Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Geothermal ice cream

Cool condensers with geothermal loop
  [vote for,

Ice cream stores use a lot of refrigeration -- typically using compression based heat pumps, and air cooling of the condensors. Why not replace the air cooled condensors with geothermal cooled condensors?

After all, there are numerous homes which use geothermal heat pumps for heating and cooling, so why not stores which depend on cooling?

(This would also apply to supermarkets, with their numerous cold and frozen food cases... but in the case of ice cream shops, energy is a much larger fraction of the cost of the product)

goldbb, Mar 29 2009


       [+] but that would be one hella big tank/pipe: I calculated once that to provide year-round cooling for the house/fridge would require a tank half the size of the basement or thereabouts: cooled in the winter and used year-round.
FlyingToaster, Mar 29 2009

       Maybe I'm misunderstanding how geothermal works.   

       You bury a big long loop of tubing in the ground, run antifreeze or refrigerant through it, and no matter what temperature the fluid is when you pump it into the loop, it comes out of the loop at approximately 50F-60F.   

       So the freezer for the ice cream would still function just as before, using a reverse rankine cycle, but rather than using an outdoor, roof mounted, air cooled condensor, it uses the buried loop.   

       Of course, this is just the simplest way to use geothermal to cool the ice cream, since it only moves heat into the ground, not out.   

       The system can be made even more efficient if we *keep* that roof-moounted condensor, and use it as our heatsink in winter to refrigerate the ground -- perhaps this is what you're thinking of doing, FlyingToaster?   

       You don't need a basement sized volume of refrigerant/antifreeze ... you only need the tubing to loop around/through a basement sized volume of dirt and rock.   

       I'll add, you don't *need* to refrigerate the earth in winter -- even though the system will be less efficient without it, it will still be more efficient (in summer) than using just an air cooled condensor.
goldbb, Mar 30 2009


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