Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Coolant Plumbing

Refrigerate more efficiently in apartment buildings
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OK, I've had a bit to drink and my ideas always get fishbones anyway, but I am going to suggest this anyway. The idea is to have a central cooling system for apartment buildings enough people. The freezers, refrigerators and air conditioning would all be supplied by one central compressor/condenser system, and possibly by one evaporator. If one evaporator were used, slurry ice (sort of a very liquid slushy) or glycol coolant would run through insulated pipes in the appartment building. Otherwise coolant could be liquified and run through pipes, then freezers with just an evaporator could be plugged in like gas barbeques plugged in to natural gas pipes. The advantage would be that because a large amount of cooling would be performed it could be done more efficiently. Large systems benefit from the economies of scale. Large brewerys liquify ammonia centrally and pump it to each tank to be evaporated for this reason.
brewer, May 27 2004

They think bigger http://www.axiref.c...te__climespace.html
[kbecker, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

[link]






       I like it. Glycol will get you there. 40% has a freezing temperature of -12F, and you only need to get down to about 0F for residential freezers.
Worldgineer, May 27 2004
  

       Could this be adapted to a household scale? We have two refrigerators, one freezer, and an air conditioner--all those appliances can be pretty noisy. Although they seem to be much more efficient than older models, it seems you could have larger useable interior spaces while using less energy.
Salted Nuts, May 27 2004
  

       All industry should spring from a desire for efficiency.
dpsyplc, May 27 2004
  

       You should drink more often. +
bristolz, May 27 2004
  

       If you want to transport "cold" over any significant distance you should consider an absorber system as the breweries do. Once Ammonia and water are separated in a central boiler they are transported separately, but at room temperature to the destination. At the destination the Ammonia is dissolved in the water for cooling. The mix is sent beack to the boiler. The system is alreday used in refrigerators (the models running on Propane).   

       Your idea may be unbaked so far, but someone has already thought about whole cities (link).
kbecker, May 27 2004
  

       On the larger scale; in at least one city that I know of, a huge refrigeration system freezes a large volume of liquid at night when it's cooler and electric rates are cheaper. This is done for a professional sports venue. As part of the deal with the city, this system has excess capacity that is used to chill water that is piped to municipal buildings in the vicinity and run through heat exchangers for cooling the buildings.   

       In your model, I guess the refrigerators could be built as a permanent fixture rather than the traditional movable module. (Fixed in place at least, like steam radiator systems in some buildings)
Gromit, May 27 2004
  

       As a techy nerd geek I like the possibility of tapping in to this system to keep my PC cool too.   

       The heat recovered by the system could also be used to power another of the building's systems, e.g. the hot water.
WYBloke, May 28 2004
  

       My highschool English teacher always said that no one will read anything you write unless you catch their attention with the first sentence... Needless to say, I read the entire post. (+)
luecke, May 28 2004
  

       Based on the comments so far, I'd like to propose the following modifications:   

       1: ease of retrofit:
... Build apartment complexes with a cooling loop for plain water. It should have large flow volume so that the last person in the loop isn't too badly affected by the heat from everyone else in the loop. Alternatively, a two-loop system could be built with a cold feed line and a warm return line.
... Sell refrigerators that have their own cooling system, but simply dump the waste heat into this cooling loop. Dumping heat to cold water is much more efficient than dumping heat to warm air.
... This could be done via a small pump that draws water off the building cooling loop, runs it through the 'fridge, and returns it to the cooling loop.
  

       2: main loop supply failure
... In the event of a cooling water supply failure, a secondary heat exchanger , after the in-water loop, would take over. Coolant would run through this loop during normal operation, but since it's already cooled by the water system, it does nothing. If the water system fails, this loop keeps the 'fridge cold enough to keep everything fresh.
  

       The "cool it when it's cheap" approach would work well here, as the building refrigeration system could work off the stored "cold sink" during the day, and re-chill it at night.   

       have a croissant. Fresh from the freezer. Sorry, you'll have to thaw it first.
Freefall, May 28 2004
  

       an ice cold croissant for you. charming..(+).
neilp, May 28 2004
  
      
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