On April 27th, Martine Stillman (Synapse Mechanical Engineer Program Lea
NREL, the only federal laboratory dedicated to the research, development, commercialization, and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, selected Synapse to develop functional 1/10th and full scale proof of concept prototypes to demonstrate physically what theoretical modeling and simulations have shown. The NREL DEvap Air Conditioning concept uses desiccant materials which remove moisture from the air by using heat and advanced evaporative technologies. The result is a cooling unit that uses 90% less electricity and up to 80% less total energy than traditional air conditioning.
With a goal of revolutionizing air-conditioning, NREL’s engineers saw an opportunity to combine membranes, evaporative coolers and desiccants (AKA salt solutions) into a single device. NREL’s DEVap relies on the desiccants’’ capacity to create dry air using heat and evaporative coolers’ capacity to take dry air and make cold air.
The DEVap replaces the refrigeration cycle with a thermally activated absorption cycle and is capable of being powered by natural gas and solar energy. In addition to superior energy efficiency, the use of salt solutions means none of the harmful carbons associated with refrigerants are being released into the air. Furthermore, using far less electricity leads to a lower monthly energy cost.