A team of students in the Innovation And Entrepreneurship Development Centre (IEDC) of RMK Engineering College in India has developed a prototype photovoltaic driven refrigerator and warmer system that could potentially replace appliances that use refrigerants and other liquids for operation. According to an article in the Deccan Chronicle, students Surith Nivas M, Sai Prasad S and Ram Kumar P.H. designed a system powered from solar panels using a battery bank for electrical storage. In an adaptation of thermoelectric refrigeration, the system does not require a compressor, expansion valves, absorbers, condensers or solution pumps. It also does not require working fluids or any moving parts, making it friendly to the environment and resulting in increased reliability. The device uses electrons rather than refrigerants as a heat carrier.
Thermoelectric systems are defined as solid-state devices that either convert heat directly into electricity, or transform electric power into thermal power for heating or cooling.
The system’s primary application will be to bring refrigeration to rural communities, especially in India, where sunlight is plentiful and refrigeration products rare. However, the potential for replacing Freon and similar liquid-based devices could revolutionize the industry.
The team’s findings are reported in a paper posted on the International Journal of Advancements in Research & Technology web site.