Revolutionary air conditioner could cool world more efficiently

2:05 PM, Aug 30, 2010   |    comments
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The air conditioning unit developed by Coolerado may look like the others, but it is revolutionary because of its efficiency. It requires a tenth of the energy used by most air conditioners - about the power needed to run six 100-watt light bulbs.

"This unit will improve humanity and improve society overall because it is so efficient," Rick Gillan, the executive vice president at Coolerado, said. "It is by far the most efficient air conditioner on the planet."

Most air conditioners used at homes and businesses currently require a tremendous amount of power, especially during peak summer heat. That forces power companies to build more plants to create power that's not regularly needed.

"If your air conditioner is drawing a whole bunch of power, you have to build a bunch of power plants to meet that capacity," Gillan explained. "If there aren't enough power plants just to meet that summer peak load, then you have to go to a brownout condition, because you don't have enough generation to go around."

A scientist working with Coolerado made a big discovery in thermodynamics, which allows the air conditioning units to run on much less energy. The company is able to use evaporating water too cool the air, but without making it humid like swamp coolers.

According to Gillan, scientists with the National Center of Atmospheric Research didn't believe the Maisotsenko Thermodynamic Cycle, as it has been titled, was possible - but Coolerado proved them wrong.

"It's very rewarding to be able to have someone say you can't do it and then prove them wrong and then have them test it and say, 'by golly you can do it,'" Gillan said.

The company is pretty secretive about their invention, but showed 9NEWS the pieces which make it work.

It all starts with flexible sheets, which look like those inside CD storage cases.

"The shiny surface feels like Saran wrap. The back surface feels like a disposable diaper," Gillan said.

Eighty of those sheets are placed into cubes called heat and mass exchangers, which are then stacked into the air conditioning units. The more of those cubes, the more air it can cool.

"We can make these air conditioners as large as we want," Gillan said. "We simply stack the heat and mass exchangers as high and wide as we want to make as much air conditioner as we want."

Coolerado air conditioners are more expensive than their counterparts on the market, but the energy efficiency they create pays off over time.

"Commercial clients find it pays for itself in a couple years," Gillan said.

The company has big plans. While Coolerado is focusing on commercial clients now, the goal is to expand.

"Our hope is that one day everyone will have a Coolerado in their home, in their business, in their automobile. All kinds of places," Gillan said.

They're already catching on in Colorado and around the world.

"The only continent we don't have a system on is Antarctica. I don't think they need one," Gillan said.

Coolerado was one of 50 Colorado Companies to Watch chosen by the state's Office of Economic Development and International Trade. For more information about Coolerado, go to http://www.coolerado.com.

(KUSA-TV © 2010 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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