Ice is wonderful to cool drinks, but can it really cool a modern house or office building? A new company called Ice Energy has developed a system that converts water to ice, which is then used to run an air-conditioning unit.
During hot days, homes and buildings turn up the air conditioning, which uses a tremendous amount of power. Ice-powered air conditioners make ice at night and use it to cool the existing air conditioning units' refrigerant during the day, which decreases the amount of electricity a building uses [source: Ice Energy].
Here's how it works: At night, the unit freezes 450 gallons (1,703.81 liters) of water by circulating refrigerant through a system of copper coils. The water that surrounds the coils turns to ice, which is then stored. As temperatures rise the next day, the existing AC unit stands down, and the ice, rather than the AC unit’s compressor, cools the hot refrigerant, which keeps the building temperature nice and comfortable and cuts overall energy consumption by about 30 percent [source: Ice Energy].