In 2007, Professor James Trevelyan first invented the prototype for what would become the Coolzy. He founded our company Close Comfort Pty Ltd in 2007 to conduct the research and development. Over the next 6 years, James worked with his engineering students at the University of Western Australia to gradually develop and realise his dream of energy-efficient, localised air conditioning technology.
In the summer of 2013, Professor Trevelyan arrived at the foot of the Himalayas, to conduct tests in some of the hottest areas of Pakistan. Despite nightly indoor temperatures reaching 41°C and humidity up to 80% the results exceeded his expectations.
After 2 further years of market research and testing in different countries and climatic conditions, the first Coolzys went on sale to customers in 2016 under the Close Comfort brand.
Since then, our research and development at Close Comfort continues, improving the performance of our air conditioners and developing new product lines.
At Coolzy.com we are committed to providing sustainable solutions to cool a warming world.
Here we show some of the important steps on the way to Coolzy. This photo shows the very first packaged Coolzy being tested by one of James’ students in steamy tropical Queensland heat. At the time we only knew the basics of refrigeration and air conditioning. At the time, the aim was to provide cooling for sleeping through intense heat in the Pakistan summer with high humidity and indoor temperature around 40 °C. The fabric enclosure around the bed retained much of the dense, cool, dry air coming from the wooden box. At first we thought that a mosquito net would be sufficient, but we soon learned how easily cool air flowed off the bed through the net like a cascade of water.
The cooler had large automotive heat exchangers. Students searched car wrecking yards for inexpensive air conditioning components and fans, but fitting them all in a plywood box was quite a challenge.
A Stylish Bedroom
Here’s a concept drawing for the first Coolzy that James’ wife was prepared to accept in her home. He re-designed the air cooling machinery to fit in a blanket box at the foot end of the bed.
His wife arranged for Pakistan experts to make the decorative curtains enclosing the bed.
The cool air is much denser than the warm humid air outside the enclosure and stays just above the mattress.
Although physically quite large, the air cooler ran on only 250 Watts of power, low enough to run easily on a battery back up power supply. These power supplies are common in households across South Asia and many other countries experiencing regular power blackouts.
The air cooler
At first it seemed simple. All we had to do was to build a tiny air conditioner. Here’s an expert cabinet maker working on a very unusual piece of furniture.
Gradually James learned that the theories taught to students are only the beginning. There are so many practical considerations to factor into the design. Every cooling device will condense water from humid air and the water has to go somewhere, preferably lower down. Water won’t flow up hill without a pump, and a pump is an undesirable complication and uses electric power. It has to be avoided if possible. Furthermore, it’s essential to keep the water away from the electrical wiring!
The first real test
Summer in Perth, Western Australia can be very hot. Not quite as hot as Pakistan, but well over 40 °C during the day. Who better to try out this prototype than a young honeymoon couple. After six weeks in James’ guest bedroom, they pronounced this prototype a complete success. It kept them comfortable through the hottest days and nights.
Students came in later and patiently measured the air flow patterns to confirm James’ predictions. They discovered an unexpected flow pattern where the warmer air returned to the air cooler. An invisible swirling vortex formed, drawing in warm air from above.
Smaller, lighter, the first really portable mini air conditioner
The next challenge was to design a smaller, lighter machine that would be easily portable. This photograph shows another prototype, this time using components from a commercial portable room air conditioner.
Xia Jin, a research and development engineer, performed many tests to confirm that the technical performance would meet the demands of Pakistan summer heat. In this photograph she is using a thermal camera to visualise the distribution of heating and cooling coming from the copper pipes.
Islamabad, Pakistan, June 2014
This was the first real test for Coolzy. James travelled back to Pakistan where the first ideas emerged ten years earlier.
He unpacked the Coolzy prototype from its packing, hoping that it had survived the long journey by air. He connected it to the pop-up bed tent made in Lahore specially for the test. Last minute cardboard additions secured with masking tape directed the warm air to the ceiling.
He prepared a downstairs bedroom just in case, because the heat in the upstairs bedroom was several degrees higher than he had expected.
Exhausted, he fell asleep and woke, refreshed and comfortable, 9 hours later. The little Coolzy exceeded his expectations. Local people asked how much it would cost to buy. Until then, for James, it had just been a technical challenge. At that moment, when he realised how excited local people were about enjoying affordable air conditioned comfort, the commercial potential of Coolzy first became apparent.
Ongoing R&D 2015 – 2022
We continue our research and development to continually improve Coolzy.
Here we are testing air flow patterns that help to deliver Coolzy’s focused cooling, concentrating all the cooling power where it is needed, not sharing most of the cooling with the ceiling, walls, floor and furniture like typical room air conditioners.
The world needs sustainable cooling that deliver comfort for billions of people without cooking the climate with greenhouse emissions from power stations and refrigerant gases.
The new generation Coolzy models use 100 grams of natural R290 refrigerant, sealed in hermetically welded tubes for the life of the product. Even if released, this gas has a negligible carbon footprint. With higher thermal efficiency, the new Coolzy delivers more cooling for the equivalent power.
We will be releasing even more improvements later in 2022 and in 2023.