UAE - Providing a solution to the UAE's massive cooling needs, long-time resident and garage owner Muhammed Farooq Tahir and his son Omar Farooq have invented an air conditioner that is energy-efficient and could potentially save the environment.
Working on the principles of thermodynamics, the Farooqs' AC does not require a compressor or harmful gases that are used in traditional cooling systems. "It uses only enough power that's needed to light up two tube lights, does not need a compressor, and most importantly, does not need gases, which are what make air conditioners harmful," said Omar.
Though emissions from air conditioners itself do not cause air pollution, it leaks coolants, such as chlorofluorocarbons. "This does not pollute the air in the usual sense of making the air unhealthy to breathe, but it does destroy the ozone layer, exposing the entire world to harmful UV radiation," said Omar. His air conditioner eradicates this problem.
Speaking to Khaleej Times from his father's garage in Umm Ramool, Omar said: "We want to call this project AirH20." The project was something Omar began work on almost two years ago and achieved a breakthrough last year. "My dad said it was not possible; I took that up as a challenge and kept working on it till I cracked it," explained Omar, a 34-year-old who completed his schooling in the UAE and his engineering studies in Pakistan. The senior Farooq used to be a technician with the UAE Armed Forces.
"From childhood, I have enjoyed breaking apart my toys and seeing how they work," Omar said. "My family, especially my dad, has been extremely supportive," he added.
How does it work?
According to Omar, the components used in the invention are eight thermal conductors, a heat sink that has been attached to the fans to bring out the heat from the thermal conductor, water, a 12-volt water pump and an evaporator.
"For each conductor, there is a heat sink, and a battery has been used to power the whole system," he said. According to Omar, any battery can be used to run the air conditioner, including a UPS and can run with solar panels as well.
"The conductors are attached to the battery and what happens when we power it up is that the conductor passes heat from the heat sink and it travels to the cooler part of the conductor. From there, it moves to the evaporator," said Omar.
He added: "The water pump circulates water to the cooler part to the evaporator, and it keeps circulating. It goes into the cooler part of the thermal conductor, and from there it goes to the evaporator, and comes back to the cooler part, thus producing cool air."
The air conditioner can double up as a heating device, going up to a maximum of 32 degrees, and when cold air is generated, it can drop down to negative temperatures. "A regulator has been attached to stabilise the temperature," explained Muhammed Tahir.
How do regular air conditioners work?
When hot air flows over the cold, low-pressure evaporator coils, the refrigerant inside absorbs heat as it changes from a liquid to a gaseous state.
To keep cooling efficiently, the air conditioner has to convert the refrigerant gas back to a liquid again. To do that, a compressor puts the gas under high pressure, a process that creates unwanted heat.
All the extra heat created by compressing the gas is then evacuated to the outdoors with the help of the second set of coils called condenser coils and a second fan. As the gas cools, it changes back to a liquid, and the process starts all over again.
Think of it like an endless cycle: Liquid refrigerant, phase conversion to a gas/ heat absorption, compression and phase transition back to a liquid again.
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