According to Dr. Hanif Montazeri, CEO and President of Enersion Inc., the time is ripe to update traditional approaches to cooling to be more energy-efficient and cost-effective. The Toronto company’s signature cooling system, the Quantum 500, has the potential to reduce the cost and environmental impact of air conditioners, chillers, and refrigerators.
As climate change awareness grew in the 1990s, the negative impact of CFCs were also increasingly recognized as a significant cause of ozonosphere depletion and greenhouse gas issues. From this knowledge, green refrigeration technology regained traction with academics. Yet, technology such as adsorption refrigeration has yet to meaningfully displace traditional systems until recently.
At the head of this movement, Enersion’s green refrigeration system draws energy from heat sources other than electricity. In order to produce cooling power, the innovative technology uses any thermal source, such as solar energy or low-grade residual heat that is often a byproduct of existing operations. Most commonly, the heat comes from either hot air or water. Using Enersion’s conversion method, the need for electricity is reduced greatly, if not completely eliminated.
The potential water conservation and economic benefits are impressive. Enersion forecasts that this solution uses 70% less electricity and a 30 to 50% reduction in water consumption. Another benefit is that the solution does not rely on refrigerants. “Traditional cooling technologies use CFC and HCFC refrigerants, which are harmful when they leach into the atmosphere,” Montazeri says. “We have a very green agenda. Our method uses pure water and avoids dangerous pollutants.” This approach adds to the potential savings, he says.
“Data centres are a good example of where we can have impact. They produce incredible amounts of heat, and too much heat can damage the equipment,” Montazeri says. “To reduce heat spikes, these buildings use cooling systems. The problem is that traditional systems consume too much electricity and can be environmentally harmful.” He claims that a data centre of 5,000 square feet, which requires continual cooling, would save more than $34,000 per month with his company’s technology and realize a return of investment in about two years.
Working with WaterTAP toward pilot testing
From 2016 to 2017, Montazeri assembled a team of engineers to develop the proof of concept prototype. With the goal of commercializing its product, Enersion is currently in the pilot stage with two companies.
“Working with WaterTAP allowed us two new hires: one business guru and one technical expert,” Montazeri says. “The Direct Assistance program helped subsidize the salaries for both personnel.”
On the business side, WaterTAP connected Enersion with business developer Andrew Matthews, who helped the company secure the pilot test. “Andrew helped us secure these two pilots tests, allowing us to validate our innovation with positive testimonials from real people who care about our product,” Montazeri says. The two companies involved with the tests are a manufacturing company near Ottawa and a data centre in Toronto. In both cases, there is enormous reliance on electricity to cool down their respective facilities.
On the technical side, Enersion hired a PhD mechanical engineer with vast R&D development experience who has authored several patents, and will help Enersion with technology development and plans for pilot testing.
“Most of our latest advancements are a direct result of WaterTAP’s support. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to proceed,” Montazeri says. “We are very thankful.”
Preparing for export markets
After testing and demonstrating the product, Enersion will set its sights on international markets.
“We are hoping to launch our brand from Ontario,” Montazeri says. “Our initial target audiences will be data centres and manufacturing facilities, due to global demand,” he says. “We will then devote attention to breweries and residential markets. We’ve already begun talks with potential customers.”
In terms of export markets, Montazeri is focused on countries with large populations, especially where they can tap into solar energy as a heat source. “There are terrific opportunities in countries like India or China,” Montazeri says.
In pursuit of this goal, Enersion has already made waves by securing funding from the World Expo, to be held in Dubai in 2020. This fund helped the company also obtain sponsorship to participate in the recent Climate Innovations Exchange event held in Abu Dhabi.
Montazeri believes that his experience with WaterTAP is far from over and looks forward to future projects. “WaterTAP has already supplied Enersion with critical financial support,” he says. “In the near future, we think we will be able to leverage the extensive network that WaterTAP has to offer to secure clients in industries with high water and energy consumption.”
Josh Chong is a communications strategist at WaterTAP.