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Environmental Profiles of Stirling-Cooled and Cascade-Cooled Ultra-Low Temperature Freezers

Author

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  • David M. Berchowitz

    () (Global Cooling Inc., 6000 Poston Rd. Athens 45701, OH, USA)

  • Yongrak Kwon

    () (Global Cooling Inc., 6000 Poston Rd. Athens 45701, OH, USA)

Abstract

The environmental footprint of ultra-low temperature (ULT) freezers as used in bio-repositories, universities and other research organizations is investigated. These freezers, employing the cascade refrigeration system, use between 10 and 20 times the energy of an average household refrigerator/freezer. In addition, they often require high greenhouse gas potential (GWP) refrigerants. A new technology employing the Stirling cycle machine promises to reduce energy consumption of ULT freezers by 50% or more. The cascade and Stirling systems are compared for equivalent sized freezers in terms of embodied energy and equivalent CO 2 production from cradle to gate and use, including total equivalent warming impact (TEWI) estimations. End-of-life issues are discussed but not quantified. It is shown that Stirling technology is able to significantly reduce the environmental impact of ULT freezers.

Suggested Citation

  • David M. Berchowitz & Yongrak Kwon, 2012. "Environmental Profiles of Stirling-Cooled and Cascade-Cooled Ultra-Low Temperature Freezers," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(11), pages 1-14, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:4:y:2012:i:11:p:2838-2851:d:20987
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Stirling; ULT; cascade; refrigeration; bio-repository; TEWI; embodied energy;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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