Researchers at Michigan State University have developed a low-cost, energy-efficient method of cooling and dehumidifying residential and small commercial spaces, the University has announced.
"The technology used for this air conditioner is radically different," said Norbert Muller, assistant professor in the University's mechanical engineering department. Muller and associate John Barrie of the Appropriate Technology Collaborative, Ann Arbor, Mich., recently won the Boston Innovation Prize for their discovery.
The air conditioner uses water vapor as the refrigerant. When water vapor is used this way, it is referred to as R-718. Water vapor can be more efficient than traditional refrigerants bug engineering the compressor is difficult and expensive, Muller explained.
Muller invented a way to make an economical compressor that is small and lightweight by designing a novel turbo compressor woven out of high-strength fibers with an integrated motor.