The CSIRO and their solar panel air-conditioning system at Stockland Wendouree Shopping Centre in Ballarat, Victoria has recently proven the extent of solar powered technology.
Using concentrating solar thermal technology, the system is able to use the heat power the air conditioning system which will help save on running costs.
With support from The Australian Renewable Energy Agency, that provided $520,000 towards the $1.2 million, three-year project that is, co-managed with Stockland Group and NEP Solar.
The system works with a closed-loop system uses two ‘desiccant’ wheels to remove moisture from the air, acting as a dehumidifier. Then a high temperature wheel uses solar heat for regeneration while the low temperature wheel functions without any external heat to deliver greater efficiency. An indirect evaporative cooler reduces the temperature of the dehumidified air without altering the moisture content of the air stream.
NEP’s solar troughs are installed on Stockland Wendouree’s rooftop, trapping heat from the sun.
The heat is then stored in a thermal oil tank that will deliver space heating and cooling.
Alongside the cost and energy efficiency, the technology uses 40% less space than a traditional single stage desiccant air-conditioning system, it also allows humidity controlled fresh air into the boiling for temperature comfort.
CSIRO Energy Director, Peter Mayfield, said he is pleased as punch with the early results.
“Our energy research is driving down costs of renewable technologies, accelerating the transition to a lower-emissions future. We are pioneering new technologies and this project is a world-first demonstration of a desiccant air conditioning system using roof-mounted concentrating solar thermal collectors to drive energy efficiency.”
“It has the potential to further improve the efficiency of solar thermal energy systems and storage to provide clean and reliable heating and cooling in commercial buildings.” Said ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht