Washington State University Researches Tackle Nature-Friendly Refrigeration

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Researchers at Washington State University Vancouver have received a grant from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers of close to $90,000 to try to update an old idea into new solutions for two modern environmental problems: excess carbon causing global warming, and ozone depletion. Amir Jokar, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and his graduate students will spend the next two years collecting and analyzing experimental data using chevron plate heat exchangers to condense carbon dioxide for the purpose of creating refrigeration less harmful to the earth's atmosphere.

Researchers at Washington State University Vancouver have received a grant from the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers of close to $90,000 to try to update an old idea into new solutions for two modern environmental problems: excess carbon causing global warming, and ozone depletion.

Amir Jokar, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and his graduate students will spend the next two years collecting and analyzing experimental data using chevron plate heat exchangers to condense carbon dioxide for the purpose of creating refrigeration less harmful to the earth's atmosphere.

"Early in the 20th century, CO2 compression for refrigeration was common in industrial and marine applications," said Jokar, "but its pressure requirements were very high. CO2 was slowly put aside with the introduction of chlorofluorocarbons, which started depleting the earth's ozone layer and adding excess carbon to the atmosphere. Once CFCs were outlawed, hydroflourocarbons and hyrdochlorofluorocarbons were more widely used."

However, even these new refrigerants still produced excess carbon that increases the greenhouse effect of trapping solar radiation within the earth's atmosphere.

"CO2 is a nature-friendly refrigerant, a far less harmful substance produced by our breath and consumed by plants," said Jokar, already a leading expert on the chevron plate heat exchangers he plans to use. "If we can use new technology to produce a less expensive way of condensing CO2 for refrigeration purposes, especially in low temperature applications, it could have an enormous global effect. We are very fortunate to have this research project now at WSU Vancouver."

For more information on ASHRAE and this grant, visit http://www.ashrae.org/ and http://www.ashrae.org/doclib/20070426_1394RFP.pdf.

For more information on Amir Jokar and his ongoing research, visit http://www.vancouver.wsu.edu/fac/jokar/.

WSU Vancouver is located at 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave., east of the 134th Street exit from either I-5 or I-205, and on C-Tran bus route 19. WSU Vancouver offers 14 Bachelor's degrees, nine Master's degrees, one Doctorate degree and more than 35 fields of study. Visit us on the Web at http://www.vancouver.wsu.edu.

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