News JVTech Bill Gates invests in the air conditioning of the future to fight global warming
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As temperatures continue to rise on Earth, more and more air conditioning is used to compensate and this is worsening the ecological situation. A startup funded by Bill Gates may have found the solution with new air conditioning technology.
Air conditioning, a vicious circle awaiting a solution
According to a study carried out by the NREL (US National Research Laboratory for Renewable Energy), air conditioning accounts for about 4% of the world’s total greenhouse gases, or 1.95 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, split evenly between air conditioning and humidity control. The first is a cause that is obvious to say the least, but the second has long eluded scientific research.
The real problem is the very diverse functions of dehumidifiers that make them indispensable. Indeed, high humidity in the air causes a feeling of discomfort but can also cause damage to buildings and the creation of mould.
If the use of humidity controllers in indoor spaces is an environmental disaster, it is for three main reasons:
- Appliances consume a lot of electricity
- To extract humidity and provide air conditioning, a vapor compression technique is used which requires the use and rejection of components containing CFC, a type of molecule derived from fluorinated gases and directly responsible for the degradation of the ozone.
- The manufacture and delivery of these devices greatly contribute to the production of greenhouse gases.
Today, the creation of CO2 is balanced between the energy consumption of air conditioners and the release of CFCs, but it is the latter which should increase more and more over the years, due to emerging countries such as China. , India or Indonesia, which are increasingly accessing this kind of technology. This is a positive point for their comfort but negative for the rest of the planet.
What the NREL report specifies is that there is not really a solution to be found around the air conditioning and humidity control system that we have already been using for decades. It is imperative to find sustainable and less consuming alternatives. This is perhaps what this Tennessee startup has managed to discover.
Two startups and Bill Gates as reinforcements to develop the air conditioning of tomorrow
While the observation is made on the negative consequences and the limits of the current method of air conditioning, we can already glimpse a new technology which should become more and more extensive. It is the NREL which is the instigator and is allied with two American startups: Emerson and Blue Frontier.
Blue Frontier has just reached its investment objective of 20 million dollars (19.6 million euros), mainly financed by Bill Gates, the former CEO of Microsoft. But what is this method?
Initially, the research team was looking at a way to fight anthrax, an infectious disease found naturally in the soil and which could be used as a terrorist biological weapon. This bacterium consists of liquid desiccants, a compound that can be pressurized more easily than water. Thus, much less CFCs are needed to compress the vapor and therefore dehumidify and air-condition a place.
The result of this stratagem: only requires between a third and a quarter of the amount of CFC components to operate, for an impact on global warming reduced by 85%. Finally, the efficiency of the whole procedure is improved by 40% to, in 2050, reduce the production of CO2 linked to air conditioning and dehumidification in the world by 42% in 2050. That is the equivalent of 2460 tonnes avoided each year .
Even if the project has not yet been finalized, there are already test units in 2022, for installation in commercial buildings in 2025, and in private homes in 2026.