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Carrier signs energy-saving cooling deal

USA: Carrier has signed an agreement with Montana Technologies to develop and commercialise Montana’s transformational AirJoule dehumidification and cooling technology.

In addition, Carrier has conditionally committed $10m in growth equity into Montana to foster commercialisation of the technology, which is said to substantially improve air conditioning efficiency by harvesting water and thermal energy from air.

The proprietary method and design can reduce electricity consumption as compared to conventional air conditioning cooling systems, resulting in a corresponding reduction in carbon emissions as well as a reduction, or in some cases elimination, of refrigerants.

Metal organic framework

The system relies on metal organic framework (MOF) desiccants that exhibit superior moisture absorption performance. These crystalline porous materials consist of a regular array of positively-charged metal ions surrounded by organic molecules and forming a repeating, cage-like structure with a huge internal surface area.

Montana’s proprietary MOF technology and coating system is said to solve the need for external heat to release water vapour during the desorption process. Instead of using excess external heat, AirJoule harnesses heat from the absorption process, reducing the need for energy and allowing the chambers to release the water vapour.

It is said to work in both humid and arid environments.

  1. AirJoule draws humid air into the open chamber
  2. Proprietary MOF-coated contactors adsorb water vapor in open chamber
  3. Simultaneous with step 2, the heat of adsorption is transferred to closed chamber to assist desorption
  4. Proprietary air pump creates a vacuum on the closed chamber
  5. Proprietary vacuum compressor pulls water vapor from the contactors in the closed chamber and slightly pressurises it
  6. Proprietary condenser produces pure water
  7. Alternating cycle between chambers happens every 5 minutes
Twin chamber

The system uses a twin-chamber design containing the desiccant material. Each chamber takes turns either removing moisture from air or regenerating the desiccant for reuse.

In one chamber, outside air is passed over the paper-thin film of desiccant, pulling water vapour into the material’s nano-sized pores. The heat that is generated from adsorbing water vapour is then transferred to the other chamber to help release water previously captured in the pores. A light vacuum pressure helps regenerate the desiccant.

Once the high-capacity desiccant is regenerated, the twin chambers reverse their functions and the cycle repeats, avoiding the need to add heat or cooling to the process.

By balancing the heat transfer between chambers, energy consumption is minimised and allows the AirJoule system to continuously operate at ambient temperature, adding no extra load on an AC unit.

Because of its compact size, the AirJoule is said to easily integrate with standard HVAC air handler units and ducting, making it ideal for retrofitting existing HVAC installations as well as new systems.

Commercialisation

“At Carrier, we are committed to investing in both sustainable and disruptive solutions that will better our planet for generations to come,” said Ajay Agrawal, senior vice president, business development, global services, & chief strategy officer. “Our partnership with Montana Technologies, and our future collaboration to commercialise its AirJoule technology, marks another step forward in this commitment.”

Matt Jore, CEO of Montana Technologies, said that he expected the partnership and investment to accelerate the speed at which they can bring the technology to market.

The investment follows strategic partnerships that Montana has entered into with chemical producer BASF and lithium-ion electric battery manufacturer CATL.

Carrier will also receive the right to nominate a member to the board of directors of the entity proposed by the merger between Montana and Power & Digital Infrastructure Acquisition II Corp announced in June 2023. The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2024.

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