View Full Version : Ice-powered air conditioner could cut costs

08-07-2006, 09:24 PM
Can an ice-powered air conditioner take the edge off scorching summer electrical bills?
A young company called Ice Energy has developed an energy-storage system that uses a tank of water to cut down on the power required for air conditioning by 30 percent.


Ice Energy's energy storage system (http://www.srch-results.com/lm/rtl3.asp?si=77&k=storage%20system) uses a standard centralized air conditioner (http://www.srch-results.com/lm/rtl3.asp?si=77&k=air%20conditioner) compressor to convert water to ice at night. During the day, the ice cools the refrigerant needed to run the air-conditioning (http://www.srch-results.com/lm/rtl3.asp?si=77&k=air%20conditioning) unit, cutting overall energy consumption by about 30 percent.

Credit: Ice Energy.

The company's Ice Bear (http://dw.com.com/redir?destUrl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ice-energy.com%2Fproducts.asp&siteId=3&oId=2116-1008-6101045&ontId=11386&lop=nl.ex) units, roughly the size and shape of a squat refrigerator, are an adjunct to standard centralized air-conditioning units.
Rather than run AC compressors during the hottest time of the day, the Ice Bear cools water during the night, turning it to ice. During the day, the ice cools the refrigerant as it passes through the tank, lowering the temperature inside.

This process of shifting the time that the AC unit works knocks electricity usage and costs down significantly, said Ice Energy CEO Frank Ramirez.
That's because the AC unit doesn't have to work as hard at night, making the overall system more energy-efficient, he said.

The company's first products, which have their roots in research conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy, are aimed at businesses, where an Ice Bear could be placed on the roof with other HVAC (heating, ventilating and air-conditioning) systems. A residential system is also being tested.

Cutting down on energy demands during the hottest times of day is of great interest to utilities, Ramirez said.


A Wing Pilot
08-07-2006, 10:00 PM
damn it, I wrote out a huge reply and i accidently hit the back button.

Heres the problem:

I run AC for probably 30% of my power bill (2.KWH a month X .30) 600,000 watts a month. It runs alot more during the florida days then the florida nights.

With this new system I run it alot more in the night and risk running more often in shorter bursts during the day. at 22,000 watt start up burts I'm not to happy when it starts up a lot. With standard outside equipment reaching into the uper 90's to 100's the ice stands a very good chance of melting( even with the extra sheilding and insulation). For refrence my power company came by and measured my skylights at 148 degrees at 11 am in the morning, my attic at 115. so having this device sit in the sun, will test its strength. Couple with the fact that this device also requires power makes me worry. I have to pay to power it and to power my AC unit.

At the end of the day Yes it will save you $ but at what rate? the whole idea of power conservation is efficeny and productivity. If it takes me 1.1 units of power to make 1 unit of power then thats not efficient even if it saves me money, cause somewhere fuel is still being burned. I have emailed them asking them about there conversion rates as far as electrical usage to BTU or cooling factor. I am very interested in getting this device if it comes back positive. Spending $300 on power a month with an expected raise of 20% over the next 2 years is something i'm not to keen of!!! damn you FPL. If solar power was just a bit cheaper... Guuuuhhhhhhh

08-07-2006, 10:12 PM
i feel like this product just wouldnt work/and or is not meant for south florida

08-08-2006, 11:17 AM
inetersting, but im skeptical that it would work in places like Sth Fla and where i live...

Jimmy James
08-08-2006, 11:32 AM
Maybe I'm not thinking about this right, but wouldn't it make sense to bury this thing under the ground to protect it from the heat?