Hitachi wants to solarize air conditioning

When the grid teeters during summertime heat spikes, it’s air conditioners that are doing a lot of the damage. 

Now Hitachi is aiming to offer a distributed way to lessen the load, developing what it calls a Solar Activated Air Conditioning System.

Most solar developers are fairly narrowly focused on power generation and storage, but Hitachi comes to the game as a wide-ranging company with a hand in just about anything that an electron might be involved in, from consumer electronics to home-improvement tools to data storage to high-speed rail.

And air conditioners are a part of the company’s portfolio as well.

As Hitachi explains in its somewhat roughly translated press release, the company has considerable experience in a wide range of plants employing solar energy for power and heating, and combines this experience with its plentiful expertise in air conditioning to develop a solar air-conditioning system.

Hitachi said the key to the system is a parabolic-trough solar-thermal collector designed to be more efficient by controlling the displacement of of the focal point “in wind.”

“The system is designed to drive a refrigerator directly with thermal energy generated from the solar energy collector to obtain chilled water for air conditioning.” 

Beyond that, details are scarce, though the company provides a diagram that offere a schematic explanation of the system.

Hitachi plans to target the system at areas of the Mediterranean, North America, western Asia and Australia.

The corporatopn expects to reach annual sales of 5 billion yen ($60.2 million) by 2015.

Pete Danko, EarthTechling