In our warming world, ever more moisture is being held by ever warmer air. This means more places now suffer from humid heat more of the time. Humid heat is a problem that regular air conditioning technologies have failed to successfully address.
An ingenious solution from Israel’s Advantix, inspired by its native Dead Sea, could bring relief with a different approach. The company has now moved its sales division to Miami to try to break into the US market which is um… heating up, while keeping its manufacturing in Israel and in India. Because it takes a new approach, it can generate cooler and drier air at energy efficiencies not normally associated with A/C.
The typical current technology used in the US cools you by first freezing the air so that it hits dew point – and then reheating it to bearable temperature – giving rise to that unsatisfactory sensation of clammyness that we associate with air conditioning, to say nothing of the risk of mold and mildew from stagnant air.
It is especially a problem in gyms, where to work up a sweat, the temperature needs to be low. But because with the lower temperature comes more humidity, once you sweat, you can not cool down and the sensation is almost worse than without A/C. Swamp coolers do not even work in humid climates.
But Advantix takes a different approach. By not involving a waste material (since there is no condensate) there is no need for the drip pans or cooling coils that collect the waste water and produce bacteria and mold.
Two clumps of salt; one chilled with an air conditioner, and one dry and hot (heated by the waste heat generated by the same air conditioner) continually exchange air to get it both dry and cool. First hot humid air is passed through a mass of chilled salt that soaks up the dampness. Once the salt is fully saturated it is exposed to a volume of hot dry salt that in turn soaks up the water, drying out the chilled salt for a new round of processing.
The water drained from the air is continually going back and forth, so that the the air coming out is always both cool and dry. An added benefit is that the process naturally cleans the air of particulates, microorganisms and odors as it cools.
Because the air does not need to be chilled and then reheated – the energy savings can be considerable. Reductions can be as much as 50%, according to CEO Hannah Granade, lead author for the report for McKinsey & Co on the potential for energy savings from efficiency in the building sector .