Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

’Green’ chiller technology rolled out for Earth day

22.04.2004


Penn State acousticians put their new prototype for a compact chiller, based on "green" technology that substitutes sound waves for environment-damaging chemical refrigerants, on first public display in conjunction with Earth Day in New York City.



The roll-out took place at a Ben & Jerry’s scoop shop in New York City where the chiller was hooked up to a standard ice cream sales freezer cabinet and successfully kept the creamy merchandise in delicious condition. Ben & Jerry’s partnered with Penn State, with financial and scientific support from its parent company, Unilever, to develop a more environmentally friendly prototype freezer cabinet.

Dr. Steven Garrett, the United Technologies Corporation professor of acoustics at Penn State who leads the thermoacoustic chiller research team, says, "We expect this new compact approach to thermoacoustic chillers to be used first in applications that are difficult for chemical refrigeration, such as beverage vending machines, cooling microprocessor chips in computers and, of course, ice cream sales cabinets.


"If chemical refrigerants are banned due to global warming effects, then it will be more likely that thermoacoustic refrigeration will start appearing in kitchens and home air conditioners if cheap manufacturing methods for these products can be developed," he adds. The team that developed the new thermoacoustic chiller at Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory, included Garrett, Dr. Matthew Poese, who in his recent master’s and doctoral degree work under Garrett’s direction helped lead the way to the new chiller, and Robert W. Smith, ARL research engineer and co-inventor, who has worked with Garrett’s group on thermoacoustic projects for the past eight years.

Garrett explains that conventional refrigeration uses chemicals, such as CFCs and HFCs that absorb heat when they turn from liquid to vapor. The chemicals that work best also damage the atmosphere. In 1995, the Montreal Protocols instituted a worldwide ban on CFC production because of damage to the ozone layer that protects Earth from harmful radiation that causes skin cancer and cataracts. HFCs were introduced to replace CFCs but they contribute to global warming.

The Penn State thermoacoustic chiller uses helium gas instead of chemical refrigerants. Helium, which is used to keep birthday party balloons aloft, doesn’t burn, explode or combine with other chemicals. If released into the atmosphere, helium drifts harmlessly into outer space.

The Penn State chiller takes advantage of helium’s inertness and high thermal conductivity as well as the fact that a sound wave is a rapid succession of compressions and expansions of the gas that carries it.

"When a gas is compressed, its heats up. When it expands, it cools down," Garrett explains. "In thermoacoustics, we arrange the compressions and expansions so that all of the heat of compression is deposited at one end of the system where it can be exhausted into the room. We arrange for all of the expansions to occur at a different location where the cooling due to expansion can be used to refrigerate ice cream, for example. Our compact unit also makes this happen with no mechanical valves or cams or linkages."

The thermoacoustic chiller is patented by Penn State and negotiations for a license are in progress with a start-up company formed to commercialize the technology.

Barbara Hale | Penn State
Further information:
http://live.psu.edu/story/6526

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Upcycling 'fast fashion' to reduce waste and pollution
03.04.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Litter is present throughout the world’s oceans: 1,220 species affected
27.03.2017 | Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>