Image: Courtesy King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

Technology Saudi Arabia25. November 2021

Electricity-Free Cooler Runs on Saltwater and Sun

A new cooling system using sunlight and saltwater instead of electricity is being developed, bringing hope for underdeveloped countries that lack access to air conditioning and proper food storage. 

Over 940 million people live in the world without access to electricity, many in hot, arid climates, exacerbating the need for cooling systems. The new technology, being developed by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, uses ammonium nitrate, a soluble salt, dissolved in water, which in turn absorbs heat and cools the water without ever needing electricity. 

“In underdeveloped regions, this can help [people] store food for a couple more days,” says Dr. Peng Wang, research leader for the project. 

What’s more, the technology allows for the dissolved salt to be regenerated and used over and over again, all with the help of the sun. Researchers have stated that the cooling system, within our current technology perimeters, could not be scaled to power an entire home, but it will be able to power anything from a lunchbox, a refrigerator, or a mattress in the form of a waterbed. This sunlight and saltwater cooling system also has the ability to be stored and used for later use, giving people without access to electricity unprecedented flexibility. 

Fast Company

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