Turning down the heat

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Turning down the heat

When the University of Hull’s Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies needed help in testing an experimental new air cooling system, they knew the Aura Innovation Centre would be the perfect partner.

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The heat is on

Air cooling systems are huge consumers of electricity, with air conditioning and electric fans accounting for about a fifth of the total electricity of buildings around the world – or 10% of all global energy consumption.

As living standards around the world improve and the climate warms, demand for air conditioning will grow massively. So it’s essential that new technologies are created which make air cooling systems much more efficient.

The University of Hull’s Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies (CSET) drives research into energy efficiency, renewable energy, sustainable heating and cooling, energy management and green buildings. They aim to generate ground-breaking, world-changing outcomes which help make society richer, healthier and more sustainable. The air conditioner challenge was right up their street.



Professor Xudong Zhao,
Director, Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies


Stay cool

CSET have developed a super-performance Dew Point Cooling system, which can lead to an 80-90% reduction in electricity and carbon emissions, compared to traditional cooling systems.

Dew Point air conditioning technology works by indirect evaporative cooling. Instead of using a refrigerant or mechanical compressor, it cools the air by water evaporation, without adding any moisture into the air-conditioned space – very important for rooms like server rooms or data sensors.

CSET chose to test their technology by installing two 4kW systems at the Aura Innovation Centre, cooling our data centre. Compared to standard systems, the new units saved 24,000kWh annually – that’s 5,600kg per annum of carbon emissions, and £3,400 per annum off a typical energy bill.


A breath of fresh air

Once the systems had been tested at the AIC, the next stage is to roll them out further. CSET partnered with Hull City Council to extend the trial to their data centre. They saw an 80% reduction in energy used, and reduced carbon emissions by 82.5 tonnes a year. It’s been saving the Council £149 per day in electricity cooling costs – that works out as £54,000 a year.

The CSET team are seeking further funding to continue their work, but the potential is enormous, both for cost savings and the benefit to the environment. It’s a great example of how organisations can work together to produce green innovation, benefitting the whole of society.

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