Cooling with the Sun

Daniel Merget, Florian Merget, Sebastian Osterspey

project report

The goal of our project is to find ways of using solar energy for environmentally friendly and cheap air conditioning.

Our initial idea of powering a conventional air conditioner with solar cells turned out to be far too expensive and impractical due to insufficient sunlight in Germany.

Our second idea was based on evaporation of water. Using a zeolite, we were able to cool water enough to freeze it without using electricity. This method is particularly suitable for sunny countries in the Third World with limited or unreliable electrical infrastructure. However, Europe is not sunny enough to dry zeolites in an economical and environmentally friendly way.

Our third method was more successful. The MMO-Method (Merget-Merget-Osterspey-Method) uses cool soil and solar energy. We were able to show through calculations that this combination allows environmentally friendly air conditioning in our region. Furthermore, the MMO-Method can be easily integrated in existing buildings as it can use the existing heating system with cooled rather than heated water. However, the use of our method is most elegant in new buildings, where a heat pump can be used for under floor heating during the winter, while the ceilings can serve as large solar powered cooling surfaces during the summer.

We hope that we have identified sensible ways of combining environmental protection with a comfortable life.

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