While this Slashdot-linked article about two high school students inventing a "new" sort of automotive air conditioner is interesting and very optimistic, according to the 'dot collective, it leaves a major caveat out. Essentially, peltier coolers (the chips they used to create the effect) are currently extremely inefficient, far less so than conventional compressor-driven systems.
Still, comparing an established and highly refined system to something that was almost literally ginned up in a garage doesn't seem exactly fair. Certainly Ricoh, a very large and serious HVAC manufacturer, is taking it seriously. Who knows... maybe they're sitting on some sort of process that makes these things far more efficiently?