Date of Award
Santa Clara: Santa Clara University, 2014.
In developing nations access to electricity is inconsistent at best, and food spoilage is a prevalent issue. The solar powered absorption chiller is a refrigeration system designed to provide refrigeration to these developing areas. This year, our team has worked to develop a system where the sun's rays are collected as heat to power an absorption refrigerator. The goal of this project was to take an existing solar tracker system and use its collected heat to power a refrigerator. Our team designed and built heat exchangers to extract heat from the concentrated solar system; assembled components for a fluid circulation loop; and retrofitted an absorption chiller refrigerator to be powered by our heated fluid. Additionally, we redesigned an existing solar tracking system to improve function and decrease power consumption. By the end of this year we assembled the entire system and performed months of solar testing as well as proof-ofconcept testing that the refrigerator could receive necessary heat through a heated fluid. By the end of the school year, we concluded that the heated fluid would need to reach 150°C to begin the refrigeration cycle (with current heat exchanger design), which was 25° higher than our solar testing had achieved. With further improvements, the refrigerator could be designed to run with lower heat inputs and the tracker system could be designed to attain heat at higher temperatures. With these changes, a working refrigeration system could have dramatic impacts on farming communities in developing countries; reducing food spoilage, increasing family income, and preventing food-borne illnesses.
Carlson, Craig; Coulter, Mark; Kunkle, Claire; and Watson, Patrick, "Solar absorption chiller" (2014). Mechanical Engineering Senior Theses. 35.