Date of Award


Document Type



Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2016.


Computer Engineering; Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Hohyun Lee

Second Advisor

Weijia Shang


Lack of safe food storage can lead to sickness, cancer, and even death. This has effects on developing communities where over a billion people live without access to electricity. This lack of electrical power limits families in developing communities’ ability to utilize modern refrigeration systems, forcing them to instead rely on ice boxes to keep their food cold. Ice boxes are a time consuming refrigeration system that can be highly inconsistent and unsafe, if not constantly monitored. Simply, poor food storage can lead to illness and systemic problems caused by poor diet. In order to combat this problem, we are developing an off-grid, low power, compact refrigeration system with a user interface to allow for greater individual control. By optimizing thermoelectric modules with regards to the refrigerator size and heat dissipation system, it is possible to achieve a temperature difference suitable for storing food at power levels lower than that of a standard light bulb. The cooling system is further enhanced using an evaporative cooling solution that is rigorously designed to provide the greatest cooling effect with minimal user interaction. When used in conjunction with the main thermoelectric heat pump, lower internal temperatures can be achieved at reduced power. This system performance is monitored and controlled using a micro-controller that measures environmental conditions as well as fridge performance. It can inform the user and allow them a greater amount of control over the performance of their refrigeration system. In summary, we seek to effectively design a product that will enhance the quality and safety of life for those without access to reliable refrigeration.