PDM Solar is developing vapor compression air conditioners and heat pumps that are powered by heat rather than by electricity. PDM Solar's THERMAL TRANSFORMER™ technology can use heat energy from various sources, including solar heat, industrial or commercial waste heat, engine exhaust, and ground heat.
Most conventional air conditioners and chillers use electric motor driven compressors which compress the refrigerant vapor. PDM Solar's patented and patent pending THERMAL TRANSFORMER™ technology uses heat to power the compressor which compresses the refrigerant vapor.
The electricity to power conventional air conditioners and chillers typically comes from burning fossil fuel, which causes pollution and results in a large emission of wasted thermal energy into the environment. The THERMAL TRANSFORMER™ technology can utilize renewable energy sources or currently unused waste heat sources, reducing pollution and improving efficiency.
Most heat powered cooling or chilling systems in use today depend on an alternative conversion process, such as absorption, adsorption, or desiccant cooling. Vapor compression often provides substantial benefits over these other processes, as indicated by its high market acceptance.
Since our 1st prototype, we have decreased the size of our technology by 100:1. The pistons on our 1st prototype were 5 ft in diameter and the prototype was 18 feet tall. The pistons on our 2nd generation of prototypes were 4 inches in diameter and the prototypes were 6 feet tall. Our current, third generation of prototypes will use a 3 inch piston with a 4 inch stroke and are projected to operate at 3 to 10 times the previous speeds to improve the cooling capacity.
Our heat engine is similar to a classical steam engine, but the working fluid is a refrigerant rather than steam. This enables our heat engine to operate from heat sources at much lower temperatures than is possible with steam.
The heat engine provides the power to drive the compressor/expander through the liquid connecting rod, eliminating many mechanical components including the connecting rods and crank shaft. The hydraulic connecting rod also enables variable compression ratios, to assist in balancing varying heat source temperatures.
The compressor/expander provides the vapor compression that is integral to the performance of most conventional air conditioners and chillers. In addition, the design of the equipment enables the recovery of some of the heat energy in the space that is being cooled.
Aspects of PDM Solar, Inc.'s THERMAL TRANSFORMER™ vapor compression air conditioning and heat pump technology are protected by issued patents in the United States, China, the Philippines, and New Zealand as well as pending patents in the United States, Australia, Brazil, the European Union, India, South Korea, and Mexico.