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Free Cooling of food or rooms in hot climates

Home Add-On for cooling food, maybe even a room, without electricity or fuel, in hot climates.

CatCat
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The cooling enclosure is a non-rusting box added to some existing structures or when a super-adobe or other home is being built in hot climates.
Imagine a window that instead of opening to the outside opens inside this stainless steel box that is the inside of the fridge.
The box sticks out of the structure like a cube glued to the house. A door separates the room from the box.
The box is covered in a shaggy material that soaks water but allows it to evaporate.
Outside of this shaggy material is another enclosure that completely covers the box and:
- has holes at the bottom to allow air to go in
- has reflective cover to stay cool in the sun
- has a vertical dark tube at the top to heat-up air and create an updraft. Like a flue without burning fuel.
Inside the house, above the box door, a smaller opening allows water to be poured on the shaggy cover of the box.
The updraft created by heating air in the dark tube speeds up evaporation therefore cooling the box.

This cooling box is for hot, mostly sunny places that are not very humid.  High humidity would reduce the effectiveness of evaporative cooling, although air movement might help to some extent.

Windcatcher elements/configuration could improve air movement when needed.

The box needs to be made of stainless steel, aluminum or other metal/alloy that doesn't rust easily, because it should be metal to conduct heat well and we want it to last.

A cheaper version could be made of galvanized steel or using some form of galvanic corrosion protection.

If cooling the room instead of the contents of the box is desired then the box door can be left open or removed and a small fan could be added.  The fan could be powered with a Peltier module, exploiting the temperature differential we generated. Or just let the air flow in.

  • How far can we go?

    Cat07/04/2020 at 01:11 0 comments

    The main reason for this project at this time is to gage interest.

    I may be wrong and maybe there is no interest in which case I will go no further.

    If I see enough interest I feel this project is definitely something we can make and if it makes life better for some people it's worth doing.

    Let me know.

  • Why cooling.

    Cat07/04/2020 at 01:07 0 comments

    This project was started to entry the 2020 Hackaday prize contest.

    Strangely enough they ask for heating but I always thought cooling is harder and sometimes can be more useful.

    Even living in a rather cold place, summers are hot and food perishes quickly unless stored in a fridge.

    While the cooling box I propose may not be as good as a real fridge it should help keep food safe longer or make the home interior more bearable.

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Discussions

Peabody1929 wrote 07/08/2020 at 18:59 point

This design is known as a "Swamp Cooler".  It cools by evaporating water.  It might be interesting to calculate the efficiency of the cooling loop.  Putting the device inside your house with the door open will do nothing.  All the heat extracted from the water is put back into the environment.  The device must be outside with a piece of duct work from the chamber to the inside of the house.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Cat wrote 07/08/2020 at 20:49 point

There are similarities but I think swamp coolers use fans; mine doesn't.

Also, mine is NOT in the house. The door is BETWEEN the house and an enclosure attached to the house which is a fridge if the door is closed and a room cooler if open.

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Cat wrote 07/08/2020 at 05:17 point

Adding a Wind-Catcher configuration would also help as an additional/alternative air-mover when the sun is weak or at night, if any wind is available. 

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Cat wrote 07/05/2020 at 01:22 point

It was my brother that first told me about using a "black tube" to move air in sunny locations a few years ago. I don't remember exactly what I was looking for but sun is strong around here when it shines.

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Cat wrote 07/04/2020 at 23:58 point

Thank you John. I think it's easy energy in sunny places, waiting to be used.

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John Opsahl wrote 07/04/2020 at 23:39 point

I explored this concept a while back for a no electricity plant watering concept. The common name for these are "thermal chimney" or "solar chimney". I think there are very good opportunities for heating and potentially cooling small structures using thermal chimneys. I am excited to see how this project develops.

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