University of Vermont

UVM GIV Engineering Students Create Passive Freezer

Release Date: 10-27-2010

Author: Dawn Densmore

Students work on Eco-Freezer "Not NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) but WIMBY (What’s in my backyard,)" says Tom Tailer, UVM '85 alumni and Co-Director of the UVM/GIV Engineering Institute. Tom and his wife, Beth, also a Co-Director of the Institute, began the Eco-Freeze project in their backyard in Essex, VT with high school students enrolled in the Governor's Institutes of Vermont's Engineering Institute. Students and others worked to fill the 3000 soda bottles with a mixture of salt and water. Styrofoam will be used to insulate the bottles.

This first of its kind, Eco-Freezer measures 16' x 30' and contains three rooms: the freezer (23°F), the cooler (-40°F), and the air-lock. Once completed, the building will be entirely off the grid and will keep food frozen using no external energy sources. Their goal was to use recycled materials that can be found anywhere on the planet.

Calculations and mathematical modeling were used to determine Thermal Resistance and Heat Flow. In the winter, hatches in the ceiling will allow heat to escape, theoretically freezing the bottles with just four days of 15°F weather. The frozen water bottles will keep the chamber at about 23°F degrees all year long.

Their dream is to see thousands of passive freezers across the country and around the world.

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