The Singapore Zoo is trying out a new outdoor air-cooling system that can bring down temperatures to as low as 24°C, while using less energy than an average air conditioner.
The Airbitat Smart Coolers were developed by Innosparks, a subsidiary of ST Engineering. Four units were put on trial on Aug 25th(Thursday) at the Singapore Zoo’s ticketing area for a six-month trial. If successful, 80 to 100 units will be installed in “cool zones” in all four of Mandai Park Holdings’ wildlife parks: the Singapore Zoo, River Safari, Night Safari and Jurong Bird Park.
The cooler has a “cold water core” that produces chilled water for a two-stage cooling process: First, warm air is drawn into the unit and cooled by the chilled water; next, the air is passed through an evaporative panel to produce “super-cooled” air.
Innosparks, which took 18 months to conceptualise and produce the units, said typical coolers chill air to an average of 27°C to 28°C, compared to Airbitat’s 24°C. Each unit, about the size of a refrigerator, blows out cool air to about 5m to 10m, and can cool an area of about 45 to 60 sqm, depending on its specifications.
According to the firm, the unit can result in energy savings of up to 80 per cent compared to the average air conditioner of an equivalent capacity. The combined energy and water cost can be as low as S$2.50 a day, over an eight-hour cooling cycle.
During the trial period, Innosparks and Mandai Park Holdings will gather data and assess the performance of Airbitat under a variety of weather conditions.
“Singapore’s outdoor heat and humidity can discourage our guests from extending their stay. We would like to address this heat issue in a sustainable, energy-efficient manner,” said Mandai Park Holdings group chief executive officer Mike Barclay. “We are thus excited to trial the eco-friendly and energy-smart Airbitat Smart Cooler at the Singapore Zoo today and we look forward to the eventual roll-out of the Airbitat across our four parks in the near future.”
Mr. Gareth Tang, vice-president and general manager of Innosparks said, “Innosparks was excited to take on such a ‘cool’ challenge from one of Singapore’s top tourist attraction, the Singapore Zoo, the commercial and industrial uses for the Airbitat Smart Cooler are numerous and highly relevant in a hot and humid climate like Singapore.”
According to Mr. Tan, the coolers have been in development for 18 months and are expected to go into mass production next year. Sensors monitor the environmental temperature and humidity, and determine the temperature output. ■ firstname.lastname@example.org