Low-Energy Cooling Technology Looks Hot
The Ukrainian inventor fled the U.S.S.R. in 1992 with only his family, research papers, and dog in tow. All other worldly possessions, such as clothes and jewelry, had to be left behind in the family's quest to reach the United States as quickly as possible.
Once there, Maisotsenko took up where he left off in Odessa, Ukraine: researching thermodynamics. He had taught, tested, and researched thermodynamics in his home country for 25 years. After working for several companies in the United States, Maisotsenko told colleague Tim Heaton about his dream of implementing a new cooling method. Heaton saw the potential in a crude prototype cooler in Maisotsenko's garage and consulted with engineering friends Alan, Lee, and Rick Gillan.
After numerous brainstorming sessions, the group decided to pursue the technology. A
thermodynamics research and development firm called Idalex Technologies was formed in November 1999.
Within a year, the company had a product that could cool below wet bulb temperature without adding humidity. The first functioning unit was installed in Maisotsenko's house in the spring of 2001.
In 2002, the company Coolerado was formed to launch Idalex's first commercial product, the air cooler. Coolerado heat and mass exchangers were initially sold to other manufacturers to incorporate into their air conditioners. In the fall of 2003, Coolerado began selling complete units in conjunction with Mountain States Equipment Co. (MSEC). With the capabilities of MSEC, Coolerado was able to sell units ranging from 2 to 16 tons.
With this success, Maisotsenko has realized his American dream of creating and selling a unique product in order to make money. He was anxious to point out that his product has the added benefit of helping the environment. It contains no chemical refrigerants or compressors, so the equipment reduces pollution, saves energy, and is affordable.
How It WorksAccording to Rick Gillan, president of Idalex Technologies, the patented and trademarked Maisotsenko Cycle makes the Coolerado unique.
"Fundamentally, the Coolerado Cooler is an indirect evaporative cooler," said Gillan.
"It evaporates water in one chamber and pulls heat away from an airstream in an adjacent chamber. However, with a true single-stage indirect evaporative cooler, you can only approach the wet bulb temperature of air. Coolerado cools below the wet bulb and approaches the dewpoint temperature of the incoming airstream."
Gillan said that in order to understand the Maisotsenko Cycle, one has to think about the concept of indirect evaporative cooling (IEC) working on both the product and working airstreams (two separate airstreams or chambers, separated by a plate heat exchanger).
"The Maisotsenko Cycle uses the process of IEC many times in a small space to incrementally cool both the product and working airstreams toward the dewpoint." (For a more detailed discussion on how the Maisotsenko Cycle works, visit www.coolerado.com/HowItWorks/HowItWorks.htm.)
The Coolerado is a modular heat and mass exchanger; multiple cooling modules can be stacked in an enclosure to make a complete cooler of any size. The system can be used in conjunction with a mechanical cooling system or it can be used by itself, depending on the outdoor climate and what needs to be cooled.
In dry climates, Gillan said, the Coolerado will perform very well for all types of cooling. He added that the system also works well for industrial and commercial applications in more humid climates.
For refrigeration and comfort cooling applications where a lower temperature or dehumidification are required, the Coolerado can operate in series with a compressor or desiccant system. When used in this configuration, Gillan said, energy consumption is substantially reduced.
Who BenefitsGillan estimates that more than half of the cooling applications in the world could benefit from using a Cooler.
"If pressed to be more specific, I'd probably say the Cooler is a real solution to the summer peak-loading problem on the power grid. That's because this product helps from both the power consumption and the power production sides of the issue."
When summer temperatures rise, a vapor compression system's efficiency and the amount of cooling it can provide are both at their lowest point. It is just the opposite for the Cooler, said Gillan.
"As summer air temperatures rise, our efficiency and total amount of cooling provided is at its greatest. On the consumer end, Coolerado Coolers reduce power consumption for cooling by at least 75 percent."
He explained that when looking at the production side of electric power, a large portion is generated using gas-fired combustion turbines. Combustion turbine systems lose about 30 percent of their efficiency and capacity during the hottest part of the summer, when electricity demands are at their highest.
This is because the density of the air they are drawing into the turbine system is substantially reduced, along with other losses due to heat.
"By using Coolerado's [Cooler] to cool the air without adding humidity at the power plant, most of the air density, turbine output, and efficiency can be regained without substantial power loss to drive the cooler," said Gillan.
He estimated that by using the Coolers, it's possible to add approximately 25-percent generating capacity to a power plant. "With the power consumption reduced by 75 percent on the other end of the power lines, you can see the sum total is a huge benefit to everyone."
Growth PlansGillan said the demand for the Cooler has been far greater than the company can deliver at this time. For this reason, the company has decided to set up its education, distribution, installation, and service network for eastern Colorado only. It plans to continue to enlarge its territory every year.
"We are selling a few Coolers in select areas all over the world ahead of our distribution network," he said. "This allows us to have an installation that people can go see in their own area.
"We've been taking orders for installations in every Western state and five other continents of the world; Antarctica does not need too much cooling!"
Sidebar: Nuns Sing PraisesThe owners of a century-old school building in Denver got relief last summer when they chose to install a Coolerado Cooler. The occupants, the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth, needed relief in their computer room, where the heat from the equipment and bodies, added to the outside heat, made the room virtually unbearable. The school had been using a vapor-compression window unit.
The state of Colorado provided some funds to the school in order to purchase and install a Coolerado Cooler. A unit was sized for the computer lab, but school personnel decided to add ductwork to two adjacent large classrooms so they, too, could take advantage of the product.
"We didn't want to do that; we wanted to make sure it was cool enough in the computer lab," said Rick Gillan. "They insisted, and being nuns, we agreed to install it their way."
As it turns out, school personnel are very happy with the results. Recently one of the nuns sent Idalex a letter, which stated in part, "We realize you didn't want to stretch your cooler too thin by cooling the additional two large classrooms adjacent to the computer lab, but we're glad you did. The Coolerado Cooler has performed well, cooling all three spaces. In fact, the teachers have had to work out their personal comfort differences at the thermostat because your cooler can now make the spaces too cold for some. What a wonderful problem to have after so many years of dreadful heat!"
Sidebar: Coolerado Wins R&D 100 AwardThe Coolerado Cooler put another feather in its cap when it received the 2004 R&D 100 Award. The Cooler was selected by the independent judging panel and editors of R&D Magazine as one of the 100 most technologically significant products introduced into the marketplace over the past year.
For the past 42 years, the magazine has recognized many products that have become household names. Products such as the automated teller machine (1973), fax machine (1975), liquid crystal display (1980), computer printer (1986), and HDTV (1998) have received this award.
Publication date: 08/23/2004