Efficient heating and cooling could be on course for a significant change as Endless Solar (NSX: ESCLV) looks to develop a new breed of solar-powered technology that can heat people’s water as well as providing heating and cooling for their homes which can equate to 60% of their energy bill.
According to the NSX-listed company, it builds world‐class and highly cost‐effective solar water solutions that deliver major cuts in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
Possibly, most important, is that its technology empowers self-sufficiency through simplistic solutions rather than adding complexity and overall cost.
The air conditioning industry faces a number of difficult challenges over the coming decade, the most prominent being banned fluorocarbon refrigerants, carbon pricing and water consumption.
With the development of an Australian-made Cool Solar technology about a decade ago, in large part due to work done by the University of Technology in Sydney and the Australian National University (ANU), a novel method could be about to gazump archaic air conditioning units from residential homes (and businesses) over the coming years.
Cool Solar is an air conditioning system that uses solar-heated water to produce cool air.
The technology replaces conventional air conditioners with solar-powered thermal compressors.
In effect, Endless Solar’s hot water injection system pumps hot water at an extremely high velocity causing both cold and hot water to be produced as valuable by-products – making the system an ideal substitute for residential users that rely on power-hungry air conditioning, gas or electrical heating systems.
The trouble with air conditioning
Solar air conditioning relies on sunlight heating water and Endless Solar proposes to replace the electrical compressor in a conventional air conditioner with a solar-powered thermal compressor, otherwise known as an “ejector”.
The power is provided in the form of heat, rather than electricity from Australian developed evacuated tube solar water heater collectors. The novel method means far fewer moving parts, lower running costs and decreased maintenance schedules for consumers.
Possibly the most alluring feature is slashed power consumption costs in parallel to a liberating system that removes reliance on a power-grid and centralised power distribution – issues rural and remote customers are especially concerned about.
The market for air conditioners in Australia reaching about 1.4 million units per year. Furthermore, around 72% of Australian households now have air conditioners, most of which are reverse cycle heat pump units.
Greenhouse gas emissions resulting from residential air conditioners in Australia equate to the same amount of emissions as 1.5 million cars and Endless Solar is confident that consumers are ready to substitute their existing systems for more efficient alternatives such as Cool Solar technology.
Not only do existing air conditioning units produce emissions, they are also famously expensive to run and can overload power grids that are already struggling with a lack of spare capacity.
Its upcoming prototype is expected to prove that the company can build a consumer product that costs around A$20,000, including installation.
Endless Solar power
Endless Solar was founded in 2006 and is predominantly focussed on solar hot water systems.
The company has been supplying what’s known as “evacuated tube solar hot water systems” since its inception with its award-winning and patented designs.
To date, Endless Solar has installed thousands of its solar hot water systems in residential homes and businesses across Australia.
As it stands, Endless Solar has invested over A$1 million into its solar heating technology with a further A$375,000 provided via an Australian government grant.
“We have made great strides towards reintroducing this overlooked technology back into the market. Our approach could potentially enable a far more efficient method for residents to heat their homes in the winter and cool them in the summer.
Australia is famous for having weather extremes, but it also has the abundant solar energy to enable a far more productive and safer way of generating domestic necessities such as water heating and air cooling,” says Steve Wesselink, national sales director of Endless Solar
“We are aiming to have a prototype of our latest system built by the end of this year, and our vision to see these systems become available to all homeowners as a superb alternative to traditional grid-power systems or even the new-age battery-powered systems being offered by the likes of Tesla,” Mr Wesselink added.
Next steps for cool solar air
Endless Solar has been pursuing the commercialisation of its cool solar air technology for several years, but in 2018, the company could be about to reach a significant milestone.
With work on its Cool Solar air conditioning system advancing, Endless Solar recently announced that it has signed an agreement with the ANU determining Intellectual Property (IP) licensing for the components used to create Cool Solar.
The combination of Endless Solar’s patents and ANU’s Cool Solar developments paves the way for the two entities to commercialise a solar-powered energy efficient air conditioning system for Australian and international markets.
From a funding perspective, Endless Solar is looking to take its backing to “to the next stage”. Endless Solar have been in discussion with Defence Housing Australia to integrate Cool Solar with a new energy efficient housing development in Canberra.
Endless Solar is also being financed via a strong relationship with Authorised Investment Fund (ASX: AIY), an ASX-listed pooled development fund that invests in a wide-range of projects and ventures targeting various industries around the world.
The fund owns an 8% stake in Endless Solar with Endless Solar currently holding about a 4% stake in AIY.
According to Endless Solar, the markets for its Cool Solar technology are not just in Australia. This has led to the company establishing key patents in China, India, Europe, the US, Brazil and Japan.
Its international aspirations are, however, secondary to the Australian market which is its focus in the short-term.