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In Shenzhen they have built a gigantic “air conditioning”: it cools an entire district of several km2 of the city

China has us used to giant things. Packed with mega-structures, they also feature some of the most sophisticated and enormous systems in the world. For example, the FAST radio telescope or in this case a curious cooling system not for a house or a building, but for an entire neighborhood of a city.


Qianhai Energy Company is the one behind this idea and it is a project to give air conditioning to an entire district of the city. With this January air conditioning they have already been able to supply air conditioning to Qianhai public buildings in Shenzhen since June. They do it in an area that covers several square kilometers.

How does this system work? Essentially like an ordinary air conditioner, but on a giant scale. A central station that is located underground is in charge of cooling and supplying cold water to all nearby buildings in the area. In this way the buildings transform it into cold air and thus offer air conditioning inside.

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Public air conditioning to save energy

Shenzhen city started working on this project in 2014 and now he finally has 3 stations operating out of 10 that he plans to install. With this system they propose to offer air conditioning to business and public buildings in the area. Why not the residential ones? Because it is an effective system when used for a prolonged period of time between 5 and 8 hours, as well as continuous and regular. Since this does not normally occur in things but in offices, it has not been implemented for residences.

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Inside the refrigeration plant. Via SCMP.

The goal of all this is consegue to save energy. A centralized system requires fewer air conditioners and therefore less cooling, according to the company behind the project. They say they can save around 130 million kilowatts of electricity each year.

When the ten stations are finished, it is expected to supply 400,000 tons of cold air to an area of ​​19 square kilometers in the city. At the moment they have three stations, it remains to be seen when and how the rest operate in the future.

This type of system can have the advantage of saving energy by using less cooling while being centralized. However, also requires particularly good planning, otherwise the disadvantages arise. For example, it requires a considerable size and at the same time adjusted to the number of buildings to which it supplies cold air. It also requires a good number of buildings and a very short distance so as not to lose that cold on the way, as well as pipes with very good heat preservation.

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Having said that, the one in Shenzhen is not the first nor probably the last. Central air conditioning systems have been created in the past in countries such as Hong Kong, Finland, Canada, the United Arab Emirates or Germany. They work both to cool and to supply heat.

Via | SMCP