1 Air-conditioning and refrigeration systems
produce a hot refrigerant as a normal by-product, but it must be cooled and condensed before cycling back through the
machinery. In SkyCool’s panels, that process
begins with the refrigerant running through a
pipe and into a heat exchanger, located at the
front of the panels here.
2 A small pump circulates a mixture of water
and antifreeze through the panel system and
into the other side of the heat exchanger.
3 The heat from the refrigerant is transferred to
the water mixture through metal plates inside
the heat exchanger. The heated liquid flows
out of the heat exchanger through pipes.
In the small rear suite of a light industrial
building near the San Francisco airport,
Eli Goldstein looks over a set of silver
panels tilted on metal racking. The panels
look like simple mirrors, but as Goldstein
walks around them, he points out the
black water pump along the left edge,
the copper pipes running beneath the
surface, and the metal box at the base.
What his company, SkyCool Systems,
has built is a cooling technology that can
act as a condenser—a standard component of any commercial air-conditioning or
refrigeration system that lowers the temperature of incoming refrigerant, converting it from vapor to liquid. But instead of
relying on electric fans, as condensers typically do, this one uses advanced materials
to draw away heat and release it into the
upper atmosphere or even into outer space.