Environment Week in Berlin – Producing cold with sunlight

So Cool: Environment Week in Berlin – The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is helping Jordan keep cool by using the sun

In Jordan they are producing cool air using the sun. On behalf of the Federal Environment Ministry (BMUB), GIZ provided support for the installation of two solar-thermal powered absorption cooling systems dubbed ‘Bumblebee’. These systems use solar energy to produce cooled air. One system is helping keep guest rooms cool in a hotel near the entrance to Petra, an ancient city carved in stone. Another provides cooling for the German Jordanian University near the capital of Amman. Both systems use flat plate collectors to capture solar heat. A 160 kW absorption chiller provided by the Technische Universität Berlin delivers cooled air when it is most needed, namely when it is hot outside.

The jury for the Environment Week, which was appointed by the Office of the Federal President, was so impressed by this innovative absorption cooling system that they selected it out of 600 applicants. The Environment Week is being held on 7 and 8 June 2016 in the park of Bellevue Palace and hosted by the Federal President and the German Federal Environmental Foundation.

‘The demand for air conditioning and refrigeration systems is growing steadily worldwide. Refrigeration systems run on electricity, so their increased use results in higher power consumption and emissions. But in Jordan they are now using solar energy to cool buildings in a climate neutral manner. CO2 emissions are reduced by how the energy is generated and through the use of natural refrigerants,’ explains GIZ expert Axel Ulmer, who is heading the project in Jordan.

Lithium bromide and water are used as refrigerants at both project locations. In addition to cooling buildings in a climate-friendly manner, the systems can also be used as heat pumps. This not only saves on electricity costs for air conditioning but on heating costs in winter too. The pilot projects prove that carbon-neutral building cooling using natural refrigerants is also possible in areas with high ambient temperatures.

The Technische Universität Berlin has refined the systems so that they now meet key requirements for broad-based application: The cooling process is initiated at temperatures of 55°C or higher, instead of 75°C as before; compact construction saves 40 per cent in materials; and extensive improvements to streamline the system technology while maintaining overall efficiency near the theoretical maximum are just some of the factors that demonstrate the advantage of these systems.

The BMUB is supporting the pilot project through its International Climate Initiative with EUR 3.7 million in funding. GIZ is implementing the project locally with the Jordanian Ministry of Environment and is providing policy advice to support the transfer of solar-powered, air-conditioning technology for buildings. GIZ is drawing up a strategy for the cost-effective introduction of this environment-friendly technology to other parts of the country and the entire region.

The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is a federal enterprise with worldwide operations. We support the German Government in the fields of international cooperation for sustainable development and international education. Through our work we assist people and societies in shaping their own future and improving living conditions.