A vortex tube is an interesting device that takes compressed air and divides it into a hot and cold stream. Various theories try to explain why it works but there is no definitive answer. Their primary uses are for “spot” cooling and “enclosure” cooling. Despite their many advantages (compact, no maintenance, simple, rugged, portable), they are energy intensive so they do have a practical application limit.
Apart from special applications in the natural gas industry, vortex tubes are operated with compressed air. Compressed air itself is a green technology – it is the very air breathe, so the thought of using it to air condition a home is a concept some people imagine.
The problem is the size of area to cool. It would take a 40 HP air compressor to provide 10000 BTU/hr of cooling. That would handle one reasonable size room. So if you have several rooms (say 4) you would need at least a 150 HP air compressor. That in itself is a heavy cost just for the air compressor, then a separate room for the air compressor and of course the energy cost of running that air compressor. But if one day that air compressor can be solar powered, then – if you are willing to have a separate room for the air compressor, preferably sound proofed, then – maybe then – you can have an environmentally friendly, no chemicals, no maintenance air conditioning system based on vortex tubes in your home. Just the routine maintenance of the compressor is needed. But a sound proof room for your huge compressor??? Probably not very practical.