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Utah Teens Invent Better Air Conditioner

samzenpus posted more than 8 years ago | from the stay-frosty dept.

Technology 755

Carl Youngblood writes "Two recent Utah high school graduates won the first-ever Ricoh Sustainable Development Award for inventing a better car air conditioner based on the Peltier effect. The peltier chips used in the device are more energy-efficient, last between 20 and 30 years, are solid-state, and don't harm the environment with ozone-depleting freon like today's car air conditioners."

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755 comments

/.ed (3, Funny)

GoogolPlexPlex (412555) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120679)

I wish they had built a better server.

Frigidaire got to them... (5, Funny)

aapold (753705) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120694)

Frigidaire got to them. Don't mess with the cooling conglomerates...

Re:/.ed (0)

pcmanjon (735165) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120810)

This article sounds like its stretching the truth. How can a couple of chips make an air conditioner last 20 to 30 years longer, and make it not use Freon (R12)

I can see how the chips can last longer, but how can a couple of microchips make the entire unit last 30 years longer? What about the compressor, it's mechanical. What about oxidation rusting away parts? Is the chip made to protect against this? "Have no fear this chip is here!"

Seems like a chip can't change the coolant your A/C uses, nor can it do anything above what a chip can do.

This would be like if we saw an article posted that said "New chip made that makes mechanical hard drives no longer fail due to mechanical wear and tear!"

Really, a chip can't make a compresser last longer, and it can't make freeon none ozone depleting. Anyways, they've replaced R12 (bad ozone) with a safe one anyways (R13 I think it's called now?)

Re:/.ed (5, Informative)

pcmanjon (735165) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120836)

Ahh, I "read the fucking article" and now I understand. The main article makes you think a couple of chips save the day, and makes A/C's last longer. They do, in a way, but the article on ./ here should have quoted the real article, instead of trying to paraphrase.

"Today, the young inventors say, U.S. drivers use about 7.9 billion gallons of fuel each year to run their air-conditioners, which draw power from the engine. By adopting their contraption - which taps into the electrical system, using fans to blow hot air through five Peltier chips and then releasing cold air - they say the country stands to save 3.9 billion gallons of fuel annually, or about $10 billion based on current gas prices."

Re:/.ed (4, Informative)

HeroreV (869368) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120837)

It doesn't say 20 to 30 years longer, it just says that the peltier chips "last between 20 and 30 years". I have no idea why you just randomly inserted a word, but that's exactly what you've done.

Re:/.ed (2, Insightful)

Jumperalex (185007) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120851)

Wel I can't sak you if you even RTFM'ed since I haven't either (damn /.) but I can ask if you even RTFS (read the f%ck1ng submission)?

They are mention the use of peltiers. Those are SOLID STATE heat pumps (for simplicity sake). that means no regrigerant (since Freon is a brand name) and no moving parts other than the fans on the hot and cold sides and the extra large alternator to power it.

Re:/.ed (0)

pcmanjon (735165) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120866)

FOr others who like me, weren't aware of what Peltier chips were, basicall they're a chip that moves heat from one side of the cooler to another. One side gets hot, the other is cold.

I guess these kids put the cold sides all around each other to form a duct, and air blows through it making the air cold. You put a large fan around the outside of the duct with a heatsink, to keep the chips cool.

It's genius really, but unfortunately companies are already considering buying their idea. I'd suggest they patent the idea and sell the patent rights of it -- instead of being stupid and selling such valuable idea in full to some company.

Re:/.ed (1)

kfx (603703) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120877)

This article sounds like its stretching the truth. How can a couple of chips make an air conditioner last 20 to 30 years longer, and make it not use Freon (R12)

A Peltier device, when supplied electricity, transfers heat from one surface to the other. As such, there is no need for coolant, compressors, or any of that. They are solid state devices, and as such *should* last longer than anything with moving parts.

All you really need to build an A/C yourself is a few peltiers, a couple of fans, and some heatsinks to improve heat conduction to/from the peltiers.

No more freon in cars (2, Informative)

ToadMan8 (521480) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120681)

Cars sold in the states haven't used Freon since the late 90's. That's why A/C sucks in cars now.

Re:No more freon in cars (-1, Troll)

EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120720)

No, A/C sucks because the major car manufacturers are too lame to figure out how to build good A/C without Freon. It's possible, they just won't do it.

American auto manufacturers especially. They fail to innovate, and are going down the tubes. Nobody to blame but themselves, really.

Re:No more freon in cars (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120761)

I *still* think that Cryocoolers are the way to go. You can't tell me that a Stirling or Pulse Tube cryocooler would cost that much more to mass produce than a regular AC unit. Not to mention that the engine load would drop to an unnoticable amount in comparison to today's AC units. Even the EPA's own documents [epa.gov] mention Stirling coolers as an acceptable solution! :-)

Re:No more freon in cars (1)

grennis (344262) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120769)

American auto manufacturers especially. They fail to innovate, and are going down the tubes

Welcome to 1985. I assume thats where you copied and pasted that comment from?

Re:No more freon in cars (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120785)

I'm afraid I have to agree. I recently purchased a new home that uses Puron in the AC unit. I can keep my house a cool 60 degrees full time if I wanted and I live in Texas! It's also supposed to be "high efficient", but since this is my first home, I have nothing to compare it to. My electric bills run me about $100 a month and my AC is set on a nippy 74 degrees F. (That actually feels quite cool when it's 105 outside!)

While both of my cars (mine and the wife's) were built in the mid-90's, I assume they are both running freon and cool quite well. However, I have not heard of any "new" cars having crappy AC's.

Re:No more freon in cars (2, Informative)

minus_273 (174041) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120862)

well that and the insane amounts they have to spend on workers salaries and benefits when compared to the rest of the world. There is no way they can compete. It's funny when you realize that becasue of the unions and their short sightedness, many of those jobs will disappear in the next decade or so.

No ozone depletion from hfc134a either (5, Informative)

name_already_taken (540581) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120788)

Freon is trademark used for a variety of nonflammable gaseous or liquid fluorinated hydrocarbons which are no longer used as motor vehicle refrigerants.

The current refrigerant, hfc134a contains no chlorine (the ozone damaging part of R12) and has an ozone depletion potential of zero.

The idea of using Peltier devices is interesting, because there'd be no mechanical parts to wear out, or refrigerants to leak out, so the system should be much more reliable, but I thought Peltiers would require a huge amount of current to do as much cooling as a car A/C system delivers.

Re:No more freon in cars (1)

ciscoguy01 (635963) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120790)

Yeah, they use that fake freon.

If I'm gonna die from ozone depletion I want to at least be cool while I'm doing it.
Give me freon or give me death!

Re:No more freon in cars (3, Informative)

jimi the hippie (725322) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120798)

All cars with A/C still use freon. They don't use R-12!! (which is the stuff that supposidely depletes the ozone, and has been illegal since about model year 1995, NOT the late '90s)

Freon != R-12

Re:No more freon in cars (4, Informative)

pongo000 (97357) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120802)

This should actually have been modded as "misinformed" (don't we wish...)

R134a A/C systems have evolved over the years. Granted, the early systems left a lot to be desired, but the output of the recent systems rival that of old R12 systems. R134a systems are very pressure-dependent, far more than R12, and must be precisely charged for maximum effectiveness.

It's hot here in Texas, at or above 100F in the summer, and both of my Chevy trucks (an '02 and an '03) blow frigid air.

Re:No more freon in cars (2, Funny)

akhomerun (893103) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120826)

how do you know this much about CAR AIR CONDITIONERS?

i thought people on /. were just linux and computer geeks!

Re:No more freon in cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120845)

Contrary to popular belief, gearheads and compunerds do intermingle.

And...? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120683)

We care, because... ?

Peltiers (0)

matt21811 (830841) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120684)

The tribune link looks broken so its hard to know how they have set this up but I will say this.
Modern air conditioners have energy efficiencies approaching 400%.
Normal Peltiers have efficiencies of less than 30%.
I've never seen one with efficiencies greater than 100%.
If being much more than 4 times the energy is less harmful to the environment then I don't understand what they are teaching in high school anymore.

Re:Peltiers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120718)

How can anything have an energy efficiency of greater than 100%, let alone 400%.

You're saying that modern air conditioners produce 4 times the energy that is put in to them.
Is that really what you meant to say?

Re:Peltiers (4, Informative)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120746)

An aircon using vapour change effects is a heat pump. Therefore, it can move more heat, than the amount of energy consumed to move the heat.

Re:Peltiers (1)

floodo1 (246910) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120724)

efficiency has nothing to do with pollution.

however for cars efficiency does contribute to pollution (more efficiency = less polution) because the cooler places a load on the engine. however with peltiers the only pollution they can cause is by being placed in a landfill or burning up or something, but with air conditioning systems you have refrigerants that are pollutants, not to mention a physically MUCH MUCH larger system (evaportor, condensor, compressor) system.

so while you may lose out on some engine pollution (small amount) you gain in pollution of the cooling system (large amount)

Re:Peltiers (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120733)

not so sure 400% is possible, captain science....

Re:Peltiers (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120772)

Too bad the car manufacturers can't put that extra efficiency back into the entire car. It would be great to turn on the a/c and get better gas mileage.

Re:Peltiers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120848)

My air conditionner extract 7000 BTU/h of heat and consumes 710 W. So, over an hour, it will have extracted 7 385 390.97 joules of heat while consumming 2 556 000 joules of electricity. That's a 2.9 ratio, so the efficiency of my air conditionner would be 290%.

Re:Peltiers (0)

Pyromage (19360) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120738)

Efficiency, I'd think, as far as a percentage goes, should refer to the amount of energy (heat) moved (cooled) compared to the energy put into the A/C unit. Meaning that 50% efficiency means that I expend 50 watts for every 25 watts of heat I've removed.

Is this understanding flawed?

If it's not, then what is 400% effiency? Cold fusion? It would mean that I pull out of the cooled air more energy than I use to cool it.

Re:Peltiers (2, Informative)

matt21811 (830841) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120767)

I could have made it more clear but your understanding and explanation are correct.

It is entirely possible to move 4 watts of heat energy out of the car with only 1 watt of electricity energy.

Coefficient of Performance (1)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120781)

It's call COP Coefficient of Performance and most heat pumps [wikipedia.org] have greater than 100 percent efficiencies which depend greatly on the temperature differential between the heat sink and the air condition space. It means that it for each Watt of input you can move x watts (x being the COP) between the two thermal reserviors.

Re:Peltiers (1, Informative)

USSJoin (896766) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120739)

400% efficiency?

This seems unlikely to me, simply from a conservation-of-energy perspective. Every first-semester Physics course teaches that even 100% efficiency is unattainable in the real world; there will always be losses due to friction or whatever.

But if you've seen an air conditioner with 400% efficiency-- then why are we working for better energy sources? This would be the magical Infinite Energy Box! Let us all dance and celebrate!

Re:Peltiers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120882)

If you use 1W to remove 4W of heat, you have an efficiency coefficient of 4. That's 400%. It has nothing to do with violating thermodynamics, since the rating has nothing to do with the total amount of energy used to perform the cooling; merely the power utilized from the cooler's power plant. Calculating how expensive your air conditioner would be for cooling the room you're in now if it were, say, 13% efficient with respect to the amount of electricity it uses. Don't forget to account for all of the humans in the room. Go!

Re:Peltiers (1, Insightful)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120748)

Maybe you mean 40%. Because the most efficient thing I've heard of is a matter-antimatter reaction, and that's 200% efficient.

Theoretically.

Re:Peltiers (1)

non0score (890022) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120789)

I think efficiency means the conversion from one form of energy to another (that is not heat, otherwise the discussion is kinda pointless). Going from heat to electricity is one such example. So, converting 40kJ of heat to 20kJ equivalent of electricty with 20kJ still in heat means 50% efficiency. Technically, matter-antimatter reaction is 0% efficiency, since all you get is heat (in the form of photons). But do correct me if I'm wrong.

Re:Peltiers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120776)

400% eh? It's one of those new Zero Point Air Conditioners I suppose.

Re:Peltiers (2, Funny)

groman (535485) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120780)

I've never seen one with efficiencies greater than 100%.


Oh, you haven't!? It's right here, next to my Orgone generator and universal translator.

Re:Peltiers (4, Insightful)

calidoscope (312571) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120797)

Modern air conditioners have energy efficiencies approaching 400%.

Ummmm, I believe the term you want to use is "coefficient of performance" - which is how many watts of heat are transferred per watt of electrical power used. Also called an energy efficiency ratio.

Having said that, your point about the relative efficiencies of mechanical refrigeration units vs Peltier effect devices is correct. I have a ~18 cu ft fridge in my garage that uses less energy than a 1 cu ft Peltier cooler. Another point, the main focus for the development of Gadolinium refrigeration was to replace Peltier effect devices for small scale refrigeration needs.

Re:Peltiers (2, Informative)

arch_avaj (874790) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120799)

Hmm, just reading my physics textbook a few hours ago about this topic, so I can clarify the obvious mistakes.

AC's have a Coefficient of Performance (COP) around 4-5 (or 400%-500%)
This is similar to effiency, but obviously not the same.

COP of a cooling device is measured as:
(Energy Removed from Cold Reservoir) / (Work Done on the device)

AC's don't cool, they just move the heat, and moving the heat doesn't require a lot more energy.

If this new device has higher efficience, it will have a similarily higher COP.

Re:Peltiers (1)

layer3switch (783864) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120824)

At least, IMHO, I don't believe, those two kids were to compete against hightech MIT/CalTech graduates. The idea itself is what is the most important thing here, not the technology of their choice.

Environmentally conscious education and kids inspired by the teachings to apply their talents and knownledge (no matter how inefficient or outdated that may be) in order to make a better devices, those are economically and environmentally friendly.

I think, that's enough to award their talents and invention. I, for one, would like to see more kids "applying" their telants in such manner.

The content item you have requested is no longer.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120685)

available. story dead.

The content item you have requested is no longer a (0, Redundant)

erlee (91852) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120686)

The content item you have requested is no longer available.......

freon? (2, Informative)

schematix (533634) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120688)

The peltier chips used in the device are more energy-efficient, last between 20 and 30 years, are solid-state, and don't harm the environment with ozone-depleting freon like today's car air conditioners."

Ahem. "Today's" cars use R134a refrigerant, not ozone-depleting freon. This has been the standard for a little less than ten years now.

not available aye? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120692)

The content item you have requested is no longer available.
Nice.... real nice

Google Cache (5, Informative)

j00bar (895519) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120698)

If you're having trouble seeing the article, try this: Google Cache [64.233.167.104]

Re:Google Cache (1)

demogorgonx (785903) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120737)

Here's the whole article:

BLUFFDALE - The code name, Space Beast, was one they came up with in the wee hours of the night.

Tyler Lyon, Daniel Winegar and Chad Thornley were overtired and giddy as they tackled a science fair project. Their idea: Eliminate the use of Freon in automobile air-conditioning systems by relying on the Peltier effect - of course.

"We aren't planning our lives around making air conditioners," Lyon explained. "We wanted to do something to help the environment and the economy."

But what began as a Riverton High School physics class assignment nearly two years ago has morphed into an award-winning, internationally recognized invention.

Lyon and Winegar, two recent Riverton graduates - Thornley graduated in 2004 and is now on an LDS Church mission - won the first-ever Ricoh Sustainable Development Award in May when they competed against 1,400 other worldwide invitation-only entries at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix.

Aside from the $50,000 college scholarship the two 18-year-olds will share, the budding engineers are jetting off to Japan today for a 10-day visit on Ricoh's dime. The office equipment and electronics company, a leader in the field of sustainable development, has invited the Utahns to attend the World Expo, address Ricoh executives, tour their research and development lab, meet with government officials - including the Minister of the Environment - and sit down with Tokyo University professors.

"It's been a total, unbelievable dream," marveled Tyler's mom, Diane Lyon, last week. "They're just typical boys. But when someone believes in you, amazing things can happen."

Physics teacher Kari Lewis, who recently left Riverton High, said trusting in Lyon and Winegar was easy.

"They came up with this idea . . . and they made it work," she said. "It's a perfect solution to an incredible problem."

Today, the young inventors say, U.S. drivers use about 7.9 billion gallons of fuel each year to run their air-conditioners, which draw power from the engine. By adopting their contraption - which taps into the electrical system, using fans to blow hot air through five Peltier chips and then releasing cold air - they say the country stands to save 3.9 billion gallons of fuel annually, or about $10 billion based on current gas prices.

Furthermore, the product would free drivers from Freon - which despite improvements, remains an ozone-depleting chemical in current air-conditioners. The Peltier chips, which they purchased on eBay for $9.99 each, have a life span of 20 to 30 years and an unfaltering cooling capacity. And like every component in the Space Beast, which can be minimized in size to about 2 inches in width, the chips are recyclable.

As a young boy, Lyon's parents said he tore apart and reassembled household electronics - CD players, clocks, an old stereo that didn't work until he fixed it. And while Daniel's mom, LouAnn Winegar, was grateful her son was "not a take-apart-person," she said her boy's love for science, engineering and computers has been consistent.

"It's nice to see all of his years of interest and hard work being recognized," she said.

The two-year process of fine-tuning, however, was not without its glitches. When the teens were trying to convert a blow-dryer fan from AC to DC power, a miswiring gave Lyon a doozy of a shock - "a low-enough amp that it couldn't really stop my heart," he said. And there was that computer power strip that they managed to ignite, before throwing it outside in the snow, only to retrieve it two days later to recycle its parts.

Despite the setbacks, and bouts of procrastination, the teens didn't give up. When they weren't playing computer games, skiing, snowboarding or, in Lyon's case, rock-climbing, they buckled down, sometimes working through the night. Their focus nearly cost them graduation - they had to scramble to make up work in other classes - but they accomplished what others couldn't.

After they had already begun their work, Lyon and Winegar learned about a 1964 General Motors analysis that explored the idea before the car company concluded it wasn't possible.

Going in with open minds, however, the teens were not deterred and pulled off what GM rejected.

"Nobody told them it couldn't be done," Robert Lyon, Tyler's dad, said.

The first time he felt a cold gust of air successfully come through the system, Winegar said he remembers saying: "We may actually have something here."

Looks like they do. A Salt Lake City attorney is working to secure a patent. The Environmental Protection Agency called to express interest Tuesday morning. And though repeated attempts to communicate with Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. have gone unanswered, high officials in Japan - an ocean away - are awaiting the arrival of Riverton's young inventors.

Freon? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120699)

Freon hasn't been used in a car in about 10 years.....

power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120701)

don't peltiers usually use a ton of power?

Patent? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120702)

Did they patent it? Are they infringing on patents?

Ozone depleting (1, Redundant)

atrus (73476) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120704)

Last I check, most cars have R-134a [wikipedia.org], or have been retrofitted to run it. No one uses ozone depleting CFC refrigerants anymore (at least in the US).

What article (1)

Ropati (111673) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120705)

I would be nice if you could post a story that was still active:

The Salt Lake Tribune
The content item you have requested is no longer available.

mmmmm Toasty (1)

Op7imus_Prim3 (645940) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120707)

I'd hate to see the bum that fell asleep under one of these air conditioners. Peltiers get mighty hot on the non cool side.

Peltier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120711)

They also make lovely chip coolers for overclocking.

What an ironic twist. (-1, Flamebait)

hobotron (891379) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120727)


I guess Mormans dont like lots of people coming unannounced. Well at least they dont have to answer the door to turn away every http request.

Re:What an ironic twist. (2, Informative)

B4L1STA (901455) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120791)

1) It's spelled "Mormons"
2) The trib moves the URL after it's no longer in the day's news
3) The trib isn't a Mormon paper. The Mormon paper is Deseret News (www.desnews.com)

But I have to admit, the poor Trib probably isn't used to getting slashdotted :)

Re:What an ironic twist. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120830)

Nah, after having lived in Utah the proper spelling is: "Fucking Retarded Morons". Seriously.

Re:What an ironic twist. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120864)

Sorry, you misspelt "moron".

Freon isn't used in new cars! (3, Informative)

DarkHelmet433 (467596) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120728)

Freon (R-12) hasn't been used in new cars for something like a decade now. R-12 is an ozone depleter. It hasn't been manufactured in the US since the mid 90's or so

Newer car air conditioners use refrigerant R-134a. This is *not* an ozone destroyer, but it is still a greenhouse gas.

Peltier coolers use electricity, which is generated by the horribly inefficient internal combustion engine which produces greenhouse gasses and other toxins by the boatload.

It's all bad. :-(

Re:Freon isn't used in new cars! (1)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120763)

Peltier coolers use electricity, which is generated by the horribly inefficient internal combustion engine which produces greenhouse gasses and other toxins by the boatload.

But is the load on the engine when running the AC more than if it was attempting to cool air using the Peltier cooler?

Re:Freon isn't used in new cars! (4, Informative)

DarkHelmet433 (467596) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120817)

To refer to posts above, the peltier coolers have a severe disadvantage.

#13120684: Normal peltiers have an efficiencies of less than 30% Modern air conditioners have an efficiencies approaching 400%.

#13120746: Modern aircon works by using matter phase change and using pump to move the fluids. It transfers more heat than the energy consumed in moving the fluids.

So while I don't have one of these, I'm really really sceptical that the CO2 and other greenhouse emissions per unit of cooling by a peltier can get anywhere near a modern air conditioner.

Re:Freon isn't used in new cars! (4, Informative)

Muerte23 (178626) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120766)

Peltier coolers use electricity, which is generated by the horribly inefficient internal combustion engine which produces greenhouse gasses and other toxins by the boatload.

Not to nitpick, but the compression cycle of regular car AC is also powered by the motor...

Plus, if your alternator can handle it, the peltier is probably much lighter, and certainly much smaller, further improving your engine efficiency.

m
this is not a sig

Re:Freon isn't used in new cars! (1)

truckaxle (883149) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120827)

The point his is trying to make is that a vapor compression air conditioner has a COP of about 4 whilst a peltier effect conditioner is around .3.

Therefore you have to use more energy to cool the car and that energy comes from the fossil fuel powered internal combustion engine albeit indirectly via the alternator. In this case around 10 times more energy, not very efficient.

Re:Freon isn't used in new cars! (1)

Neoprofin (871029) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120783)

I'd like to see you move 3000lbs 20 miles using only a gallon of fuel.

Re:Freon isn't used in new cars! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120872)

I'd like to see you move 3000lbs 20 miles using only a gallon of fuel.

I saw on a WildBoyz episode in India, there was this scene where an Indian man was towing their car by himself with the rope tied around his penis.

Re:Freon isn't used in new cars! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120879)

I move 3000lbs 36 miles on a gallon of gas

RSDA Press release (2, Informative)

mabinogi (74033) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120753)

Here's [ricoh-sustainability.com] the press release from the awards themselves, since TFA is dead.
(PDF)

easy to make (1)

Polymorph2000 (166850) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120764)

Get 1 thermally insulating box (with sub-divisions), 2 fans, a power supply (AC-DC), and some of these:

http://jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Produc tDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&p roductId=172056 [jameco.com]

and you're set. You use one fan to cool the hot side, and the other to blow air over the cold side to distribute the cold air.

If you find the right geometry for the box it might just be efficient.

The problem is the power supply from the Altenator (4, Informative)

GrpA (691294) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120765)

Vapour phase airconditioning uses direct power from the engine, which often has an output of 100+ Kilowatts. More in a recent design.

No one notices a few Kilowatts disappearing. Except ricers.

Peltier devices come from the Altenator with an output capacity of around 1Kw or less, And most of that is used by Lights, Engine management etc... And for charging the battery

There's not a lot of electricity spare to run a Peltier based cooling device.

I've built something similar myself for a car once, but it only provides piped air - and didn't have to cool the whole cabin.

A 12 amp peltier device consumes a LOT of power... About 150 watts Not all cars can spare that much. And it doesn't cool much either.

I'm sorry I can't get the article up though. I really wanted to read it :(

Good on them though for experimenting :)

GrpA.

Re:The problem is the power supply from the Altena (2, Informative)

RzUpAnmsCwrds (262647) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120850)

"Vapour phase airconditioning uses direct power from the engine, which often has an output of 100+ Kilowatts. More in a recent design."

Not necessarily. The Toyota Prius, for example, uses an electric (144V AC) A/C compressor. Of course, it's the exception, not the rule. The Prius has a high-voltage battery system and a powerful inverter.

"A 12 amp peltier device consumes a LOT of power... About 150 watts Not all cars can spare that much. And it doesn't cool much either."

True. 150W is a lot to ask of a typical car. But a hybrid vehicle, like the Prius, can put out 5+ KW continuously without breaking a sweat.

"Good on them though for experimenting :)"

Well, if they have developed a peltier system that rivals an electric-powered vapor-phase system in efficency, their technology could very well find its way into future hybrid vehicles.

Re:The problem is the power supply from the Altena (1)

mogalpha (782997) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120873)

Seriously, Peltier devices are known for their inefficiency; way worse than what most A/C's now use. I have no idea why they got an award for this; yes, Peltier cooling is a lot of fun, and yay for solid-state and environmentally-friendly contraptions, but as many have already stated, Freon's gone the way of the dinosaur in most new cars (definitely all here in the States), and the greater wattage translates directly to wasted gaoline, something people won't be too happy with if you consider the long run.

Please forward to the creators (1)

iShaman (86503) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120778)

Note to those high school kids: please, Please, PLEASE send one of those down the I-15 here to Las Vegas. It was 118F (50C) here yesterday...I actually watched my truck's rear-view mirror slide off the windshield!

Damn smart Utah kids...the only thing they teach our high schoolers is advanced Texas Hold'em.

Re:Please forward to the creators (1)

confusedneutrino (732640) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120843)

Damn smart Utah kids...the only thing they teach our high schoolers is advanced Texas Hold'em.

Funny you say that. The impression several of my AP teachers had this past year was that our senior class was among the dumbest overall that they had ever seen.

*shrug*

New car electrical system (2, Interesting)

ErikZ (55491) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120787)


Wasn't there supposed to be a new 48v electrical system standard for all cars by now?

It would allow people to hook up better electronics to their vehicle, plus it would make the car more energy efficient. The example I heard was that instead of a belt driven AC unit, it would be electical.

The article I had read at the time stated that the standard would be implemented in 2005. Does anyone know about this?

The content item you have requested is no longer a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120793)

The content item you have requested is no longer available.

In today's society... (4, Insightful)

dpdawson (624716) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120794)

More efficient?
Last longer?
Better for the environment?

It'll never catch on.

Re:In today's society... (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120885)

Yeah, and those Peltiers would be even more efficient if they didn't have those Athlons strapped to them...

No (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120796)

They utilized a very polluting method to do something that can be done with less environmental impact by doing it the way we are currently doing it. Semiconductor manufacture is one of the MOST polluting things on the planet. And if the inverse Seebeck effect was useful, processors would already have this built-in. Braindead post.

hey! (3, Interesting)

austad (22163) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120816)

I built one of these back in 1999 with some peltiers I ordered direct from a manufacturer, some old heatsinks, case fans, and bent tin sheets.

It fit in the window, just like a regular ac unit, but it didn't stick out at all. Basically, it was just two layers of heatsinks with the peltiers sandwiched in between. The hot side faced out the window and fans forced air on them to cool them, and the cool side faced inwards, with fans along the lower edge, a sheet of tin across the middle to make the air flow more over the fins, and an opening on top where it blew into the room.

It worked well for a small room. I suppose if I had the money at the time, I could have purchased some massively power hungry units and been able to get some crazy cooling power out of it. I probably still have it in a box somewhere.

The Wikipedia link... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120819)

...appears to have some informative material, but the images -- uhh -- don't seem to go with the text.

NOT The First Ricoh Sustainable Development Award (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13120822)

This is NOT the first ever Ricoh Sustainable Development award. This is simply the first time it has been awarded at a national science fair, although my partner and I (high school freshmen at the time) won this award at the Southeast Michigan Science Fair earlier this year for a project called "Magic Mushrooms."
http://www.sciencefair.research.umich.edu/SR_Award s2005.html [umich.edu]

byproducts (1)

ashridah (72567) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120838)

Wait... aren't there really nasty byproducts from the construction of solid-state stuff like peltiers?

I know that there's some horrible chemicals used in the production of sillicon wafers (including solar cells, generally, iirc), but is the situation the same for peltier devices?

ash

Neither better nor new (1)

HermanAB (661181) | more than 8 years ago | (#13120854)

Peltiers are not new and are less efficient than a vapour change heat pump. It sounds like a Microsoft innovation... (I should get an award for dragging Microsoft into a discussion on airconditioners!).
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