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Media Information
Green AC that's cheap as a cooler

Published & Updated as on - 2010-03-05


While many Delhiites are already spending thousands of rupees to repair old air conditioners or even more to buy new ones, M. B. Lal prefers a cheap solution and a green one in that.
Harnessing ice as a cooling agent, the retired journalist converted his humble desert cooler into a rudimentary yet effective air conditioner.
Though the unique machine decreases the average room temperature by as much as seven degrees more than a cooler, it consumes the same electricity and costs between just Rs 5,000 to Rs 7,000.
Lal, who has been working on the machine for four years, says the main advantage of ' Snowbreeze', as he christened it, is its non-polluting nature, unlike normal ACs.
"The machine has only three elements that transform it from a cooler to an AC: a metal sheet, a 100- foot copper wire and a water pump,"the 81- year old Lal makes it sound deceptively simple.
The seed of the idea germinated in a blazing June afternoon in 2007. A long power outage made Lal feel unwell and thirsty.
He wanted some water and instead his wife brought a huge plate full of ice. "The temperature in the vicinity dipped palpably,"Lal recalls.
It rang a bell and he understood that when air is passed through any chilled object, it gradually cools down.
That was when he thought of harnessing ice as a cooling agent. He called up Hasan, his trusted mechanic, and asked him to work on a model of Snowbreeze.
"We took a wooden box and created spiral grooves in it. We put metal foils in them and installed a box full of ice. With the help a small but powerful fan, air was forced to move around the cold metal box along the spiral grooves.
By the time the air was forced out of the machine, it was much colder than what comes out of a normal cooler,"Lal says.
Last March, the Union ministry of science and technology had provided Lal assistance of over Rs 1 lakh to promote his project.
The publicity clicked: many of Lal's neighbours at Saket's Press Enclave opted for the machine.
Even some foreigners living in Delhi have been using Snowbreeze for the past three years.
The basic model of the supercooler gradually evolved into what is now a machine four times more powerful than the initial prototype.
According to Lal, any middle class family can afford it easily. Just seven to eight kilograms of ice - an average refrigerator can freeze the amount in a day - and a little chilled water is enough to make Snowbreeze run throughout a hot night.
"If you want to use it for a longer period, please contact an ice vendor.The ice can be stored in insulated boxes,"Lal says.
Interestingly, he has decided never to take a patent on his machine so that anyone can make its prototype anywhere in the world. "It can be a boon to hospitals, guesthouses and dormitories,"he suggests.
Lal has a website www.greenairconditioner.org, on which you can place an order. Hasan is sure to knock at your door in a day.

Source: indiatoday.intoday.in 5/3/10

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