Solar powered ice maker

solar powered ice maker
Producing ice without electricity just got a lot easier thanks to these engineering students from San Jose State University. Their system uses solar heat to facilitate evaporation of a coolant. When the sun goes down and the coolant turns back to liquid, its temperature drops drastically due to extreme pressure differences. The unit can produce 14 pounds of ice per day with zero carbon footprint. It has no moving parts and an entirely sealed system, this should mean that the only maintenance necessary would be keeping the unit clean.
[via DVICE]

Comments

  1. novolo says:

    cool! now someone needs to make this massively…

  2. micajah likeman says:

    I could see practical application for this. I’m not exactly an expert, but I think that you could use something like this, after a bit of modification, to distill water. It would kinda have to be ungodly huge to be of any large scale use, though.

    Still, they can now get their merit badges in using heat to make ice.

  3. They Wont Stop Laughing says:

    Does it count as an invention if Mother Earth News did it a ton of years ago (1976 or so).

    My question is what absorber are they using? Water and diatomaceous earth? Maybe one of the more common ammonia or even nastier combos.

    I would love to have a system like this to make me a bunch of ice all year long, then use it to cool my house when necessary.

    I’ve always wanted to line an old satellite dish with mylar, then put an “Icy-ball” at the focal point. It’d do the same thing. Just get yourself two Icy-balls so you can always have one charged.

  4. Chris McDonald says:

    Anyone got the details on how to build one of these?

    I’m in the planning stages of an off grid cabin/home and this would take care of the refrigeration needs. I’m planning on using LED lighting with off the shelf PV panels for lighting. Heating will be with the traditional wood stove(Any high efficiency designs?).

  5. Rob says:

    This has been done before, there are many references. It is not clear from the description if they have done anything novel. What would be interesting if they packaged it such that it could cycle continuously and could be used for A/C. We all know it can be done, LP powered freezers have been around for ages. The innovation would be to do it in a solar powered package.

  6. Bruce R says:

    you could have a look at this patent from 1988

    US Patent 4744224 – Intermittent solar ammonia absorption cycle refrigerator

    http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/4744224.html

  7. jslice says:

    sweet quarter pipe! Where is my skateboard…

  8. Cerebron says:

    Reminds me of the Mosquito Coast, only it’s a bit more elegant than Harrison Ford’s design. Though I dig Emmett Brown’s steam punk version.

  9. servant74 says:

    It doesn’t have to be ammonia cycle, but it does need a refrigerant. I think the plans from Lumenlab.com has an ammonia cycle one. My mother told me how they had a kerosene refrigerator before electricity came to rural west Texas in the 1920/30’s. I think it use ammonia cycle. I understand that is what large commercial ice houses have used for ‘ever’.

    What kind of refrigerant could be easily use that is not an ammonia cycle?

  10. Adam Ziegler says:

    Propane… but there are safety concerns for obvious reasons.

  11. Marc says:

    Been done many times before… search on solar adsorption & cooling/refrigeration. Add lithium bromide and get several hits on youtube including both one-off “sustainable energy” demonstration villages (villas?) and Japanese patents from 1988 and earlier.

    It’s not new, but it’s novel. Now… if Joe Neighbor puts one together in his back yard — THAT’S a worthy hack!

  12. cwd says:

    Yes, why the fuzz about an intermittent cooling cycle, when a continuous refrigerator cycle, without moving parts, is known at least since 1925 ? I suggest they should perhaps study a bit about past inventions.

  13. Nothing new here – Google Crosley Icyball – Ammonia using water as the absorbant. The patent for these are at least 100 years old… I build one of these many years ago and they work quite well and are relatively easy to build.

  14. miles says:

    Why the fuss?

    Hello, this can be any length, and pretty damn cheap (cost of a piece of pipe and an acrylic/aluminum mirror anyone?)

    It scales very well indeed. You can also just use the steam for electricity generation :)

  15. joe says:

    all this shows is college students don’t know their history.

    go back 83 years and you find solar powered steam engines generating electricity, and pumping water out of the Nile, in addition to providing refrigeration.

    For the past 80 fears fossil fuels have been cheaper than the maintenance required to upkeep mirrors, hence their demise

  16. ejonesss says:

    looks like what servel did

  17. servant74 says:

    Yea, all that is old is new again, with each generation.

    In 1900 there were more electric cars on the road than petroleum powered. Sometimes we get it right the first time, and now we are learning it all over again (with a lot more efficiency). …

    ‘Ice Houses’ in the 1800’s on use ammonia cycle cooling and it is still in use today where LOTS of cooling is needed and a good heat supply is available. I understand to get the ammonia cycle working it needs about 190F temp differential or more, so there are not many desktop solar ammonia cycle soda pop coolers out there. Historically, and even today, most ammonia cycle chillers have heaters, typically powered by natural gas, or other petroleum, but anything (including solar) that generates heat will do. … Sofar, the capital investment required to do solar to generate the ‘high quality heat’ continuously has not been economic. … Hopefully that will change.

    My mom grew up on a farm in west Texas before REA got electricity out there. They had a kerosene refrigerator. It was a great improvement to the cool water bath (a covered tub, fed with well water continuously coming in one end and going out the other, but kept full of water – milk, etc were put in metal ‘milk pails’ and kept mostly submerged to keep the stuff cool) they used before that. Around the same time my dad lived in the town of Jayton TX, they had ice delivery and used an ice box. I am sure that Ice came from an ammonia cycle ice house. Both of them were born mid 1920’s, so this is in the early/mid 1930’s.

  18. strider_mt2k says:

    yes yes by all means never re-publish anything ever.

    Everyone knows everything instantly the minute it comes to print so there is no need to ever ever reprint or re-visit anything ever as the entirety of human knowledge is already known by everyone at this moment.

    Twits.

  19. Geo says:
  20. Dennis says:

    yeah, it’s been invented and used 90 years ago, read a History! :)))) But, it still interesting conception…Thanks for info! ))
    Dennis

    http://www.subzerolosangeles.com

    We are – SubZero Refrigerator repair Experts in Los Angeles

  21. midwest says:

    very intrested,but idea not new,beter use bioetanol energy its more efficient, bu stiil there is way to improove

    htt://www.appliancemidwest.com
    ice maker,appliance expert in los angeles

  22. midwest says:

    very intrested,but idea not new,beter use bioetanol energy its more efficient, bu stiil there is way to improove

    http://www.appliancemidwest.com

    ice maker,appliance expert in los angeles

  23. A parts list would be nice. Also, the ability to quantify the savings potential is critical to receiving buy-in. I know that you can sell back your excess PV electricity back to the power companies to help off-set your costs. Hmmm…I’m wondering who might be interested in buying back all your ice.

  24. Charles says:

    Great thread. I found an excellent
    mostly video website that gives a
    lot of information on solar panels
    at solarpanelspowercells.com

  25. djatkins says:

    Think of all the money and natural resources we could save with the home powered solar systems. Plus it would be great to have a credit at our local electric company every month.

  26. cathy a. says:

    how can i avail this solar ice maker,,,

  27. I think it is great that you show another side of solar energy, who can imagina it can be use to make ice…

  28. Zoneaire says:

    nice post

  29. leo says:

    i realy cant understannd how convertor works?

    http://www.appliancemidwest.com

  30. Colombo says:

    Lousy design, wastful use of material, the original crosley was more cost and size efficient. These are engineering students? If these dorks had any real skill or knowlege they could have made a usefull device instead of that bolt together, off the shelf parts, grade school science project. Poor parts selection too.

  31. Mark Simms says:

    Let us consider if we ourselves generated renewable energy and if every home generated enough for 12 homes then we could very quickly achieve 100% renewable energy in all areas.
    The company Verdegia, S.L. is generating free electricity and clean green energy from a new solar technology system called Solar Engines – why rely on others to make the change for us?
    We must make change happen.

    – The Solar Engine Systems from Verdegía boast 39kW/h and operate 24/7. And, they only take up the space of a single 200W PV panel.

  32. Verdegia says:

    There is increasing concern that governments are allowing companies to reduce the price paid to producers of exported renewable energy. Large banks and organizations dominate the large scale markets of renewable energy generation that have up till now made significant profits in the current climate.

    The price of energy doesn´t seem to get cheaper – clearly the changes must be made within each of us and adopt our own renewable energy generating capabilities and reduce our demand on expensive, fluctuating imported energy.

    Verdegía in Spain have a solution, Solar Engine Systems that generate plenty of green energy. If we ourselves, government and councils adopted this type of new technology then we could all very quickly change the effects of our demand on fossil fuels. – The Solar Engine Systems supplied from Verdegía boast 39kW/h and operate 24/7. That´s enough energy for 12 or more homes! And, they only take up the space of a single 200W PV panel.

    A major cost in renewable energy farms is the infrastructure, land and high capital investment, producing electricity locally within a distributed network is the most cost effective. It’s time to move away from large expensive solar farms and into the next generation of high performance renewable energy generators that effectively create a solar farm within one panel and at a 100th of the cost. This technology will allow us to turn vacant city rooftops into a hive of renewable generators that will not only feed our cities but will provide energy independence.

    Imagine a future where electricity was FREE and in public places you could just plug in and know that the energy being consumed has come from 100% renewable sources.

  33. Matt says:

    Most seem to be missing the point here. The difference is the source of the heat. Early gas-absorption refrigerators used another source of heat, such as kerosene. Even more resent solar heats like the one from the tree hugger website first heat water to then heat the gas. If a few of you had attended college you would be able to think out side the box and realize that these “little” changes can be huge, such as replacing fossil fuels with direct sunlight, which can not be done by “reading a history” (that ones for you Dennis).

  34. spa repair says:

    Thanks for sharing..
    Nice post..

  35. kurye says:

    great post thank you

  36. Great post – I’m getting some more panels installed this fall, and I saved some money after I figured out how to do it myself for cheap.

  37. kurye says:

    emege saygi tesekkürler

  38. Does anyone know if this technology is being used in remote villages of sub-Saharan Africa, where there’s plenty of sun but very little electricity and a huge need for refrigeration?

    And by the way, I’m not sure the students were claiming they had an “invention” as much as a “demonstration.”

  39. Please, are you able to PM me and notify me couple of a lot more thinks about this, I’m actually fan of your webpage…receives solved correctly asap.

  40. Dennis says:

    Yet another great “hack” I love the stuff you post here.

  41. Jose says:

    Is any unit ready for sales and price amoumt.

  42. david says:

    so frustrating that theres no link to a parts list or plans. been all over the internet for it. nothing. when i think im getting close, the webpage has been blocked or removed. conspiracy anyone?

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