1. Executive Summary
The goal of this project was to provide a proof of concept for a solar powered refrigeration compressor designed to operate off of a pressure difference that is created by solar thermal energy. This includes validating that the design does not violate any laws of thermodynamics and fabrication of a prototype, driven by compressed air, to acquire data on the design’s mechanical functionality. With this system, an adequate cooling effect is produced with minimal electrical energy input, allowing small standalone units to operate almost entirely off solar thermal energy. This type of vapor compression refrigeration (VCR) is vastly different than what is on the market today. Current solar refrigeration technology involves ammonia evaporation, which is highly inefficient and bulky in comparison. Typical evaporation refrigeration devices are in the range of thirty to forty percent efficient . Needless to say, it’s time for a change. This new VCR cycle could serve many markets, reducing the use of non-renewable energy sources and moving towards a sustainable future. Markets such as produce transportation, biomedical refrigeration, commercial and residential air conditioning, and even the familiar drink cooler could benefit from this technology. To turn this idea into a marketable, economically feasible, mechanical device would forever change the way we use our energy.
Below is a formal report of our project and a link to our webpage of the design: