Fall 2020: 3 Credit Hour ME 49700 Independent Project Opportunity


Cold Storage Battery for Domestic Refrigeration


The project is sponsored by Engineers Without Borders USA (EWB-USA) as part of the chill challenge ( to provide affordable, off-grid refrigeration. This research will evaluate the use of heat from clay or brick cookstoves to drive an intermittent sorption cold storage battery, which requires no electricity to operate. The device is referred to as a cold storage battery because the generated refrigerant does not need to be immediately discharged, but can instead be stored and expanded later to provide cooling on demand. The design for the cold storage battery was inspired by the Crosley icy ball, which is a device that was popular in the Depression era USA and used fairly primitive technology to create a refrigerated unit. In charging mode, a heat source is used to generate refrigerant, which is condensed and stored for use during discharging. In discharging mode, the refrigerant is expanded to create cooling on demand. The cold storage battery is designed to be used alongside existing wood-fired cookstoves, although other fuel sources could be used, including solar thermal energy. The specific working pair for the sorption refrigerator will be identified as a part of this research project. A simulation model will be built to evaluate the system performance and help the components selection for future experimental design. A scaled laboratory cold storage battery as well as a prototype by combining insights from test-stand results and field-research will be built and evaluated.

Main tasks to be performed:

Work as a member of the team with graduate students and professors to

  • Learn and understand the working principle of sorption cooling technology
  • Assistance in building the simulation model and performing parametric studies
  • Components selection and system design using 3D model software
  • Help building and carry out performance testing on the system

* The tasks will be flexible based on the interests of the students and workload.

Contact info:

Principal Investigator:

Graduate Students:

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