Water tubes that cool better than air conditioners

Des tubes d’eau qui rafraîchissent mieux que les climatiseurs

Photo credit: Lea Ruefenacht

With the expected rise in temperatures due to climate change, the demand for air conditioners is set to rise at an unprecedented rate. As a result, the energy consumption required to run them will explode, aggravating global warming even further.  

But this is not the only problem with air conditioners. In pandemic times, air conditioning systems are responsible for new risks, as some of them continually cool the same air, which facilitates the spread of the virus.

To solve this health problem, an international team of scientists from the University of British Columbia, Princeton, the University of California, Berkeley, and the Singapore-EHT Centre has developed an innovative cooling technology that operates without recirculating air.

During its research, the team built a kind of pavilion whose walls are made up of door-sized panels. These panels are covered with ultra-fine tubes in which cold water circulates. Equipped in this way, these panels cool their immediate environment by radiation.

Freshness both inside and out

Unlike air conditioners, they do not require the windows to be closed. They can also be installed outside to offer a little freshness during a heatwave. 

The secret to this surprisingly simple solution is a transparent thermal membrane capable of preventing condensation. Up to now, this has been the main obstacle to the widespread use of cooling panels of this type. 

As it remains dry, the membrane may be used in humid tropical environments without the need for a dehumidifier. This is a significant improvement, because dehumidification is responsible for half of the total energy consumed by conventional air conditioners.

In the next step, the scientists are looking to improve this anti-condensation membrane’s resistance under normal conditions of outdoor use. 

Once this goal has been achieved, they will make their solution available to consumers as soon as possible, for use in homes and offices as well as outdoors.


“Novel technology cools air far more efficiently than air conditioners,” Optimist Daily, December 30, 2020 - www.optimistdaily.com/2020/12/novel-cooling-technology-can-be-installed-outdoors-to-help-beat-the-heat