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Fridge Cools With Fire (For Real)

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 ]







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  • Walt

    Just a correction, home refrigerators don't use liquid ammonia, which is hazardous if it leaks. They use refrigerants such as freon or R12. Ammonia refrigeration is used in commercial settings, and was used to create large blocks of ice for use with the “icebox” found in homes before home refrigeration was feasible. These ammonia refrigerators work, but must be used with special care to prevent leaks.

  • Chip

    Using a flame to power a refrigerator is nothing new. RV's, boats, and travel trailers have used refrigerators powered by a propane flame for 40+ years. This is just a new take on an old idea…

  • Chip

    Using a flame to power a refrigerator is nothing new. RV's, boats, and travel trailers have used refrigerators powered by a propane flame for 40+ years. This is just a new take on an old idea…

  • Uncle B

    Now, instead of using fire, use solar energy! Use collected solar energy from a battery source, or direct, mirrored solar energy, or direct, magnifying glass concentrated solar energy, or even Wind charged or wave charged batteries! Now place the fridge underground in cooler soil leftover from night time cool off, and super insulate the cooling chamber! Do we have a free and Perpetual source of refrigeration Yet? Certainly not by American housewives standards, but the (GRD) great republican depression is in the process of kicking this environmentally unsound royalty off their thrones! In the mean time, we of the third world will survive well with any refrigeration possible and I am certain that an Asian household would not turn their noses up at this chance!

  • Uncle B

    Now, instead of using fire, use solar energy! Use collected solar energy from a battery source, or direct, mirrored solar energy, or direct, magnifying glass concentrated solar energy, or even Wind charged or wave charged batteries! Now place the fridge underground in cooler soil leftover from night time cool off, and super insulate the cooling chamber! Do we have a free and Perpetual source of refrigeration Yet? Certainly not by American housewives standards, but the (GRD) great republican depression is in the process of kicking this environmentally unsound royalty off their thrones! In the mean time, we of the third world will survive well with any refrigeration possible and I am certain that an Asian household would not turn their noses up at this chance!

  • http://www.jrconsumer.com/ Fifth Wheels

    this is another great invention…

  • http://www.jrconsumer.com/ Fifth Wheels

    this is another great invention…