Solar powered refrigerator

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Jump to: navigation, search Solar-powered refrigerators are most commonly used in the developing world to help mitigate poverty and climate change. By harnessing solar energy, these refrigerators are able to keep perishable goods such as meat and dairy cool in hot climates, and are used to keep much needed vaccines at their appropriate temperature to avoid spoilage. The portable devices can be constructed with simple components and are perfect for areas of the developing world where electricity is unreliable or non-existent. [1] Other solar-powered refrigerators were already being employed in areas of Africa which vary in size and technology, as well as their impacts on the environment. The biggest design challenge is the intermittency of sunshine (only several hours per day) and the unreliability (sometimes cloudy for days). Either batteries (electric refrigerators) or phase-change material is added to provide constant refrigeration.

Contents
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1 Environmental Impacts of Refrigerators 2 History of Solar Refrigeration 3 Technology 4 Battery Supplemented Solar Refrigerator 5 Portable Solar Powered Fridge o 5.1 How it works o 5.2 Usage 6 See also 7 Notes 8 References

[edit] Environmental Impacts of Refrigerators
There is major environmental concern regarding conventional refrigeration technologies including contribution to ozone layer depletion and global warming. Refrigerators which contain ozone depleting and global warming substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFC¶s), in their insulation foam or their refrigerant cycle are the most harmful. After CFC¶s were banned in the 1980¶s they were replaced with substances such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which are ozone depleting substances and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Both are environmentally destructive as potential global warming chemicals. If a refrigerator is inefficient it will also contribute to global warming. The use of solar energy to power refrigeration strives to minimize the negative impacts refrigerators have on the environment.[2]

[edit] History of Solar Refrigeration
"In developed countries, plug-in refrigerators with backup generators store vaccines safely, but in developing countries, where electricity supplies can be unreliable, alternative refrigeration technologies are required´.[3] Solar fridges were introduced in the developing world to cut down on the use of kerosene or gas-powered absorption refrigerated coolers which are the most common alternatives. They are used for both vaccine storage and household applications in areas without reliable electrical supply because they have poor or no grid electricity at all.[4] They burn a liter of kerosene per day therefore requiring a constant supply of fuel which is costly and smelly, and are responsible for the production of large amounts of carbon dioxide.[5] They can also be difficult to adjust which can result in the freezing of medicine.[6] There are two main types of solar fridges that have been and are currently being used, one that uses a battery and more recently, one that does not.

[edit] Technology
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Conventional motor compressor refrigerator powered by solar photovoltaic produced electricity. Thermoelectric solid-state refrigerator powered by solar photovoltaic electricity. Absorption refrigerator in which the boiler heat is generated from concentrated sunlight. Stirling engine refrigerator in which the compressor is mechanically driven by a Stirling engine.

[edit] Battery Supplemented Solar Refrigerator
Traditionally solar-powered refrigerators and vaccine coolers use a combination of solar panels and lead batteries to store energy for cloudy days and at night in the absence of sunlight to keep their contents cool. These fridges are expensive and require heavy lead-acid batteries which tend to deteriorate, especially in hot climates, or are misused for other purposes.[7] In addition, the batteries require maintenance, must be replaced approximately every three years, and must be disposed of as hazardous wastes possibly resulting in lead pollution. [8] These problems and the resulting higher costs have been an obstacle for the use of solar powered refrigerators in developing areas.[9]

[edit] Portable Solar Powered Fridge
A Portable solar powered fridge has been produced for use in the developing world. The basic design uses the principle of evaporation.[10] The fridge is solar powered, but does not require solar panels, and can be made from basic household material lowering the cost and making access to the developing world easier. Without using any power the fridge can keep perishable at a temperature of 6 degrees Celsius for days.[11] Also see zeer.

[edit] How it works
The refrigerator employs a combination of heat conduction and convection, requires no electricity and can be made for commonly available material such as cardboard, sand and recycled metal.[12] The device is composed of two cylinders. The inner metal cylinder is fitted

inside the outer cylinder which can be made from what ever the person has access to including wood or plastic.[13] Space is left between the inner and outer chamber to be filled with organic material which can include sand, wool or soil that is then saturated with water. As heat from the sun evaporates the water, the inner chamber cools reducing and maintaining the temperature at 43 °F (6 °C).[14]

[edit] Usage
The portable solar fridge is used in areas of Africa such as Zambia, Namibia, and South Africa in areas where electricity is often not readily accessible to help preserve perishable foods such as meat and dairy, however, is not yet being used for vaccines.[15] It is easily transported and reduces negative environmental impacts but is limited by size and requires the availability of water.

[edit] See also
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Renewable energy in developing countries Solar power in South Asia UN-Energy SolarAid

[edit] Notes
1. ^ (Lachut, 2009; Brook, 2009) 2. ^ (UNEP, 2005; Pedersen & Maté, 2006) 3. ^ (Burton, 2007) 4. ^ (Pedersen & Maté, 2006; Pedersen, Poulsen, & Katic) 5. ^ (Burton, 2007) 6. ^ (Pedersen, Poulsen, & Katic) 7. ^ (Burton, 2007; Pedersen, Poulsen, & Katic) 8. ^ (Burton, 2007) 9. ^ (Pedersen & Maté, 2006; Pedersen, Poulsen, & Katic) 10. ^ (PSFK, 2009) 11. ^ (Brooke, 2009) 12. ^ (Flahiff, 2009) 13. ^ (Greenlaunches, 2009; Ecofriend, 2009) 14. ^ (Brooke, 2009; Flahiff, 2009) 15. ^ (Flahiff, 2009)

[edit] References
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Burton, A. 2007. Solar Thrill: Using the sun to cool vaccines. Environmental Health Perspectives. 115(4): 208±211 Brooke, C. (2009, Jan. 8) Amazing solar-powered fridge invented by British student in a potting shed helps poverty-stricken Africans. Mail Online. Retrieved January 30, 2009, from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1108343/Amazing-solarpowered-fridge-invented-British-student-potting-shed-helps-poverty-strickenAfricans.html

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Ecofriend (2009, Jan. 8). Eco Tech: 21-year-old student invents portable solar-power frige. Retrieved January 29, 2009, from http://www.ecofriend.org/entry/eco-tech-21year-old-student-invented-portable-solar-powered-fridge/ Greenlaunches.com. (2009, Jan. 8) Portable Solar powered refrigerator cools like human body. Retrieved January 29, 2009, from http://www.greenlaunches.com/gadgets-and-tech/portable-solar-powered-refrigeratorcools-like-human-body.php Pedersen, PH. Maté J. 2006. SolarChill vaccine cooler and refrigerator: a breakthrough technology. Industria Formazione. Special International Issue: Refrigeration and Air Conditioning. No. 300, Suppl. 1(No. 6 ±2006):17±19 Pedersen, PH., Poulsen, S., Katic, I. (n.d.) SolarChill²a solar PV refrigerator without battery. Danish Technological Institute. Taastrup, Denmark: Solar Energy Centre, 1± 4. Lachut, S. (2009, Jan. 8) A Portable, Solar-Powered Fridge for the Developing World. PSFK. Retrieved January 29, 2009, from http://www.psfk.com/2009/01/a-portablesolar-powered-fridge-for-the-developing-world.html UNEP 2005. SolarChill: the vaccine cooler powered by nature. Paris, France: UNEP Division of Technology, Industry and Economics, 1-16. Retrieved January 29, 2005, from http://www.uneptie.org/Ozonaction/information/mmcfiles/4489-eSolarChill.pdf. Flahiff, D. (2009, Jan. 12). Student Invents Solar -Powered Fridge for Developing Countries. Inhabitat. Retrieved January 30, 2009, from http://www.inhabitat.com/2009/01/12/solar-powered-fridge-by-emily-cummins/ Sanford A. Klein, Ph.D. and Douglas T. Reindl, Ph.D. Solar Refrigeration, http://www.ashrae.org/content/ASHRAE/ASHRAE/PDF/20058309533_886.pdf

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