Air conditioning is about to get a whole lot cooler, at least in downtown Honolulu, where Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning, LLC is developing a hugely ambitious project to provide AC for city buildings using frigid seawater, pumped in from far below the surface of the ocean.
The $240 million project aims to help reduce this hot Hawaii city’s air conditioning electric usage by 75%, while also substantially lowering the use of harmful and ozone depleting refrigerants, using pipes five feet in diameter to gather water from hundreds of feet under the sea, which would then be supplied to the city’s air conditioning units. Later, the warmed water will be dumped back into the sea, at a location where it will pose “minimum risk to nearby aquatic life,” according the company.
Honolulu Seawater Air Conditioning plans to move ahead with the project in 2011, with the goal of supplying 40 buildings by 2012. This would not only cut the carbon foot-print of the city of Honolulu, but also relieve the stress on the island’s electrical grid–a good idea for a hot city that wants to keep its cool in the future.