Barber-Nichols Developing High-Speed Four-Stage Water Vapor Compression System for Innovative High-Efficiency Air Conditioning System

Barber-Nichols has been selected to design and manufacture a high-speed (30,000 rpm), four-stage water vapor compression system to support the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) with their US Department of Energy ARPA-E Award to develop a more efficient air conditioning system that enables evaporative cooling to be used in humid climates. Evaporative cooling uses less energy than traditional air conditioning which translates to lower costs for consumers but it’s currently limited to drier climates because it adds moisture to the cool air. However, this innovative system being developed by TEES researchers Dr. Charles Culp and Dr. David Claridge uses a recently developed molecular membrane that removes excess moisture from the cool air. The water vapor compression system then takes the saturated air extracted by the membrane, increases the pressure, and sends it to an ambient air-cooled condenser for removal. This innovative air conditioning system improves the coefficient of performance over traditional refrigerant-based systems by 25%.