Clayton Douglas Rosso, Quinn T. Whisler


Presentation: 10:45-12:00, Kennedy Union Ballroom



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The Solar Thermal Absorption Refrigerator (STAR) uses no electricity to cool refrigerated items including vaccines and perishable food to be used in remote areas with unreliable electricity. This process exploits adsorptive refrigeration using ethanol and activated carbon. Evaporative cooling of ethanol under vacuum takes heat away from the refrigerated objects turning the liquid ethanol into vapor. The ethanol gas absorbs onto activated carbon. During the desorption process, heating the activated carbon evaporates the ethanol which condenses to start the cycle over again. The system runs adsorption and desorption to create a refrigeration cycle. After sitting dormant for multiple years, the STAR apparatus was repaired and tested to determine whether or not the working pair of ethanol and activated carbon is viable. The first part of the cycle, adsorption, was evaluated for the amount of ethanol evaporated and the lowest working temperature. Tests running desorption were conducted to determine the amount of ethanol returned. The group tested multiple treatment procedures to remove possible contaminants on the activated carbon. SEM imaging and SDT testing were performed on the activated carbon to determine the concentrations of contaminants and how they affect heating and cooling of the carbon.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Course Project - EGR 398 01

Primary Advisor

Li Cao, Amy R. Ciric, Jinchen Han, Scott J. Schneider

Primary Advisor's Department

Chemical and Materials Engineering


Stander Symposium, School of Engineering

Institutional Learning Goals

Practical Wisdom; Scholarship

Solar Thermal Adsorption Refrigerator