Upcoming Technology: the Ice Bear and The Ice Cub
Since cooling is a huge component of the summer electric bill, it would make sense if someone invented a way to make better use of off-peak energy for air conditioning units, right?
Well, someone has figured it out.
Ice Energy, the company which invented the Ice Bear--a kind of ice battery, was founded in 2003. Their goal was to find a way to find a cost-efficient way to provide cooling and reduce CO2.
Energy use during times of peak demand can put a heavy load on the energy grid. Since energy can’t be stored, a more even allocation of energy consumption is highly desirable. The performance plans designed by the utility companies to make you use more energy during off-peak times can make the per kWh charge horrendously expensive during peak hours, thereby passing the cost of the peak consumption load onto the customer by making him pay a premium price.
The Ice Bear
Anyone who is on such a plan understands why being able to control when you use energy is almost as important as how much you use. The Ice Bear concept is simple: by making ice during the off-peak times and using that ice as part of air conditioning systems during peak hours, energy consumption of the cooling system during peak hours can be reduced by up to 95%.
The Ice Bear can work with the existing air conditioner, so it integrates seamlessly into the cooling system, either through the unit, itself or through the ductwork. The company compares the way an Ice Bear works with a hybrid car--by using the best of both technologies to create the best possible performance of both. It has a daily six-hour operation schedule, which covers a good portion of the peak hour times.
Over forty utilities in the U.S. have already taken advantage of this technology. They have racked up 34 million hours of cooling operation in retail, industrial, office, and fast food operations.
The Ice Cub
In residential applications, the Ice Bear is coupled with a split system and is eligible for federal Income Tax Credit. The Ice Cub, which premiered last year, replaces the traditional HVAC system and uses both off-peak energy and solar overage for cooling, and a heat pump for heating in winter months.
Because of the new tariffs on solar panels, it may well be possible that technologies such as the Ice Bear and Ice Cub will see a boost in sales.
The Ice Bear and Ice Cub are some examples of how companies are creating technology which offers solutions to the overload on the power grid. Ice Energy has recently expanded their repertoire of innovation into other areas; their newest endeavor, nicknamed Polar Bear, will provide cooling to in-store refrigerators and other applications.
When you need heating or refrigeration service, maintenance or repair, call us at Affordable Comfort A/C and Heating 602-574-1205.