By Evan Ackerman
Refrigeration is very important, and not just to keep your yogurt from developing sentience. It’s vital for medication and food preservation and lemonade. Most of the world, though, doesn’t have easy access to those little holes in the wall that most modern refrigerators demand, so some very clever people have developed a cooling system that works by heating stuff up, no electricity necessary. Yes, that’s right: to get this refrigerator to work, you light it on fire.
The basic principle of making things cold is that a sub-zero liquid, like ammonia, is able to act as a refrigerant by sucking up heat as it boils off into a gas. The tricky part is getting ammonia into liquid form in the first place. The refrigerator you have in your kitchen does this with electricity, by pressurizing the ammonia with a compressor. An absorption refrigerator, on the other hand, uses any source of heat: a mixture of gaseous ammonia and water is boiled, and the ammonia evaporates off. When it cools down, it turns into a pressurized liquid, ready for cooling. Chill your beer, reflame, and repeat.
The designers envision an eight pound device about the size of a thermos (they’ve got working prototypes) that you put over a fire for half an hour, let cool for an hour, and then stick in a 3 gallon insulated container which it will cool down to 3 degrees above freezing for 24 hours even if it’s 90 degrees outside. In high volumes, they’ll cost about $25 each to make, in low volumes, about $40.
Video explanation from the inventor, after the jump.
VIA [ CrunchGear ]