As part of the Cal Poly Humboldt Parras Summer Program, we were given the chance to plan and construct an appropriate technology project of our choosing. As the result of a brainstorm in the beginning of the program, we decided that a solar powered refrigeration system would be well suited for the area. Our overall challenge being that it would not utilize electricity as its energy source.

The possibility of having a refrigeration system "off-grid" is a huge advantage in Northern Mexico (as well as other parts of the world). There are many circumstances where people do not have access to electricity or gas to power a refrigeration system. For this reason people are not able to store food as they would if they had electricity. Another challenge for all of Mexico's residents is that electricity is relatively expensive. There is the possibility that this project will create a system that is actually more affordable than standard refrigeration.[1]

Project Criteria[edit | edit source]

Here is a table of criteria that, in our minds, define an appropriate technology for the construction of the refrigerator. When we come across a problem or an issue we can look to the table to help us remember what our criteria were in the first place. Not everything is black and white and for this reason sometimes it is easier to look to our model for what the most appropriate answer is for the situation.

Weight (0-10 highest) Value
Buy back time (economically viable) 9
Environmental Impact 9
Safety (for the consumer) 8
Cost (of construction and of final product) 7
Efficiency 7
Simplicity of use 7
Functionality 6
Utilizes local materials 5

Planning[edit | edit source]

The idea of a solar absorption refrigerator had existed from the beginning of the trip, however, not much was known about the workings of such a system. For this reason, much time was spent researching. From our r

  1. Klein, S. Reindl, D: "Solar Refrigeration", page S26. ASHRAE Journal. 2005.
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