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Solid refrigerants for cleaner heating and cooling

Agriculture & Energy

The system boosts the efficiency of HVAC technologies and has zero global warming potential

Spotted: The average HVAC system consumes around 40 per cent of a building’s total energy consumption, with most cooling systems also using F-gases – gaseous refrigerants that have an extremely high global warming potential and enter the atmosphere when pipes and equipment leak. Making HVAC systems more efficient while limiting the use of F-gases is key to cutting emissions, and US-based Pascal is leading the charge.

The startup has developed a class of solid refrigerants that can be used in heat pumps, air conditioners, refrigerators, and more. Pascal’s technology transfers heat via solid-to-solid phase change, where the refrigerants undergo significant temperature changes when they’re expanded or compressed.

The system operates at the same temperature and pressure ranges as conventional gas refrigerants, but provides a 50 to 80 per cent improvement in energy efficiency. Crucially, the solid refrigerants have zero global warming potential. According to Pascal, its technology is cost-competitive with conventional systems, as well as being smaller, quieter, and safer. Plus, it can be manufactured using existing industrial systems and parts already available in the conventional HVAC component supply chain.

The promise of this technology has helped Pascal to raise $8 million (around €7.4 million) in a recent seed funding round led by Engine Ventures. The funds will be used to expand its team, develop large-scale prototypes of the system, and ensure that they conform to commercial HVAC specifications.

Cutting the energy cost of heating and cooling is the goal of various innovations in the Springwise library, including a smart thermal battery and an AC system that reduces emissions by using liquid saltwater solution as a desiccant.

Written By: Lisa Magloff




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