Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Cool of the Heat

There was a knock on the door.

Who is it?

A muffled reply sounded like "Alexander Duplas".

I opened the door to find a middle aged man with grey unkept hair and those eyebrows that shoot up on the ends as they seemingly direct you to the eyes.

"Yes", I said.

"Are you Oz?"

"I am."

"I want to show you something."

I looked over at Jeanelle, who was reading on the couch.

"How long will it take?" I said.

"Not long, you'll be glad you did", he replied in a very confident voice.

"What is it?"

"You'll see soon enough"

After some introductions, we walked out into the oppressive late afternoon heat and onto my circle drive where his Airstream trailor was sitting. "Go on, walk in."

I walked in. It was cool, cooler than my house. "Airstreams are great aren't they?" I said.

There was no generator that I could hear or see and I didn't see cords connected to an electric supply. I could hear a small hum. There were a few lights running, but I assumed they were running off the back up battery in the trailor.

"So what's to see?" I said.

He looked at me with a grin and a twinkle.

What's running the cooler? he said.


"No", he said, kind of irritated at the notion.

"Photovoltaics imbedded in the skin of the trailor?"




"What then?"

"The Heat. "

"What Heat?"

"The heat that is outside."

Al had been an air-conditioning man for 30 years, when one day it occured to him that a hot room was in a higher state of energy than a cold one. He reasoned that using energy to reduce a room to a lower state of energy was foolishness.

"My cooler runs on hot air", he said.

He opened up a side door and showed me the unit. It was about the size of a 2 ton AC. On the back of the door hatch was a nice, easy to read diagram of the system.

"See", he said

How much hot air do you have to mine to evaporate the gas?

"A lot, the whole shell of the trailor is mining the heat."

"So not only are you removing the heat from the structure, you are using that heat to evaporate a gas that is used in the evaporator to suck more heat out of the inside of the structure?"

"You got it pal, that's why I came to you, Mr. Oz"

I patted him on the back and then hugged him for his creative mind and for making a so called impossible feat a reality. I told him to stay in touch and turned him on to a nice place to park his trailor over close to the lake under some trees, and then I went back into the house. I waived to him from the window as he pulled out of the drive.

"What was he about? "

"Oh he has a new idea for cooling, " I said.

"Thank God", said Jeanelle, "I've been hot all day".

As the night brought a little coolness to the overheated streets and buildings, I thought about old Al and his trailor. I thought about how normal, very simple AC wasn't invented until the 50's. I thought about how the turbo jet engine that is the work horse of aviation wasn't invented until then either.

Using heat to remove heat seemed straightforward enough. That's the way all AC's work more or less. In this case, there just weren't any middle men.

The next day, I noticed that a large tractor trailor had lost control and it had somehow wiped out several parked travel trailors.

Al was sleeping cooly in his when it happened.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooooh. I love it when Janelle and Oz surface.

Love the idea.

Love the creativity.

Love the airstream.

And there is that little dark ending.-

to keep things in perspective.

9:08 AM  

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