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This article discusses a new residential Central A/C System technology that uses evaporating water to create cooling.  Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C, in Plano, Texas provides full-service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C is near your home in Plano, TX; Allen, TX and Frisco, Texas.  We service all homes in southern Collin County, TX and Denton County, TX with no additional travel charge.

Al’s also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally, we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard), and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).   Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.

We’ve All Experienced Evaporative Cooling

When the outdoor temperature is hot, and it begins to rain, the outdoor temperature drops — this is evaporative cooling.  Heat is used during evaporation  — the heat-energy breaks the bonds that hold water molecules together.  When the bond is broken, water changes from a liquid to a gas (water vapor).   As the water vapor escapes into the air — it takes the heat (required to change it into water vapor) with it.

** Source:  https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/evaporation-and-water-cycle?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects

When And How Air Conditioning Began

The first conventional air conditioner was invented in 1902 by Willis H. Carrier — and W. H. Carrier’s original technology remains largely unchanged.   Conventional air conditioners use mechanical vapor-compression to convert a chemical refrigerant into a liquid.

Around that same time — Indirect Evaporative Cooling (IEC) also debuted in the United States.  IEC cooling systems require much less energy — but were difficult to manufacture because of their complex heating-exchange unit.  As a result, little was done with this technology until recent years.

With today’s focus on; lowering cooling costs, reducing electricity demand — and reducing/eliminating the need to build more “Peaker” Power Plants ** there’s increasing interest in IEC.  IEC Systems operate on as little as 10% of the electricity used by conventional air conditioning.  Because today’s IEC Systems require hot or boiling water — some use natural or propane gas.  Some commercial IEC Systems use solar energy, or waste-heat *** from the facility to heat the water.

** “Peaker” Power Plants run only when electricity demand exceeds the generating capacity of the year-round Power Plants.  Because Peaker Plants are used infrequently — the cost of the electricity they generate is high.

*** Waste-heat is used and discarded by the facility.  An example would be a bread-baking facility.  There’s a tremendous amount of heat in the bread as it leaves the ovens.  This heat can be captured and used again by the Indirect Evaporative Cooling (IEC) System.

 

With Conventional A/C

The outdoor unit converts the refrigerant into a liquid and moves it into the home.

The indoor cooling coil converts the refrigerant into a gas — this causes the refrigerant to become very cold.  Warm indoor air passes through the cooling coil, and the coil removes the heat from the air.  The cooled air is blown into the home by the furnace’s blower-fan.

Next, the refrigerant returns to the outdoor unit, where it’s converted back into a liquid.  While the liquid refrigerant passes through the outdoor unit’s coil — the heat is removed from the refrigerant, and blown into outdoor air.  This cycle repeats the entire time the A/C is running.

Indirect Evaporative Cooling (IEC) Is Based On This Simple Principle

When water evaporates, the surface of the remaining water becomes cooler — and cools the remaining water. 

Today, there are many types of Indirect Evaporative Cooling Systems.   While they may operate differently — the end-result is the same: evaporating water creates cooling.  Below, we discuss a residential Central IEC Air Conditioner that’s started to be sold in 2020.

For Water To Evaporate:

  • The water’s molecules must change from a liquid to a gas (water-vapor).
  • Then the water-vapor molecules can leave the water’s surface.
  • In order for those molecules to leave (evaporate) — they must take heat with them.
  • This creates a cooling effect on the surface of the water left behind.
  • This is known as Evaporative Cooling.

Direct – Evaporative Coolers Have Been Used In The Southwestern U.S. States For Decades

In the hot, dry areas of the southwestern U.S.  — “Swamp Coolers” (also known as Evaporative Coolers) have been used to cool homes for decades.  These coolers have water running from top to bottom through the cooler (then the used water drips out).   Air is drawn directly through the wet surface inside the cooler — and evaporating water cools the air.  This works well in some southwestern states because they have low outdoor humidity.   The lower the outdoor humidity — the better an Evaporative Cooler works, because it’s able to evaporate more water into dry air as it passes through the cooler.

Direct Evaporative Coolers require low outdoor humidity to work — and they add a lot of humidity to the indoor air.  Evaporative Coolers won’t work in humid areas like DFW.   They can’t cool well because the outdoor air entering them already has high humidity — so the evaporation process is limited.   Also, in humid climates, and evaporative cooler would cause the home to feel unacceptably humid and uncomfortable.

Due to typical summer humidity levels — most areas of the U.S. can’t use Evaporative Coolers.   A cooling system that cools & removes humidity from indoor air is required.   Indirect Evaporative Cooling (IEC) uses a heating-exchange unit to cool & dehumidify the air.  This keeps the evaporating water separated from indoor air.

home with a swamp cooler or evaporative cooler

Image Source: ShutterStock

Shown: Evaporative Cooler Installed In A Home.

 

How The OxyCool (brand) Indirect Evaporative Cooling (IEC) System Works

Copy this URL into your browser to learn more about OxyCool: https://www.oxicool.com

OxyCool, located in Malvern, PA — has begun making an Indirect Evaporative Cooling System that uses water as its refrigerant — and uses only 10% of the electricity of conventional A/C.   This system also uses natural gas to heat water.   OxiCool is looking into other sources of heat — such as solar energy.   The OxyCool company said their system’s operating cost (using natural gas): “should be around half of similarly sized conventional A/C systems.”   Pre-orders for this System began in January 2020.

OxyCool has a very efficient Heating Exchange Unit made of ceramic — plus a surface-coating is applied to make the ceramic water-repellant.   This A/C System uses up to 75% less energy (electricity + gas) than conventional A/C.  And, this system uses water as its refrigerant — instead of the environment-damaging refrigerants used in conventional A/C.

Note: The Heating Exchange Unit is produced with a 3-D Printer.

With OxiCool:

In The Outdoor Unit:

  • A gas flame boils water inside a vacuum chamber to create steam/water-vapor.
  • The steam rises and collects on a component designed to attract water molecules — OxiCool calls this component a: “molecular-sieve”.           Note: This component is OxyCool’s Heating Exchange Unit.
  • The negatively-charged water-vapor molecules are attracted to the positively-charged molecules in the molecular-sieve.
  • As the water evaporates on the molecular-sieve, it takes heat with it — and the remaining water becomes cooler.
  • The evaporation causes the temperature of the remaining water to lower as much as 15 degrees (F) within 20 seconds.

 

Also Going On In The Outdoor Unit:

  • Since OxyCool uses a vacuum (versus direct heat) to boil the water  — this causes the water-vapor to draw all the heat away (Remember — the water molecules take heat with them when they evaporate).
  • Next, fans and condensers cool the water-vapor — to return it back to a liquid.
  • This water is returned to the system to be reused (it never needs water added).
  • The heat, removed from the water-vapor during this process, is blown into the outdoor air.

 

Next, the cooled water leaves the outdoor cube — and is distributed into the indoor wall-units throughout the home.

  • Inside the indoor units — the water cools a coil.
  • The indoor unit passes indoor air through the coil.
  • The coil cools as the air as it passes through.  Because the coil is cool — it also removes some of the humidity (just like conventional A/C).
  • The cooled air is returned into the room.
  • Then the water returns to the outdoor unit.
  • This cycle repeats until the System turns off.

Source: https://techxplore.com/news/2020-04-technology-cools-air-adding-humidity.html

Source: https://sciencing.com/evaporation-cause-cooling-5315235.html

Why Would OxyCool’s (using natural gas & electricity) Operating Cost Be Nearly Half That Of A Traditional Central A/C

OxyCool uses only 10% of the electricity of a conventional A/C.

Residential natural gas is much less expensive than electricity.

This Is Due To The Inefficiencies During Electricity Generation And Transmission & Distribution To Our Homes. 

Electricity Rates Must Include The Cost Of These Inefficiencies.

 

  • In a best-case scenario — at least 45% of the natural gas’ energy is lost during electricity; generation, transmission & distribution.

electricity generating power plant

SHOWN: Power Plants Generate Electricity.  Note: What you see rising into the sky in this photo is steam (from a cooling-tower) — not smoke.

 

  • Today’s high-efficiency, natural gas power plants are 60% efficient.    Older natural gas Power Plants are as low as 42% efficient.   As compared, today’s natural gas furnaces are 80% — 95% efficient.
  • The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates that 5% of the electricity is lost during transmission and distribution. 
  • Total Loss = 45% (with a high-efficiency gas power plant):  40% Lost Generating Electricity + 5% Lost During Transmission & Distribution.
  • Total Loss = 63% — with an old, inefficient gas power plant.  58% Lost Generating Electricity + 5% Lost During Transmission & Distribution.

 

On A Side Note: Who Provides Electricity Transmission & Distribution To DFW Area Homes?

  • Dallas gets its power from the ERCOT Power Grid (Energy Reliability Council Of Texas).  ERCOT is the electricity transmission provider for the state of Texas.   Transmission lines carry electricity long distances.

electricity transmission lines

Image Source: ShutterStock

SHOWN: Transmission Lines Carry Electricity Long Distances.

Click Here To Learn More About ERCOT: ERCOT

 

  • Oncor owns the poles & wires that distribute electricity to DFW.  Distribution lines reduce the electricity’s voltage and bring it to our homes & businesses.

electricity distribution lines with transformers

SHOWN: Electricity Distribution Lines Reduce The Voltage Of The Electricity — Then Send It To Homes & Business.  Note: Those round, metal things are transformers that reduce the voltage.

On A Side Note: These Energy Sources Power Texas’ Electricity Generating Plants

  • 48.2%  Natural Gas
  • 20.4% Coal
  • 19.2% Wind.
  • Texas wind-generated electricity depends on traditional power plants when the wind isn’t blowing.  Also, if the wind is blowing too hard (>55 mph) — turbines automatically shut down to protect them from damage.
  • 10.5% Nuclear
  •  1.4% Sun & Water

wind farm

Image Source: ShutterStock

SHOWN: One Of Several Texas Wind Farms

  • The “Wind-Belt” exists in the middle of the U.S. and into Canada.
  • The wind-belt includes; Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, No. & So. Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Minnesota, and Iowa.
  • As the time this was written, Texas had 14,750 wind turbines operating.
  • Texas was the world’s 5th largest wind-energy producer.
  • The U.S. produces 96 MegaWatts (MW) of wind-generated electricity — 25MW are generated in Texas.

 

Source: U.S. Office Of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/10/18/texas-wind-energy-so-strong-its-beating-out-coal-power/3865995002/

 

Click Here To Learn About Texas’ Wind Farms: Texas Wind Farms

 

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This article discussed a new residential Central A/C System technology that uses evaporating water to create cooling.  Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C, in Plano, Texas provides full-service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C is near your home in Richardson, TX; Garland, TX and Wylie, Texas.  We service all homes in southern Collin County, TX and Denton County, TX with no additional travel charge.

Al’s also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally, we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard), and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).   Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.