WUEG February 2015 Newsletter

whartonundergradenergy

My intent is not to bash solar and wind, nor to

say that nuclear energy is risk-free. I only wish

to convey a sobering reality: nuclear power is

the best choice for the world. And if we can

convince politicians and citizens alike to even

consider that possibility, we are one step closer

to having nine billion fully-powered people.

Sources:

American Nuclear Society

Chernobyl Forum Assessment Report

Journal of Contemporary Asia

UNSCEAR

New York Times

World Wildlife Fund

Clean and Safe Energy Coalition

Sustainable Startups

OxiCool: A Cleaner Approach to Air

Conditioning

Connor Lippincott – Senior Member, Academic Committee

This is the first in a series of articles about startups and small companies working on sustainable energy solutions. This

month’s focus is OxiCool, Inc., a company that is amidst their first product roll-out after 6 years of work.

I first learned about OxiCool at the Penn Start-

Up Career Fair, where I met their CEO,

Ravikant Barot, and their Director of

Administration and Sustainability, Emma Kaye.

Barot, a Wharton MBA Graduate, started the

company in 2009 through the Frederick

Innovative Technology Center, Inc. incubator.

Since then they have worked with both the

military and large trucking companies to make

and distribute an air conditioning system that

avoids the environmentally harmful gases

present in most air conditioners today. Kaye

told me that they have broken ties with the

military for now since “there was too much red

tape” but that this summer was going to see

their first product release with an unnamed

trucking company.

Their product, which they bill as “the world’s

only truly green air conditioner,” simply uses

water in the place of other, less ‘green’

refrigerants. It’s a simplified system, requiring

only the unit and a heat source. This works well

for motor vehicles, especially large trucks,

which generate plenty of heat on their own. A

test run at a 2012 Marine Corps event showed

that the unit was able to reduce the

temperature of 115°F water nearly

instantaneously to 60°F. They also claim that

their unit can save 90% of trucking air

conditioning fuel costs. Their claims are

impressive, and it seems as though they have a

final product that will be able to live up to

these expectations.

In the broader scope of things, the lack of

fluorocarbons in this system is promising. Most

systems in developed countries have phased

out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which directly

deplete the ozone layer as a result of the 1987

Montreal Protocol. However, most refrigeration

units still use hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which

do not deplete the ozone layer but still

contribute to global warming. One of the most

widely used refrigerant blends, HFC-134a, has

a global warming potential (GWP) of ~1300—a

significant amount. Limiting the use of these

agents is definitely good for the environment.

However, this system does still require a large

heat source, which can often bring

unsustainable methods into the equation.

OxiCool even claims that its “technology

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