Title:
Ice harvesting storage vessel
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An ice harvesting storage vessel (10) having an outer structural shell and insulated to maintain a frozen environment for ice filled containers (11) in a subterranean environment. The intake vent damper (16) opens during natural climatic sub-zero temperatures via temperature sensors (24,25) allowing cold air to flow into said vessel. The exhaust vent damper (17) operates in conjunction with the intake damper to allow warmer internal air to exit the vessel. Thermal sensors in conjunction with a thermostat control module close the vent dampers when external atmospheric temperatures exceed internal vessel temperatures. In addition, refrigerant line (22,23) circulate an antifreeze fluid via pump (30) throughout the vessel transferring cold temperatures to a heat transfer medium or antifreeze fluid for transfer to an adjacent facility or point of use.



Inventors:
Poole, Kenneth Lee (Milford, MA, US)
Application Number:
12/322210
Publication Date:
08/06/2009
Filing Date:
01/30/2009
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
62/419, 62/515, 236/49.3
International Classes:
F25C5/18; F24F7/007; F25B39/02; F25D17/06
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
AVILES BOSQUES, ORLANDO E
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kenneth L. Poole (2 Temple Street, Milford, MA, 01757, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An insulated ice harvesting storage vessel having a plurality of water filled containers therein subjected to atmospheric freezing temperatures through a thermally coupled ventilation means comprising: (a) a plurality of water filled containers subjected to a timed flow of freezing atmospheric temperatures through said vessel to freeze water to ice; (b) a thermal sensor wherein said sensor is for measuring air temperature; (c) a damper-fan comprising a motor coupleable to rotating vanes for movement of air within said ventilation means; (d) a damper-fan further comprising a cover springably mounted to said ventilation means to open and close said timed flow of freezing atmospheric temperatures through said vessel; (e) a thermostat controller associated with said thermal sensors electrically connected for measuring atmospheric and vessel temperatures whereby thermal switch positions are selected in response to a calculated difference between inside and outside air temperatures, said controller actuating said damper-fan in response to said calculated difference.

2. The ventilation means of claim 1, wherein said ventilation means is electrically connected to said thermostat controller to activate said damper-fan means to open and close intake timed flow of freezing temperatures within said vessel.

3. The ventilation means of claim 1, wherein said ventilation means is electrically connected to said thermostat controller to activate said damper-fan means to open and close exhaust timed flow of warm temperatures within said vessel.

4. A heat exchanger comprising a pipe-shaped heat transfer tube coupled with a plurality of plate-shaped fins connected to said heat transfer tube allowing passive thermal transfer to a conductor medium.

5. The heat exchanger of claim 4, wherein said thermal transfer conductor medium is an inorganic heat transfer medium sealed in said heat transfer tube.

5. The heat exchanger of claim 4, whereby a external controller associated with thermal sensors at the point of use activates the movement of said heat transfer medium to said vessel.



6. The vessel of claim 1 wherein said vessel is insulated to maintain frozen temperatures of said water filled containers.

6. The water filled containers of claim 1, wherein said containers are of a truncated conical shape wherein horizontal expansion forces within said containers are relieved by the vertical component of resultant forces thereby lifting the volume of ice vertically.



7. The vessel of claim 6 wherein said vessel is constructed of materials sufficient to oppose stresses imposed by earth pressures in a subterranean environment such as reinforced concrete, metal or plastic materials.

7. The truncated conical containers of claim 6 further subjected to a flow of freezing temperatures first directed to the bottom of said vessel and the narrow end of said truncated container to initiate freezing resulting in the upward expansion of ice along the truncated container envelope such that the total expansion of ice is displaced along the top of said container.



8. The containers of claim 6 whereby said container is constructed of an inorganic material subjected to repeated cycles of freezing and thawing.

9. A heat exchanger at the point of use comprising a blower means positioned proximal to said heat exchanger and electrically connected to a thermostat controller such that said blower is actuated in response to calculated differences between said temperature measurements and associated set point temperatures.

10. The thermostat controller of claim 9 electrically connected for measuring point of use and said vessel temperatures whereby thermal switch positions are selected in response to a calculated difference between point of use temperatures and said vessel temperatures, said controller actuating said heat exchanger in response to said calculated difference.

11. The vessel in claim 1 wherein said vessel is located beneath parking areas or roadway surfaces, said vessel constructed of materials sufficient to support stresses imposed by vehicular traffic.

12. The vessel in claim 1 wherein a refrigeration means provides freezing temperatures to maintain stored ice within said vessel.

13. The vessel in claim 1 wherein said damper-fan, sensors, controller, and heat exchanger are electrically operable, further comprising a power adapter converter coupleable to an alternative energy source selected from a photovoltaic array or wind generator means.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of provisional patent application Ser. No. 61/063,685 filed Feb. 6, 2008 by the present inventor, which is incorporated by reference.

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH

Not Applicable

SEQUENCE LISTING OR PROGRAM

Not Applicable

BACKGROUND

1. Field of the Invention

This invention relates to the harvesting and storage of ice, specifically from naturally occurring climatic temperatures.

2. Prior Art

Farm and orchard produce is currently cooled by power consuming mechanical equipment to maintain freshness and prolong marketability. There exists a need to reduce the cost of cooling and an environmentally friendly response to excessive power consumption while maintaining the current level of market demand for fresh grown produce. This invention utilizes natural climate extremes in winter to freeze water filled containers in insulated subterranean vessels for the purpose of holding this temperature asset until the warmer harvest months. Previous generations harvested ice from ponds and lakes and stored this asset in insulated ice houses for the warm summer months to maintain food and produce.

Several components of ice harvesting have been designed utilizing power consuming equipment to freeze water for the purpose holding ice for later use during reduced off-peak cost of power. U.S. Pat. No. 6,253,567 (2001) and U.S. Pat. No. 6,101,837 (2000) both issued to Imanari, utilizes an ice thermal storage type air conditioner which holds ice in a storage tank for more efficient operation. However, this invention relies on an external power source to make ice and utilizes basic air conditioning equipment for its operation. Other similar inventions including U.S. Pat. No. 7,451,612 issued to Mueller (2008), utilize geothermal heat transfer to capture temperature differential from the earth and hold these temperatures in water tanks at relative constant temperatures. The stored water then becomes the transfer medium to provide air conditioning in a standard mode utilizing compressors and external power means.

Therefore, the invention claimed herein encompasses three basic elements: First, to harvest cold storage in the form of ice during winter months in an insulated subterranean storage vessel containing a series of water filled containers subjected to natural freezing temperatures. The containers are subjected to a timed flow of natural sub-zero temperatures until the containers are completely frozen.

Several types of water filled containers have been proposed—for example U.S. Pat. No. 4,211,208 issued to Linder (1980), and U.S. Pat. No. 5,327,746 issued to Duh (1994), rely on a plurality of mechanical devices such as metal springs and coils to retain the expansion of ice. The containers proposed in this invention are of a truncated conical shape wherein horizontal expansion forces within the containers are relieved by the vertical component of resultant forces thereby lifting the volume of ice vertically. This geometric shape simplifies the containment of ice and the maintenance of said containers.

The storage vessel is insulated and equipped with a temperature controlled insulated intake damper to move sub-zero temperatures through the vessel to a discharge exhaust damper-fan to expel warmer temperatures. The dampers and fan components are controlled by temperature sensors located in the vessel and an outside atmospheric temperature sensor to monitor outside air temperature. When the outside air temperature is colder than the vessel temperature the damper-fan will operate moving freezing temperatures into the vessel. Conversely, when outside temperature is above the vessel temperature the system will close to maintain the coldest natural temperature possible. Second, due to natural loss of cold temperatures through the insulated vessel to the outside ground temperatures, a small refrigeration unit is utilized to provide minimal cooling to maintain the ice through the warmer months. The refrigeration unit, the fan-damper components, and the temperature sensors are powered by a wind turbine and/or solar panels. Third, the stored ice is held in the subterranean vessel until needed for refrigeration or air conditioning in adjacent structures such as a produce storage facility. In order to transfer the cold temperatures from the ice storage vessels to the produce facility or point of use, a refrigerant line circulates through the ice storage vessel to capture the cold temperatures and pumped back to the point of use to provide the cooling needs without using an external power source to run mechanical equipment for this purpose. It is anticipated that other uses for the invention can be realized in providing supplementary cooling capacity for buildings during hot periods of weather. Such devices would be located under parking areas or landscaping areas adjacent to mechanical cooling equipment. This device can add to the green approach to building design by limiting brownouts caused by excessive use of utility power for building air conditioning during the hot summer months.

SUMMARY

The invention, an Ice Harvesting Storage Vessel, is designed to use natural sub-zero temperatures in winter to freeze water filled containers in a subterranean vessel for the purpose of holding this frozen asset until the warmer harvest months to provide the cooling needs without using an external power source to run mechanical equipment.

DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a plan view of the subterranean ice storage vessel with a wind turbine above and central to the layout.

FIG. 2 is a cross-section view (2-2) of the subterranean ice storage vessel of FIG. 1, showing two vessels below ground.

FIG. 3 is a cross-section view (3-3) of the subterranean ice storage vessel of FIG. 1, showing an enlarged view of the ice containers, insulation and internal layout.

FIG. 4 is a lateral cross-section view (4-4) of the subterranean ice storage vessel of FIG. 1, showing an enlarged view of the internal layout, concrete foundations, concrete cap and insulation.

FIG. 5 is a schematic drawing of the internal layout and components of the ice storage vessel.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION—FIGS. 1,2,3,4 AND 5—PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIG. 1 is a plan view of the ice harvesting storage vessel (10) constructed in accordance with the invention. Central to the plan view is a wind turbine (8) providing electrical power to the vessel for the operation of the components. FIG. 2 is a horizontal section taken through the vessel showing the subterranean position of the vessel with the wind turbine located between two vessels. FIG. 3 is a horizontal section taken through the vessel in FIG. 1 showing the position of ice storage containers (11) arranged to allow a controlled flow of sub-zero temperature air to flow from one end of the vessel to the other via intake duct (15) and exhaust duct (19). A structural canopy (12) is supported on foundation (14). In the preferred embodiment, the structural canopy and the foundation are concrete. However, the canopy and foundation can consist of any other material that can support structural loads imposed from earth and other external loads such as vehicles, people, etc.

At one end of the vessel (10), cold air intake duct (15) and damper cover (16) penetrates the insulated vessel wall to allow cold temperature air to enter the vessel. At the other end of the vessel is the warm air exhaust duct (19), exhaust fan (18) and exhaust damper cover (17). Cold sub-zero air is circulated around the ice storage containers( 11). Warm air from the latent heat of solidification of water in the storage containers is expelled via exhaust damper, exhaust fan and exhaust duct. Operation of the intake and exhaust dampers is actuated by an electric circuitry in the controller (27) which measures temperature differential of temperature sensors (24, 25, 26). When atmospheric temperature falls below freezing and internal temperature of the vessel is higher than atmospheric temperature, the circuitry will allow dampers to open and the exhaust fan to operate to create a negative air pressure within the vessel drawing in natural sub-zero temperatures until ice has formed within the containers or until the vessel temperature and atmospheric temperature have equalized.

FIG. 3 is a cross section of the vessel in FIG. 1 showing the structural canopy, foundation, insulation and the ice storage containers. FIG. 4 shows a small refrigeration unit (20) positioned directly outside the vessel with refrigeration lines penetrating the insulated vessel wall to provide makeup refrigeration to maintain the stored ice during warm weather. Natural heat loss through the insulated vessel wall to the warmer surrounding earth requires minimum infusion of sub-zero temperature to maintain the stored ice. The refrigeration unit is used intermittently during warm summer months and is powered by the wind turbine in the preferred embodiment. However solar panels or other backup systems could provide the electrical power required to power the system. To access cold storage temperatures at the point of use, supply and return heat transfer refrigerant lines (22,23) penetrate the insulated vessel to harvest the cold temperatures and transfer said temperatures to the point of use. In the preferred embodiment, the point of use is a cold storage facility for the purpose of cooling newly harvested orchard produce. However, the point of use can consist of a variety of uses such as an auxiliary cooling system for a building or a water condensing source for irrigating farm crops, etc.

FIG. 5 is a schematic of the internal layout of the preferred embodiment. Sub-zero temperatures enter the vessel through intake damper and duct (15, 16). When thermal sensor (24) indicates freezing atmospheric temperature lower than vessel temperature via sensor (25) and interconnected through circuitry in the thermostat controller module (27), electric power flows (29) to exhaust fan and damper (17,18) and to intake damper (16) to create a negative pressure within the vessel. Sub-zero atmospheric temperatures circulate through the vessel and a plurality of water-filled storage containers (11) until the water filled containers are completely frozen. Refrigeration unit (20) provides makeup refrigeration required to keep ice at low temperatures set by the lowest temperature of the winter season. Heat transfer refrigerant lines (21) penetrate the insulated vessel to introduce the makeup refrigeration into the vessel. Makeup refrigeration is required due to the natural soil temperatures averaging between 40 to 45 degrees causing a degradation of vessel temperature through the insulated vessel walls particularly in the warm summer months. Supply and return refrigerant lines (22,23) access the vessel to harvest the cold temperatures and transfer via pump (30) to the point of use. In the preferred embodiment the Thermostat Controller Module (27), the fans and dampers are powered by electric power from the wind turbine (8).

DRAWINGS—REFERENCE NUMERALS

  • 8 wind turbine
  • 9 ground level
  • 10 ice harvest storage vessel
  • 11 ice storage container
  • 12 structural canopy
  • 13 insulation
  • 14 foundation
  • 15 intake duct
  • 16 intake damper
  • 17 exhaust damper
  • 18 exhaust fan
  • 19 exhaust duct
  • 20 refrigeration unit
  • 21 refrigeration makeup line
  • 22 refrigeration supply line
  • 23 refrigeration return line
  • 24 thermal sensor-external
  • 25 thermal sensor-internal
  • 26 thermal sensor-exhaust
  • 27 thermostat controller module
  • 28 power wiring to controller
  • 29 wiring from controller to device
  • 30 refrigerant circulation pump





 
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