Solar Thermal Ice Maker

Abstract PDF: 

SAVSU technologies is a specialist in the Cold Chain preservation of temperature sensitive biopharmaceuticals. Our task was to use the power of the sun to create 5 kgs of ice without the use of electricity. The ice will be placed in the “NanoQ” storage system that would preserve the vaccines for up to 10 days longer. It will be used in third world countries that have no current system of preserving their medication.

The solution was to use activated carbon and methanol to pull the heat from the water to freeze it into ice. The entire system is held constant in a vacuum like state which lowers the evaporation point and improves flow of methanol. During the day, methanol begins its cycle in the solar collector and the sun “bakes” it out. It goes through the system and condenses as a liquid and sits in the evaporator, or a container at the bottom that is surrounded by water. At night, the collector is cooled due to the heat rejection that occurs and the low vacuum pressure of the system, the methanol boils. This phase change of methanol causes the evaporator to cool absorbing the heat from the surrounding water and turning the water to ice. The methanol flows back into the collector to start the cycle over again for the next day.

Over the course of the semester, the team worked through the product development process on establishing three subsystems that composed the full scale prototype. The design of both the prototype and subsystems were based on both theoretical modeling and prior groups’ developments. Through testing the full sized prototype and subsystems, we were able to gain valuable knowledge as to how the system performs properly. The main factors for success are methanol evaporation temperature, pressure and maintaining a vacuum pressure under 10 kPa. SAVSU technologies will receive a detailed thermal analysis of the entire process and a functioning prototype that maintains a vacuum as well as the data from our various tests. The functioning prototype will be used for further develop the technology to produce 5 kg of ice. SAVSU as well will receive our current suggestions on how to improve the manufacturability of the solar ice maker as well as what to focus on for the future production of ice and the system.

School Year (term): 
Savsu Technologies
Team Name: 
Solar Ice
Brady Woolford
Team Members: 
Samuel Cockriel, Derek Thompson, Xan Cranney, Tyler Moss, Nichole Clark

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