The Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Laboratory of IIT Kanpur has recently developed a portable refrigeration cart (Thela) that is totally powered by the Sun’s energy.
The prototype has been developed by Lt Col Akhil Singh Charak, M Tech. student of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, under the guidance of Prof. Sameer Khandekar, Laboratory Coordinator and Chandra Shekhar Goswami, Technical Superintendent of the laboratory.
The aim of this Solar Photo-Voltaic (Solar-PV) based energy self-sufficient smart cart/ thela with inbuilt refrigeration system is to provide a portable cooling system for multiple possible uses.
Such solar driven refrigeration carts will prove to be vital in energy conservation as well as preserving perishable food items. This system can become an important value addition in the supply chain network and can also be coupled with an e-rickshaw by the users. This mobile thela system will also be extremely helpful in the healthcare sector, especially in the rural areas. This mobile system can even be used by the Indian army in remote areas.
The design of the cart includes solar panels fitted at the top, a battery that stores the energy for use when the Solar energy is not available, a DC operated compressor, charge controller and energy meter. The solar panels provide shade from direct sunlight to the refrigerator as well as the individual using the cart. The panels are mounted on a flexible platform and can be adjusted manually in suitable direction to get maximum sunlight, hence producing maximum electricity.
At present, this 240-litre refrigerator can achieve a minimum temperature of -12°C and has a battery backup of more than 24 hours.
“This project is in sync with the Government of India’s National Solar Mission and Smart City Initiatives, and has the potential to revolutionize the life of millions of street hawkers and to generate employment for many more. We hope to continue working to develop such India specific green products using translational research and development,” said Prof Khandekar.
“In the first phase of development, the cart has been tested under various weather and loading conditions. In phase two, we are planning to deploy the unit with the help of some volunteers to get pilot level data, and hence improve the system based on feedback from street vendors,” added Goswami.
By: Daily Excelsior
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