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Solar Ice Maker
  • I would like to see this group OCE a solar ice maker like the one here:

    It has no moving parts and requires no electricity. It uses the absorption cycle coupled with a thermosiphon. The system produces 10kg ice blocks that can be used for old fashioned icebox refrigeration in remote areas. 

    The cost is very high at about $7,000 to produce the unit, and I have to believe that for something like this it should be possible to greatly reduce the cost, even if it means a mild reduction in efficiency. 

    Open-sourcing this design would allow remote sites to have ice production capability with no additional infrastructure dependencies (power, fuel). 

    -Daniel Nalbach
  • 3 Comments sorted by
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    October 2011
    Sounds like a Crosley IceyBall.

    Use a parabolic solar reflector, to heat up a salt bath which is coupled to a propane heat pipe coupled to heat the unit.

    Heat then recharges the iceball.

    They need not be that expensive and you could also explore other refrigerants besides ammonia.

    A Handpump using zeolites can also be used and recharged using solar energy.

    I will add to my todo list, to put descriptions of both systems, a bill of materials and simplified drawings with a spreadsheet up here for you.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    October 2011

    Here is an example of zeolite refrigeration.

    Zeolite in bulk is really inexpensive, but because some people package it for health benefits and mark it up 100 to 300% it can seem expensive.

    Order through a wholesaler from China or or natural zeolites in bulk and they will be real inexpensive.
  • Vote Up0Vote Down
    October 2011

    Larry Hall has posted these instructions to build your own crosley icey ball.

    I think a parabolic collector built in modules made from mylar from an emergency blanket would be least expensive way to go, couple this with a sintered ceramic backing (That has good thermal diffusion and conduction). You could even use sheet metal and use heat pipes coupled to the ground or better yet ground water, and use that as a thermosiphon to pump water through the HX that the dish is focused on. The hot side of the HX is coupled to heat pipes connected to the a flat plate which connects to the absorption system.

    I think the first priority should be well drilling technology and water purification from solar collectors. Then solar operated pumps, then farming tools, then refrigeration.   Low Efficiency, open air simple stirling engines, which can be operated from solar thermal can pump water and can be made crudely unlike steam engines. Use the stirling engines to pump air and use a bubble pump to pump water.

    Stirling engines of this type can be made using just thin sheet aluminum wood or cork for the shell, or even clay or glass, and leather for the diaphragm.

    One could couple heat pipes to the groundwater flow to ensure a nice temp differential, and when the water is pumped to surface one could use the solar collector to boil the water and then condense and filter through zeolite and clay to remove heavy metals.

    Then they have clean drinking water, and water for farming, once they have farming then the refrigeration becomes key.

    Also if they have the well drilling excavation technology, then they can manufacture a cave and use the earth as thermal insulation making the ice last longer and therefore the goods in the cave last longer.

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