Our state-of-the-art test facilities assess conventional air conditioning and new solar cooling techniques and technologies.

The challenge

Creating the perfect test environment

As the development of new cooling technologies grows, testing facilities which can evaluate units and systems against Australian standards, in tightly controlled conditions, are critical to the product development process.

HVAC facility  ©CSIRO, DBELETICH

Our response

New facility, new techniques

We have 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.

Solar cooling expertise

Our solar cooling team has expertise in designing solar cooling systems, simulation modelling, prototype development and testing. Our research facilities are designed for the development and testing of conventional air-conditioning and solar cooling technologies.

Controlled Climate Test Facility

The Controlled Climate Test Facility (CCTF) tests a wide range of air conditioning equipment components, such as evaporative coolers, heat exchangers and desiccant wheels, under controlled conditions. Our 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.

National HVAC Performance Test Facility

Our National Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) Performance Test Facility has been designed to undertake complete HVAC system testing. This facility has the flexibility to evaluate both conventional and innovative solar-powered air-conditioning technologies (up to 20kWthermal).

It 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. Prototype and commercial products can be evaluated under a range of conditions.

The exterior of the facility is fitted with a range of solar thermal collectors to test sorption cooling technologies with different solar heat sources. The inside houses a balanced ambient calorimeter, which can be connected to the TRNSYS simulation package for hour-by-hour heat load analysis. We can test solar thermal systems under 'true' sun, while their performance is tested by the calorimeter under a range of simulated environments.

The results

Australia's most comprehensive testing facilities

The facilities we have created, combined with our knowledge and expertise, has created Australia's most comprehensive testing and research facility spanning cooling, heating and climate.

The National HVAC Performance Test Facility, in particular, is Australia's leading HVAC test facility, able to evaluate prototypes and commercial products at rated conditions or across the full range of transient operating conditions

Take a walk around our Controlled Climate Test Facility (CCTF):

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[Image changes to show a blue screen and CSIRO logo and text appears on the screen: Controlled Climate Test Facility]

[Image changes to show a view of the Controlled Climate Test Facility and the camera gradually pans around the facility to show a male seated at a desk]

Narrator: In Australia air conditioning and refrigeration consumes over 20% of all produced electricity and is responsible for around 50% of peak demand on the electricity system.

[Image changes to show the Test Bench area of the Controlled Climate Test Facility with silver ducting throughout the room and the camera zooms gradually in on the ducting and then a male appears on the right-hand side of the room and a sign appears on the left with a heading: Test bench]

Our controlled climate test facility tests the performance of air conditioning components under different climatic conditions to help improve the energy efficiency of residential and commercial air conditioning systems.

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This includes testing commercial evaporative coolers, heat exchanges and desiccant wheels to determine how they perform in a range of climatic conditions as well as new break-through components we have developed.

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These silver ducts are where two separate air streams are created, hot or cold or humid or dry.

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We can set a range from 0 to 90° C and 10 to 95% humidity

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to mimic real conditions from across the globe such as hot and dry like you would find in the Sahara Desert or hot and humid like you would find in Darwin.  Why do we do this?

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Because we can push different technologies to the limit to see what works best and how to make improvements to help reduce energy use and costs.

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Our innovation isn’t just happening in a lab.

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It’s in the real world too including an Education Building at Hamilton TAFE in New South Wales and Stockland Shopping Centre in Ballarat Victoria.  We’re continuing to work with our partners both locally and globally to help deliver a lower emissions future.

[Music plays and text appears: www.csiro.au/energy]

[CSIRO logo and text appears: Australia’s innovation catalyst]

CSIRO’s Controlled Climate Test Facility: air-conditioner component testing to improve efficiency and performance

Or, check out our National Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning Performance Test Facility.

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[Music plays and the image changes to show a blue screen and CSIRO logo and text appears: National Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning (HVAC) Performance Test Facility]

[Image changes to show an outside view of the National Heating, Ventilation and Air-conditioning Performance Test Facility and a sign appears to the left of the building: HVAC testing]

Narrator: Our National Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning, HVAC Performance Test Facility may not have a jazzy name but it performs some impressive research to evaluate conventional and solar powered air conditioning systems.

[Image changes to show an interior view of the building and the camera pans around the HVAC Facility and a sign appears above a desk: Air conditioning testing]

Inside we have two test rooms that can mimic conditions around the world to examine how well air conditioning systems perform.

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Specifically, how well they work and how much energy they use.

[Image changes to show a test area of the HVAC Facility and a sign appears above a door with a heading: Indoor simulation]

This information can be used by consumers and Government or by industries to understand and improve product performance.

[Image changes to show another test area of the HVAC Facility and a sign appears above a door with a heading: Outdoor simulation]

The system under test can be powered by different solar, thermal and photovoltaic panels on the roof or electricity from the grid.

[Image changes to show an outside view of the solar dish collectors for the HVAC Facility and a sign appears to the right of the solar dish collector with a heading: Solar dish collectors]

We also have solar dish collectors that concentrate the heat from the sun at temperatures up to 500 degrees Celsius, store it and use it to power thermally driven chillers.

[A sign appears next to the heat storage tank to the left of the solar dish collector with a heading: Heat storage tank]

By testing these systems in a real-world environment, we can evaluate performance before the technology is used in the field.

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This provides our partners with the confidence and expertise to identify which technologies are best for different applications and how to reduce system costs.

[Music plays and text appears: www.csiro.au/energy]

[CSIRO logo and text appears: Australia’s innovation catalyst]

CSIRO’s Controlled Climate Test Facility: HVAC research to evaluate conventional and solar powered air conditioning systems

You can also access more technical information with an interactive 360 degree self-navigated tour.

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We will be closed from noon 22 December 2017 and re-open 10am (AEDT) on 2 Jan 2018. We wish you a safe and happy festive season.

Between Tue 2 Jan – Fri 5 Jan our phone operating hours will be 10am – 3 pm (AEDT).

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