Although prior experience might lead one to dismiss the potential of thermo-electric (TEC) refrigeration, breakthrough technology is presented in the published patent application US-2006-0117761-A1. This technology is particularly well suited to use for air conditioning with hybrid power systems.
TEC cooling has tradionally sandwiched TEC chips between cold and hot heatsinks, where at each side a significant air to heatsink temperature difference is needed for heat absorbtion or dissipation. Unfortunately, TEC efficiency falls off rapidly as the difference between hot and cold side temperatures increases. As an added problem, there is significant reverse thermal leakage back through the TEC whenever power is off.
This patent-pending, all electric system employs heat pipes and finned radiators instead of heatsinks. In this system the hot side to cold side temperature difference is minimized, the heat absorbtion and dissipation areas are vastly increased, and reverse thermal leakage is eliminated.
Overall efficiency of this TEC system is equal to or better than equivalent freon systems. The weight and bulk of the system is reduced and, other than fans, there are no moving parts to be maintained. The cycle is reversible, so that it also serves as a heating system. Inasmuch as the system is all electric, its operation is independent of the IC engine.