The Future of Refrigeration: R-718 (also known as water vapor)

With temperatures on the rise we’re on the lookout for new technologies that can help us keep cool and save energy too. One new tech is the refrigerant known as “R-718”, or more commonly “Water Vapor”.

But you’ve got to ask: How does it work? Is it efficient, and if it is so cool why doesnÂ’t everyone use it?

It turns out water refrigeration been around for a long time. In Europe they have used it for years, primarily driven by their high energy prices. R718 can be more efficient than our current refrigerants (R134A for example), but it takes a special type of compressor to make it work. The compressors used in Europe use titanium turbines. Expensive titanium is used because R718 compressors have to spin very fast to get the right pressures. In Europe where the energy costs are relatively high, R718 makes good economic sense. Here in the United States, with historically cheap energy it takes too long to recover the initial expense through energy savings. That is Â’till now.

The Stratos Company LLC (of which I am president) is working with Prof. Norbert Muller of Michigan State University on the development of a novel R718 air conditioner that is very inexpensive. The key to success has been the development of a special turbine that is made in a very cleaver way such that you can substitute relatively cheap carbon fiber plastic for titanium!

No expensive metal, no toxic refrigerants and more efficient designs. Who knew that it was all possible with water?

Additional Info: MSU (PDF Link)