Air Conditioning Research Facilities
CSIRO has established a team of building energy experts and state-of-the-art test facilities to develop and assess conventional air conditioning and new solar cooling techniques and technologies.
20 July 2010 | Updated 27 January 2012
Solar cooling expertise
CSIRO's Solar Cooling research team has built up expertise in designing solar cooling systems, simulation modelling, prototype development and testing.
Our scientists and engineers have access to a unique suite of research facilities, located at the CSIRO Energy Centre in Newcastle, New South Wales, specifically designed for the development and testing of conventional air-conditioning and solar cooling technologies and systems.
Controlled Climate Test Facility
The Controlled Climate Test Facility (CCTF) was designed and constructed by CSIRO engineers to test a wide range of air conditioning equipment components, such as evaporative coolers, heat exchangers and desiccant wheels, under controlled conditions.
The CCTF test rig can produce two separate, conditioned air streams with precise temperature and humidity control (temperature range 0-90 ºC; relative humidity range 10-95 per cent).
It is also fitted with precision gauges and metering probes to monitor all thermodynamic states.
The facility has been built with the flexibility to provide a platform for testing all types of air-conditioning technology.
National HVAC Performance Test Facility
CSIROs National Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioing (HVAC) Performance Test Facility has been designed by CSIRO engineers to undertake complete HVAC system testing.
This state-of-the-art facility expands Australia’s capacity for product testing and has the flexibility to evaluate both conventional and innovative solar-powered air-conditioning technologies (up to 20kWthermal).
The facility has been designed to test the electrical, cooling and heating performance of air conditioners under rating conditions and under transient simulated global weather conditions, from 2°C to 45°C.
The National HVAC Performance Test Facility is Australia's most comprehensive HVAC test facility, able to evaluate prototypes and commercial products at rated conditions or across the full range of transient operating conditions.
The exterior of the facility has been fitted with a range of solar thermal collectors, including flat plate, evacuated tubes and air collectors, to test sorption cooling technologies with different solar heat sources.
The solar thermal collectors cover the roof and are exposed to normal daily sunlight.
The inside of the facility houses a balanced ambient calorimeter, built to Australian and international standards, which can be connected to the TRNSYS simulation package for hour-by-hour heat load analysis.
Because the facility is able to simulate indoor and outdoor environments, prototype and commercial products can be evaluated under a range of conditions which mimic climactic conditions around Australia and the world.
In addition to this capability, real solar thermal collectors mean solar thermal systems can be tested under 'true' sun, while their performance is tested by the calorimeter under a range of simulated environments.
A unique feature of the facility is the ability to operate with simulated building heat loads calculated by a TRNSYS building simulation program and supplied in real time to the facility control system.
This enables the facility to replicate the performance of a solar - or conventional - air conditioning system in any building in any climate.
Working with CSIRO
CSIRO's HVAC test facilities are available to industry to hire. For more information, contact Mark.Peristy@csiro.au.
CSIRO also offers solar cooling consultancy services.
Learn more about CSIRO’s solar cooling research.