Fridge0 is a design for an offgrid, solar powered fridge, with no battery bank. Using an inexpensive chest freezer with a few modifications, the fridge retains cold overnight and through rainy periods.
Fridge0 consists of a standard chest freezer, an added thermal mass, an inverter, and computer control. It ties into the typical offfgrid system of a solar charge controller, battery bank, and photovoltaic panels to maintain a safe temperature range.
The battery bank is a large part of the cost of a typical offgrid fridge installation. It needs to be sized to run the fridge overnight, as well as for several days of poor weather. Cheaper batteries only last 3-5 years, and longer lasting batteries are correspondingly expensive; either way a battery bank for an offgrid fridge is extremely expensive over the lifetime of the friddge.
By storing solar power in the form of cold, fridge0 avoids the battery bank expense and environmental footprint. The only battery power fridge0 needs is enough to turn it off cleanly when the solar panels stop producing -- a few minutes of power instead of days -- and a small amount for its computer control.
There are offgrid fridges produced by several manufacturers, which are designed for 12v solar power, but these still may need a battery bank, and are much more expensive than conventional equipment due to being very well insulated using features like vacuum bottles. These offgrid fridges were designed when solar panels were much more expensive than they are today.
With modern cheap and efficient solar panels, commercial offgrid fridges make less sense than they used to. A kilowatt of solar panels provides enough power to run a conventional fridge on even most cloudy days, and costs less than a commercial offgrid fridge.
2018/08/18: Energy Vault’s plant can operate for 30 years with little maintenance and almost no fade in capacity. Its concrete blocks also use waste materials. So Piconi is confident that there’s still a niche that Energy Vault can fill: Places that have abundant access to land and building material, combined with the desire to have storage technologies that last for decades without fading in capacity.
Meanwhile, whether or not Energy Vault succeeds, it does make a strong case for the argument that, while everyone else is out looking for high-tech, futuristic battery innovation, there may be real value in thinking about how to apply low-tech solutions to 21st-century problems. Energy Vault built a functional test plant in just nine months, spending relative pennies. It’s a signal of sorts that some of the answers to our energy-storage problems may still be sitting hidden in plain sight.
2012/08/16: Eliodomestico, an open-source variation on a solar still.
It functions by filling the black boiler with salty sea water in the morning, then tightening the cap. As the temperature and pressure grows, steam is forced downwards through a connection pipe and collects in the lid, which acts as a condenser, turning the steam into fresh water. Once Diamanti established the fundamentals were sound, he experimented with a series of concepts for the aesthetic of the object. “My goal was to design something friendly and recognizable for the users,” he explains. “The process developed quite naturally to determine the current shape; every detail is there for a reason, so the form, as well as production techniques, represent a compromise between technical and traditional.” Primary field studies in sub-Saharan Africa revealed the habit of carrying goods on the head–also a common practice in other areas around the world–and this was integrated into Eliodomestico’s plan. And while solar stills aren’t a totally new concept, Diamanti says it’s rare to find them in a domestic context rather than in missions or hospitals
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part of an international project to use RepRap 3-D printing to make OSAT for sustainable development
Digital fabrication is praised as the future of manufacturing. Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) machine tools can convert a digital design into an object with the click of a mouse, which means the production process is completely automated. The use of digital machine tools has spread rapidly in factories over the last two decades, and they have now become cheap and user-friendly enough to bring them within reach of workshops and makers. While CNC machines have been embraced by many, including some environmentalists who say the technology can be more sustainable, it's important to consider the very high energy use of digital machine tools. Compared to the earlier generation of human-controlled machine tools, CNC machines use much more power, and the...
After your laundry has been pressed and folded for you. After you've been driven to and fro in black cars, and flown in black jets. After you shopped online for weekends on end.