Solar-concentrating thermal technology is the technology used in the air-conditioning system of an entire shopping centre in Australia as reported by Gizmag.
With around 60% of all energy used in shopping centres being consumed by heating and cooling needs, this new system could lead the way to significant power and money in a range of large commercial businesses.
The air-conditioning system is installed in the Ballarat, Victoria Stockland Wendouree Shopping Centre. CSIRO developed the prototype system and partly funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. The organisation’s aim is to increase the supply and competitiveness of renewable energy in Australia. The same program also gave their support with the CSIROs record breaking solar-powered supercritical steam generator.
The prototype solar-powered system is a closed-loop air-conditioner, meaning, it heats and cools air within the building without introducing any outside air into the system. The system has a pair of drying wheels that act as dehumidifiers to remove moisture from the air. It operates at separate temperatures – the high-temp wheel uses the captured energy for generating the low-temp wheel, which operates without any external heat at all.
According to CSIRO Energy Director Peter Mayfield CSIRO’s energy research is driving down costs of renewable technologies, accelerating the transition to a lower-emissions future. He also said that they are pioneering new technologies and the project is a world-first demonstration of this type of air-conditioning system using a roof-mounted concentrating solar thermal collectors.