Hitachi joins push for solar air-con

Japanese giant joins fray to develop solar thermal cooling

System based on Hitachi?s proprietary parabolic trough design of solar collector
System based on Hitachi?s proprietary parabolic trough design of solar collector

Japanese company Hitachi Plant Technologies is to target the ‘sunnier’ parts of the world with a new environment-friendly air-conditioning system based on solar thermal power.

The system is based on a parabolic trough reflector that can track the sun automatically. At the focal point of the reflector is a fluid-filled heat collector tube, which flows into an otherwise typical air-conditioning system to provide the energy needed for refrigeration.

Stating that it is now expanding market activity, Hitachi says it expects the system to be deployed initially in parts of the Mediterranean, North America, Western Asia and Australia, the so-called ‘sun belt’. If successful, it expects to grow annual system sales to around ¥5 billion ($61 million) by 2015.

Hitachi says the system, which is based around the company’s own proprietary parabolic trough design of solar collector, will drastically reduce electrical power requirements when compared with standard air-conditioners during periods of strong sunshine, although it is yet to quantify the impact.

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