“We’ve discovered what we think is a new concept in air conditioning,” says Ron Judkoff, the principal program manager on the project. “We recognize its potential, but it has a ways to go before it’s out of the lab and available to consumers.”
The new, patented system abandons the power-hungry compressor-driven refrigeration process used in many domestic (and virtually all commercial) air conditioners in favor of a couple of high-efficiency pumps and fans. But it also uses water for evaporative cooling — a concept familiar to many people living in the arid West who have roof-mounted “swamp coolers.”
Swamp coolers work well when the outside air is dry, as evaporating water carries away heat, cooling and moistening the air that is re-circulated into the house.The new system adds a desiccant to the standard swamp cooler setup to promote effectiveness even in humid heat.