Amnah M Altaher, Bipin Karki, Matthew O Worsham



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The unreliable electrical supply to medical clinics in remote areas of India makes it difficult to safely store vaccines and other medications. The ETHOS (Engineers in Technical Humanitarian Opportunities of Service-learning) program at the University of Dayton, in conjunction with the SAAP (Solar Alternatives and Associated Programmes) group in Bihar India, are developing a novel solar-thermal adsorptive refrigeration system for use at these clinics that does not require electricity and uses safe, environmentally friendly, and widely available materials as the refrigerant and adsorbent. This refrigeration system uses ethanol as a refrigerant and activated carbon as the adsorbent, and can achieve refrigeration temperatures as low as 2.2°C. The team conducted a screening experiment using a two to the third factorial design with two randomized blocks to identify significant effects on the refrigerator’s performance. The control variables in the device were ethanol volume, activated carbon mass, carbon bed orientation, and number of carbon beds. The experiment indicated that the specific uptake gram of ethanol per gram of activated carbon decreases with the amount of activated carbon. Experimental results suggested that diffusion into the carbon bed is a limiting factor during the adsorption step. The working of bench scale STAR system on full cycle operation (adsorption-desorption) was also analyzed. The performance on multiple cycles showed minimum refrigeration temperature, amount of ethanol desorbed, and variation of refrigeration temperature on each cycle. The amount of ethanol desorbed after desorption cycle was comparatively less due to orientation of system. Future research will be focused on orientation of system and further characterize the ratio of adsorption (ethanol - activated carbon) pair to be used.

Publication Date


Project Designation

Independent Research - Graduate

Primary Advisor

Jun-Ki Choi, Amy R. Ciric

Primary Advisor's Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Stander Symposium project

Significant Effects on the Performance of a Proof-of-Concept STAR Device