As households battle with the rising cost of heating and cooling their homes, renewable energy ideas are springing forth that may put our resources on a much more stable footing. Keep an eye out for what is on the horizon…
Geothermal Heat Pumps
A geothermal heat pump transfers heat from deep within the earth with pipes that are installed between 200 – 500 feet below your home. Geothermal provides heating or cooling to your home using the earth as a heat sink, cooling the earth below the surface in winter then heating it back up again in the summer. Other than electricity to run the compressor and air handler fan the systems use no fuel and can be 3 to 4 times more efficient than the highest-efficiency air-source units, according to www.energy.gov. Although, not a new technology, they are considered a great investment for both businesses and homeowners. The drawback? They require a substantial amount of land and higher up-front cost.
Acoustic Heat Pump
French deeptech startup, Equium is working to launch the Acoustic Heat Pump. This heat pump covers a home’s heating needs without the use of refrigerants. Its core works with a high-fidelity (Hi-Fi) speaker powered by electricity, which generates an acoustic wave in tubes filled with helium —accelerating the propagation of sound. The acoustic wave causes the gas to compress or expand, producing heat or cold and it remains confined within the system, which allows the machine to be silent. Although not available in the United States at this time, it is an indicator of the future of heating and cooling.
Hydrogen –Ready Boilers
A hydrogen-ready boiler is a gas-ﬁred heating boiler, capable of burning both natural gas or pure (100%) hydrogen. These boilers should be available sometime before 2025. Once available, they are expected to cost about the same as a natural gas model.
Thermally Driven AC
Shifting toward renewable energy, there are companies looking to harness solar or wind power and considering how to use them in air conditioner designs. A company headquartered in Australia, Chromasun, has designed a low-cost, thermally driven AC unit. It may take time for its design to become widely known, but we should be seeing more thermally driven units in the future.
One of the keys to energy saving is using your air conditioning only when you it’s needed. Engineers at MIT have designed an AC unit that is activated by movement. It uses aluminum rods fitted with sensors that hang from the ceiling and detect when someone is in the room. It then kicks on the cold air!
Dual Fuel Heat Pumps
If you have access to both gas and electricity, you could benefit from a dual fuel heat pump, now available from several US companies. When temperatures are low, this heat pump will use low-cost gas for power and once the temperature rises, it will switch to electricity, saving money in the long run.
Anyone that has ever used a laptop, knows how hot it can get as it runs. Several start ups are discovering ways to use this heat as a source for air and water. This could mean that businesses and homeowners could see lower energy costs. This would also be an opportunity to reduce the energy cost needed to keep server rooms cool.
Building a sustainable energy future calls for leaps forward in technology. As you can see, these are some of the highly promising opportunities in our future.
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