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FAST COMPANY: Brian Parsonnet's "Ice Bear" Makes Air Conditioning More Energy Efficient

August 8, 2011

Brian Parsonnet
Chief Technology Officer
Ice Energy, Windsor, Colorado

"The Ice Bear solves two problems. It cuts air conditioners' fuel consumption and reduces strain on the electric grid. In a regular air-conditioning system, the refrigerant evaporates as it goes through the evaporator and cools the air. You run it in a continuous process, which means taking evaporated refrigerant and turning it back into a liquid by compressing it, which uses electricity. We replace the compressor with ice. Our tank, which is attached to the unit, is filled just once with water. That water stores energy in the form of ice, which is made at night, when energy can be generated more efficiently. During the day, the ice turns into water and cools the refrigerant. So instead of compressing the refrigerant to a liquid, we cool it to [a liquid] so it can then cool the air. Since the Ice Bear hit the market seven years ago, we've sold about 7,000 units."

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