The iCool project concerns the development of a highly energy efficient glass door beverage cooler. This is achieved by applying a combination of existing improvement solutions as well as by development of novel technologies which maximises the benefits of these improvement options.
Currently the cooling capacity of commercial cooling cabinets is much greater than theoretically required to maintain drinks at a constant temperature. This because of the pull down requirements which indicate that a 50% product reload must be cooled from ambient to sales temperature within a relatively short period of time. The oversized cooling system operates inefficient during steady state operation (which is its primary mode of operation).
Within iCool the cooling system of a glass door beverage cooler is greatly downsized which is done by heat load reduction measures (use of very efficient fans, vacuum insulation panels, triple layer glass door, LED lighting, etc). The system is further optimized by applying large heat exchangers and an efficient compressor running on an hydrocarbon refrigerant. However, such a small and efficient system would not be able to cope with peak loads like the cooling down of warm products. To overcome these peak loads Phase Change Material (PCM) is integrated in one of the evaporators of the system. In the PCM, cooling capacity is buffered for later use during a period of relatively low load.
The project resulted in the construction of two prototype glass door beverage coolers with an energy consumption reduction of 80% compared to coolers currently on the market while fulfilling the cool down requirements.