The demand for cooling technology is rapidly increasing in many parts of the world, including in most EU Member States. However, the use of products such as fans and air-conditioning systems results in a dramatic increase in electricity demand on hot summer days. This causes an unwanted increase in the use of fossil and nuclear energy and threatens the stability of electricity grids. The pharmaceuticals sector has significant cooling needs. The European Directive 2001/83/EC (as amended by Directive 2004/27/EC) on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use, and subsequent national legislation, requires specific temperature and humidity conditions to be maintained for the storage of medicines. In Spain, the requirement to store medicines at 25º C ± 2º C and humidity levels of 60% ±5% creates a significant cooling demand. Temperature control is particularly difficult to achieve, since the buildings that serve as warehouses for pharmaceutical products are normally large buildings with high energy demands.
The MEDICOOL project aims to develop and demonstrate an innovative solar technology solution for the heating and cooling of medicine storage warehouses in Spain. It furthermore seeks facilitate the transfer of the process to other areas. The project will develop a prototype solar-based cooling system, which will be installed in a pharmaceutical storage centre. The system will be monitored and evaluated to assess the success of the process and its constituent parts during operation. The project aims to achieve optimal performance of the new technology and demonstrate that it is a technically feasible solution for reducing energy demand for cooling by more than 70%. There will also be additional benefits in terms of more efficient heating during colder months. Technical, economic and adaptation studies will also assess how to better apply the innovative solution at different scales, to other sectors, and in other areas. This will help to better understand the most efficient performance systems for different conditions.
- Demonstration and practical application of a new sustainable solar cooling system;
- A 70% (795 000 KWh/yr in real terms for the pilot plant), or more, reduction in the energy needs of medicine warehouses;
- Associated annual emissions reductions of: 190 tonnes of CO2; 766 tonnes of SO2; 626 tonnes of NOx; 4 140 cm3 of radioactive residues of low and medium activity; and 508 g of high radioactive activity residues;
- Economic savings of €105 000/yr for the pilot plant from cooling alone; and
- A decreased threat to the stability of electricity grids.