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Fuels and Alternative Fuels

Using ice for air conditioning


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  #1  
Old 09-15-2009, 06:53:49 PM
Salty9 Salty9 is offline
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Default Using ice for air conditioning

Freeman Dyson in his book "Infinite in All Directions" describes being involved in a Princeton project freezing water during the winter, covering it with plastic and straw, and cooling a building the following summer with cold water.

It's not practical where I live but it is elegant and the water could be used for irrigation.
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Old 09-15-2009, 07:40:37 PM
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

You wonder why more of this is not done. Since mother nature provides the ice and the water free (at least they do not tax it yet)
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Old 09-15-2009, 08:19:17 PM
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

I wonder what would be the head pressure on a system like that?
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Old 09-15-2009, 09:02:33 PM
pegasuspinto pegasuspinto is offline
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

I'll make it short and sweet. If it was cheaper to store ice, then to freeze it, then we would still store it. You don't have to look too far in most towns to find an old ice house. There is immense labor in harvesting, moving, and storing ice. Ice is heavy and bulky. Ice stores very poorly. And when you get down to it, it takes a LOT of ice to keep even a small area cool.

Robert
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Old 09-16-2009, 08:32:56 AM
C-Wade7 C-Wade7 is offline
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

The ice would last great as long as the bulding is sealed, but as soon as you forced air across it it would seem to me that it would mely very fast. But what do I know about ice, 3" of snow here is a blizzard
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Old 09-17-2009, 09:03:16 PM
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

The Villa Louis http://villalouis.wisconsinhistory.o...lla/Front.aspx at Praire du Chien (where I will be early next week) used such a system.......

A large, underground, ice storage room is connected to the house by a large tunnel. I don't recall how they moved the air......simple convection maybe.
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Old 09-17-2009, 09:16:38 PM
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

Quote:
A large, underground, ice storage room was connected to the house by a large tunnel. I don't recall how they moved the air......simple convection maybe.
Craig,

I have seen it similar to few Amish neighbors. The cemented underground 5 by 5 feet tunnel. Length is 75 feet long from house. Has open outdoor ventilation on end. They told me it is air conditioning.
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Old 09-18-2009, 12:16:05 AM
KEB KEB is offline
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

The sheer quantity of ice required to provide cooling equivalent to a modern air conditioner makes using ice for space cooling prohibitive. A typical residential air conditioner is rated around three tons. A ton of air conditioning corresponds to removing 12,000 BTU of energy per hour, which is the same amount of energy required to melt 1/24th of a ton of ice.

In order to provide cooling equivalent to a 3 ton residental air conditioner running 12 hour per day, you would have to melt 1-1/2 tons of ice per day. For a three month cooling season, this would amount to something like 135 tons of ice. Where would a typical residental house store 135 tons (roughly 33,000 gallons) of ice?

Keith
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Old 09-18-2009, 12:31:43 PM
Salty9 Salty9 is offline
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

A swimming pool perhaps?
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Old 09-18-2009, 04:45:31 PM
JHFoster JHFoster is offline
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

33,000 gal is about 5200 cu ft. A room 10'x10'x52' would do it!
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Old 09-26-2009, 11:49:34 AM
Ironsides Ironsides is offline
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

Let me guess,that room would then be called "the cool room",Norm
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Old 03-11-2012, 05:50:47 PM
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

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Originally Posted by KEB View Post
The sheer quantity of ice required to provide cooling equivalent to a modern air conditioner makes using ice for space cooling prohibitive. A typical residential air conditioner is rated around three tons. A ton of air conditioning corresponds to removing 12,000 BTU of energy per hour, which is the same amount of energy required to melt 1/24th of a ton of ice.

In order to provide cooling equivalent to a 3 ton residental air conditioner running 12 hour per day, you would have to melt 1-1/2 tons of ice per day. For a three month cooling season, this would amount to something like 135 tons of ice. Where would a typical residental house store 135 tons (roughly 33,000 gallons) of ice?

Keith
I realize this thread is a couple years old, but since I just found it.... I have to ask a question or two, and throw out a few comments and a suggestion or two to stir things up again.

To begin with:

Excuse me if this sounds like a dumb question, but WHY would you have to MELT 1 1/2 tons of ice per day to use it to cool your house. I fail to see how melting the ice has anything to do with a 3 ton air conditioner making cold air.

If I had 1 1/2 tons of ice in my house Preferably in the basement & not in the living room, I would expect the house to be at 32 degrees (just like my freezer assuming it is insulated enough) until I opened all the doors & windows bringing in warmer air to eventually melt the ice at which point it would still be around 32-34 degrees with 1 1/2 tons of COLD water for cooling if I shut all the doors and windows again.

The systems described by Craig and greysteam are simply cooling the air by passing it over the huge blocks of ice instead of using a refrigerant compressor and heat exchanger to cool the air. If you were trying to cool a factory with lots of machines running generating heat, and had all the doors and windows wide open and maybe the roof vents open to let the hot air out while at the same time drawing even more (slightly cooler) hot air from outside over the ice, then the ice would melt a lot faster, but for cooling a small house with the doors & windows kept shut except when going in or out, one of those tunnel systems would probably work quite nicely.

The big ice houses from 100+ years ago used to supply ice for peoples refrigerator ice boxes and could store the ice all summer long. Yes it was a lot of work to cut out the huge blocks from a frozen lake and transport it and store it and cut it into smaller blocks for home delivery and that was all phased out when the modern refrigerators came about, but the systems described above could use a frozen lake or pool or a manmade cave that could be frozen during the winter, then covered with an insulating blanket to preserve it till summer and then start reaping the benefits without cutting and transporting it. It would be more effective than just putting a fan at the top of the basement steps to blow the slightly cooler basement air up into the main living quarters even if the ice did melt and you ended up with a pool of cold water.

If you have a loader tractor or fork lift to easily move the blocks of ice, you could put a bunch of old bathtubs full of water out and let them freeze, haul them into the insulated storage building without having to cut the blocks and when it eventually does melt you still have a bunch of tubs of cold water for cooling. Not something that the city guys can do very easily, but if you have the land and room to do it, it should work.
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Old 03-11-2012, 06:09:36 PM
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

We had a large basement in our last northern home with 12" cement blocks and finished inside with 2" sheet styrofoam, plastic sheeting and paneling. We never need air conditioning and the furnished basement made a great place to hang out on those sultry summer days.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:16:08 PM
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

There isnt much ice harvesting going on this yr. Bob
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:30:12 PM
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

As I was taught back in highschool, Otto, that cold is the absence of heat. Set a block of ice out in warm air and it melts, right? What it's doing is soaking up the heat! It's removing the heat from the adjacent area of the ice block. Refrigeration systems do the same thing. The air passes over a set of coils and warms them, which transfers the heat to the refrigerant contained therein which is pumped through another set of coils. The heat contained in the refrigerant is, then, transferred to the materials of the coils with a fan blowing over them, pushing the warmed air away. That's why you feel hot air coming out of the back of your fridge or freezer.

Short and sweet; the heat absorbed into your block of ice causes the temperature of the ice to rise above freezing and become liquid. I don't even wanna think about how much ice you'd have to store in your house to hold it to 34 degrees.
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Old 03-12-2012, 12:15:56 AM
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

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Originally Posted by MoRo View Post
...Short and sweet; the heat absorbed into your block of ice causes the temperature of the ice to rise above freezing and become liquid. I don't even wanna think about how much ice you'd have to store in your house to hold it to 34 degrees.
True.... But I don't want to maintain the house at 34 degrees and if it is well insulated and the doors & windows kept shut most of the time you would be drawing less air accross those blocks of ice making them last longer and maybe blowing some 50-60 degree partially cooled air into the house to keep it at 70 degrees. Those blocks of ice will still be at 32 degrees until they melt, and even when melted the water will still be Near freezing for a while until it gradually warms up. Even 40 degree and 50 degree and 60 degree water would still have a cooling effect, just like a 60 degree basement does when you blow the cooler air upstairs.
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Old 03-12-2012, 08:17:56 AM
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

I don't see ice as the answer. Lots of energy involved and as has been said the quantity of ice would be crazy. I was watching a building renovation show a while back and they were putting an underground system in. Involved a large quantity of pipe buried 6 or 8 feet down. I assume they circulated water through it and were cooling the house on the basis the ground temperature rose much more slowly than air temprature in summer. I think it was an english show. Anybody know anything about this type of system?
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Old 03-12-2012, 04:22:05 PM
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

pjjms-

You are referring to a ground source or geothermal heat pump. Very efficient way to cool a house. Basically the heat from the A/C is pumped through the ground loop (water is generally the working fluid). The earth, being generally 45-55 degrees F all year (below a certain depth) absorbs heat much more easily than the condenser on a window A/C unit, because air is a poor conductor of heat, as well as it is hard to reject heat from the a/c into the already hot outside air.
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Old 03-12-2012, 07:30:16 PM
Bob Willman Bob Willman is offline
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

The Wood County Historical Society still has the ice house on site of the Wood County Museum. The museum property was originally a working farm for indigent citizens and the mentally challenged. The residents worked the farm and raised livestock to feed the residents. There are 2 ice ponds near the ice house where meat was stored during the summer. The ice was placed in the upper part of the ice house. The double walls are insulated between with straw. The building still is cool in the summer time.

www.woodcountyhistory.org

Bob
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Old 03-13-2012, 12:37:45 AM
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Default Re: Using ice for air conditioning

Quote:
Originally Posted by OTTO-Sawyer View Post
I realize this thread is a couple years old, but since I just found it.... I have to ask a question or two, and throw out a few comments and a suggestion or two to stir things up again.

To begin with:

Excuse me if this sounds like a dumb question, but WHY would you have to MELT 1 1/2 tons of ice per day to use it to cool your house. I fail to see how melting the ice has anything to do with a 3 ton air conditioner making cold air.
.
Elementary thermodynamics. In order to cool your house, whether it's with ice or with an air conditioner, you have to remove energy in the form of heat from the house fast enough to offset heat gained from the warmer outside air passing through walls, windows, etc. Obviously, if your house was perfectly insulated, there would be no heat transfer from the warmer outside to the cooler inside, and you would only need enough cooling to offset the heat generated by the occupants and their activities. In reality, there is no such thing as perfect insulation, and even a very well constructed house will pass some amount of heat through the walls - inside to outside when its cold outside, outside to inside when its hot outside.

The only basic difference between cooling your house with an air conditioner and cooling it with ice is what happens to the heat that is removed from the interior of the house. With an air conditioner, the heat taken out of the cold air blowing out of the air conditioner is added to the outside air passing through the condenser coils, which is why the air coming out of the compressor/condenser unit is hotter than the surrounding air.

In the case of cooling with ice, the energy taken out of the house is absorbed in the ice, either raising its temperature or melting it. In english units, the amount of energy necessary to raise the the temperature of one pound of ice or water by one degree f is one british thermal unit (BTU). If you were to raise the temperature of 3000 lbs of ice (or cold water) by 1 degree, you would remove 3000 BTU's of heat from the house, or about the amount of heat that running a typical residential air condition for 15 minutes would remove from the house.

However, there's a phenomenon called "latent heat of fusion", which is the energy required to change a solid to a liquid, or vice versa. For water, the latent heat of fusion is 144 BTU per pound...in other words, melting one pound of ice will absorb 144 BTU without changing the temperature at all, as compared to the 1 BTU required to raise the temperature of water by 1 degree. In order to make ice, you have to remove 144 BTU per pound to change water from a liquid to a solid, without changing the temperature of the water at all.

In this case, melting 3000 lbs of ice would remove 432,000 BTU of heat from the house, or about the amount of heat that a typical 3 ton residential air conditioner would remove by running continuously for 12 hours.

As you can see, melting the ice removes significantly more heat than letting the ice simply warm up. In fact, the unit "tons" of air conditioning actually comes from the days when ice was used to cool rooms and buildings...a one-ton air conditioner running continuously will remove the same amount of heat in 24 hours as is required to melt one ton of ice.

Yes, you can cool your house with ice...the problem is simply the amount of ice required and how to store it.

Keep in mind the idea of conservation of energy. I can move heat around, or I can convert other forms of energy into heat (and vice versa) but I can't destroy energy. Heat energy will move from a warmer area to a cooler area all by itself. In the case of a cool basement, the basement is cool because heat is moving from the warmer interior air to the cooler ground surrounding the basement. Because the earth has so much more mass than the air in your basement, the heat moving from the warmer basement air through the walls into the earth has a negligible effect on the temperature of the surrounding earth.

Keith

---------- Post added at 10:37 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:27 PM ----------

Quote:
Originally Posted by KEB View Post
Yes, you can cool your house with ice...the problem is simply the amount of ice required and how to store it.
Keith
Oops, forgot to add that you wouldn't want to try to cool a house by simply blowing air across ice, even though that that was the original approach. Blowing air across ice will result in cool humid air, making the house feel dank and clammy.

How comfortable we feel is a function of both the temperature and the relative humidity. Conventional air conditioning removes moisture from the air as well as cooling the air, and we feel more comfortable with the drier air. Cooling with ice would require some sort of an air to water/ice heat exchanger in order to keep the relative humidity down, and you'd use some small portion of the cooling energy condensing moisture out of the cooled air.

Keith
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