of water or an oil in a sealed tube to 220 degrees Celsius. The heat is then used to warm a solution containing a refrigerant which then boils away. When the solution and refrigerant are recombined, the temperature is much lower and can then be utilized to cool a room. The unit is best suited to hot, dry climates such as South and Western Australia.
The Chromasun system uses 95 percent less silicon than a conventional solar panel with the same power rating due to concentrator component. Spaces between the mirrors allow sunlight through which can be used to light the interior below.