Summer 2018

Solid State Solar Ice

Primary Researchers: Andy Sagers & Adeel Ali

This work is part of our research toward radically inexpensive solar electricityPlease meet our research team. Additionally, this work has been addressed in Summer 2017The Ice Cream Bus and by group projects in Schwartz’s Appropriate Technology Classes in Fall of 2016.

Why is ice important for the Global Poor?

The poorest people in the world have limited access to electricity, and even when they are connected to the grid, the cost of running a fridge or a freezer is just not feasible. Ice is such a valuable commodity because it keeps food fresh for longer. Ice can be used in coolers which is a much more affordable option when compared to a fridge or freezer. The problem is forming this ice with minimal electricity, and creating it without a traditional freezer or ice maker.

Our Mission:

Our research team is dedicated to finding alternative ways to create ice that are cost effective. We want to create a device that can manufacture ice without moving parts such as fans or pumps so that minimal maintenance is required. We also want our device to run purely off solar energy. This is because solar has become the cleanest cheapest way to generate electricity.

How are we going to accomplish this mission?

We plan to use Peltier modules to transfer heat from an aluminum ice chamber into a heat pipe heat sink. More information on what Peltier modules are, and how they work can be summarized in Evan Drake’s Senior Project.

Progress update links:

Aluminum Box with Fins and Long Heat Pipes 

Using Water and a CPU Heat Sink

Scaling Up

Copper Cladded TEC 12726 Peltier Device

Results for Freezing 50mL of Water:

Things to pay attention to: 

  1. Dips in the heat sink temperature are most likely a result of forced convection via my hand churning the water in the tub.
  2. Cases where the tub temperature is greater than the heat sink temperature could be from natural convection of the air, but this still needs to be investigated.
  3. The time labeled tice is the time it takes to reach zero degrees and form solid ice. The initial drop in temperature below zero is still in a liquid phase (supercooled).

(Note: These results will be posted as blue links as they are acquired)

Single TEC 12715 @ 3A

Single TEC 12715 @ 6A

Single TEC 12726 @ 3A

Single Copper Clad 12726 @ 3A

Single TEC 12726 @ 6A

Stacked TEC 12715s (Chamber side @ 1A, Heat sink side @ 3A)

Stacked TEC 12715s (Chamber side @ 3A, Heat sink side @ 6A)

Stacked TEC 12726s (Chamber side @ 1A, Heat sink side @ 3A)

Stacked TEC 12726s (Chamber side @ 3A, Heat sink side @ 6A)

Stacked TEC 12715 (Chamber side @ 1A) and TEC 12726 (Heat sink side @ 3A)

Stacked TEC 12715 (Chamber side @ 3A) and TEC 12726 (Heat sink side @ 6A)

Copper Cladded Stacked TEC 12715 (Chamber @ 1A) and TEC 12726 (Heat sink @ 3A)

Copper Cladded Stacked TEC 12715 (Chamber @ 3A) and TEC 12726 (Heat sink @ 6A)