Researchers have launched a new project to develop the most cost-effective and environmentally friendly cooling spaces.
Cooling is the fastest-growing use of energy in buildings, but according to researchers from the University of Birmingham, it is also one of the most critical blind spots in today’s energy debate.
Therefore the researchers have set out to power cooling spaces with renewable energy.
One of the key challenges of this project is to overcome the intermittent way in which renewable energy is generated, as well as the fluctuations in user demand.
To address this, the researchers will be developing cold thermal energy storage technologies that can maximise the use of renewable energy and also use cheap off-peak electricity.
Other areas of the research group will focus on the development of thermally-driven technologies that will maximise the use of waste heat and flexible refrigeration technologies that can absorb electricity from intermittent renewable sources.
Lead researcher Dr Yongliang Li from the University of Birmingham’s School of Chemical Engineering said: ‘Energy demand for space cooling will more than triple by 2050 – we need to act rapidly to develop and deploy new technologies to decarbonise cooling if we are to meet the EU’s climate goals.
‘We recognise that we need interdisciplinary approaches to create this revolution in cooling technologies.
‘Crucially, that means not only bringing together the research expertise to drive the underpinning innovations but also working with SMEs and other organisations to accelerate the adoption of these innovations by industry.’
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