Title:
System for reducing Oxygen
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A system for reducing oxidation comprises a centralized nitrogen source within a building and a room connected by a tubular structure to the source. The room has a volume and at least a portion of a closed-loop system with a ventilation mechanism and a sensor adapted to control a nitrogen concentration in the room.



Inventors:
Hall, David R. (Provo, UT, US)
Wilde, Tyson J. (Spanish Fork, UT, US)
Battisti, Derek (Provo, UT, US)
Application Number:
12/106859
Publication Date:
10/22/2009
Filing Date:
04/21/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
F24F3/16
View Patent Images:
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Foreign References:
JP2008082014A
Other References:
CN 101019682A, Liu et al, August 22, 2007, English abstract
DE 20220188 U1, Henninger, April 24, 2003, English abstract
Primary Examiner:
DECKER, PHILLIP
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Novatek IP, LLC (10001 Richmond Avenue, Houston, TX, 77042, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A system for reducing oxidation, comprising: a centralized nitrogen source within a building and a room connected by a tubular structure to the source; and the room comprising a volume and at least a portion of a closed-loop system with a ventilation mechanism and a sensor adapted to control a nitrogen concentration in the room.

2. The system of claim 1, wherein the nitrogen is released into a storage unit located within the room.

3. The system of claim 2, wherein the storage unit is incorporated into a table with a top surface.

4. The system of claim 3, wherein the storage unit comprises an elevating mechanism adapted to extend at least a portion of the storage unit out of the top surface.

5. The system of claim 4, wherein the elevating mechanism comprises an electrical gear system activated by a control unit.

6. The system of claim 3, wherein a seal between the top surface and the table generally prevents nitrogen from escaping from the storage unit.

7. The system of claim 2, wherein the at least portion of the storage unit comprises at least one wire shelf, perforated shelf, hanger, hook, or combinations.

8. The system of claim 2, wherein the storage unit also comprises a cooling mechanism.

9. The system of claim 2, wherein the storage unit is a refrigerator, freezer, a cupboard, a breadbox, an oven, a microwave, or a combination thereof.

10. The system of claim 1, wherein the tubular structure comprises a valve adapted to control a rate of nitrogen release.

11. The system of claim 11, wherein the sensor is adapted to provide input to a processing element adapted for controlling the valve.

12. The system of claim 1, wherein the sensor is a nitrogen sensor and is adapted to input into the closed-loop system a concentration of nitrogen in the room.

13. The system of claim 1, wherein the closed-loop system is adapted to increase ventilation in the room if the concentration is above a pre-determined threshold.

14. The system of claim 1, wherein the closed-loop system is adapted to increase the nitrogen concentration if a fire in the room is detected.

15. The system of claim 14, wherein the closed-loop system is also adapted to detect life before increasing the nitrogen level.

16. The system of claim 15, wherein the system is adapted to detect life through an infrared sensor.

17. The system of claim 1, wherein a centrifuge is in communication with the nitrogen source and is adapted to provide separated nitrogen to the source from surrounding air.

18. The system of claim 1, wherein the tubular structure comprises a diameter less than 3 mm.

19. The system of claim 1, wherein the tubular structure is at least 6 feet long.

20. The system of claim 1, wherein a positive pressure is used to control a flow of nitrogen.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

The current invention relates to systems for reducing oxidation. Often time's food and other substances spoil rapidly due to oxygen in the air. Reducing the amount of oxygen in the air can preserve substances from spoiling for substantially longer amounts of time. This can lead to savings in money and resources.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,415,010 to Kroll et al., which is herein incorporated by reference for all that it contains, discloses a refrigerator crisper drawer based on an increased nitrogen concentration. This nitrogen concentration necessarily depletes the oxygen thus reducing the opportunities for food to oxidize or “brown.”

U.S. Pat. No. 4,580,411 to Orfitelli, which is herein incorporated by reference for all that it contains, discloses a portable compact liquid gas refrigeration system and apparatus comprising a freezer housing, a liquid delivery system, a liner and a tray means. The freezer housing is constructed for being relatively light weight and having an interior cavity, a sloped door opening, rear venting ports, and a bottom wall member. The liner includes a plurality of elongate parallel tray support rails or tracks. The liquid delivery system includes a manifold within said cavity and a valve mechanism for controlling the flow of liquefied gas to the manifold. The liner has a sloped end wall to facilitate tray removal from the freezer housing. The tray has a plurality of holes to enable liquefied gas transference or flow between the tray and the liner.

U.S. Pat. No. 3,673,810 to Hale et al., which is herein incorporated by reference for all that it contains, discloses an invention that relates generally to apparatus for controlling the pressure of fluid supplied from a pressure source to a valve to open and close the valve for predetermined time intervals the valve preferably being provided in a pipe leading from a supply of liquid nitrogen to the interior of a refrigerated cargo container to condition the interior of the container by supplying pulses of liquid nitrogen for said predetermined time intervals.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

A system for reducing oxidation comprises a centralized nitrogen source within a building and a room connected by a tubular structure to the source. The room has a volume and at least a portion of a closed-loop system with a ventilation mechanism and a sensor adapted to control a nitrogen concentration in the room. The nitrogen may be released into a storage unit located within the room, such as a perishables storage unit like a refrigerator, a freezer, a cupboard, an oven, a microwave, or combinations thereof.

The storage unit may be incorporated into a table with a top surface. An elevating mechanism may extend at least a portion of the storage unit out of the top surface. The elevating mechanism may comprise an electrical gear system activiated by a control unit. In some embodiments, the elevating mechanism may comprise a pulley, a rack and pinion, a motor, cable and combinations thereof.

The top surface and the table may generally form a seal to prevent nitrogen from escaping from the storage unit when the storage unit is retracted. The storage unit may comprise at least one wire shelf, a perforated shelf, a hanger, hook, or combinations thereof. In some embodiments, the storage unit also comprises a cooling mechanism. The nitrogen itself may be cooled, but an additional cooling mechanism may be incorporated into the storage units to keep perishables cool.

The tubular structure may comprise a valve adapted to control the rate of nitrogen release. The sensor may provide input to a processing element adapted to control the valve. In some embodiments, the sensor is a nitrogen sensor adapted to input into the closed-loop system a concentration of nitrogen in the room. The closed-loop system may be adapted to increase the ventilation in the room if the nitrogen concentration reaches a pre-determined threshold. In some embodiments, the closed-loop system is adapted to increase the nitrogen concentration of the room if a fire is detected in the room. In some embodiments, the closed-loop system is also adapted to detect life before increasing the nitrogen concentration, such as through an infrared sensor or through electrical personal identification systems.

In some embodiments, a centrifuge is in communication with the nitrogen source and is adapted to provide separated nitrogen to the source from surrounding air. Perferably, at least a portion of the tubular structure comprises a diameter less than 3 mm and a length of at least six feet. In some embodiments, a positive pressure may be used to control the rate of nitrogen release. In some embodiments, the system will control the nitrogen release such that the nitrogen release into the room is less than the outflow of total air of the room.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional diagram of an embodiment of a system for reducing oxidation.

FIG. 2 is a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a storage unit.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional diagram of an embodiment of a storage unit.

FIG. 4 is cross-sectional diagram of another embodiment of a storage unit.

FIG. 5 is cross-sectional diagram of another embodiment of a storage unit.

FIGS. 6a-6d are perspective diagram of an embodiment of a storage unit.

FIG. 7a is a perspective diagram of a tubular structure.

FIGS. 7b-7c are cross-sectional diagrams of a tubular structure.

FIG. 8 is perspective diagram of another embodiment of a storage unit.

FIG. 9 is an orthogonal diagram of at least a portion of a closed-loop system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION AND THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

FIG. 1 is a cross-sectional diagram of an embodiment of a system 100 for reducing oxidation. The system 100 may be incorporated in housing units 160 or another type of building and may be used to preserve household perishables and/or extinguish fires. The system 100 may comprise a storage unit 102 adapted to store the perishables and the unit may be located in a room with a volume of ambient air. The storage unit is connected to a nitrogen source through an tubular structure, which is adapted to prevent too much nitrogen from entering into the room. The nitrogen released into the storage units will displace ambient oxygen and reduce oxidation of the perishables which will increase the useful life of the perishables.

The system 100 may comprise a centralized nitrogen source 107 located in the basement of the building. The centralized source 107 may obtain the nitrogen from the ambient air through a centrifuge 106 adapted to separate nitrogen from the surrounding air. The centralized source 107 may feed nitrogen to multiple storage units located in multiple rooms in the building at the same time.

In some embodiments, the storage units are sealed to prevent nitrogen from escaping from the storage unit when closed, but when the storage unit is opened to obtain the perishables, some nitrogen will escape from the storage and enter the room. In some embodiments, the storage units are not sealed and nitrogen may exit the storage unit. Although most of the air in the atmosphere is nitrogen, too much nitrogen will displace the oxygen in the air and can be harmful to humans; therefore, a closed-loop system in the room with a sensor adapted to sense the concentration of nitrogen in the room may be utilized. If the concentration is too high, then a valve in the tubular structure may close or restrict the release of nitrogen and/or a ventilation mechanism in the room may increase the air's circulation.

The tubular structure 105 may be adapted to control the rate nitrogen release into the storage unit and prevent the nitrogen concentration from reaching a harmful level in the room. The tubular structure may comprise characteristics that naturally control the amount of nitrogen that can be released. For example the diameter and length of the tubular structure may naturally restrict the rate of nitrogen release and prevent the nitrogen concentration from getting too high. The inner diameter of at least a portion of the tubular structure may be less than 3 mm, preferably less than 1.5 mm and the length of the tubular structure may be greater than 6 feet, preferably longer than 12 feet. It is believed that the greater the length of the tubular structure and the smaller it's diameter the more restricted the nitrogen flow in the tubular structure will be and therefore increase the safety of the system. A positive pressure supplied from the nitrogen source may also be used to control the flow of nitrogen. Preferably the characteristics of length, inner diameter and pressure are optimized to make the tubular structure intrinsically safe, meaning that these characteristic alone will restrict the nitrogen flow enough that the nitrogen release into the room will be less than an air outflow of the room.

Preferably, the nitrogen will flow into a storage unit and a valve incorporated in the tubular structure will obstruct the flow of nitrogen once a nitrogen concentration in the storage unit is reached. In some embodiments, a positive pressure supplied by the nitrogen source will be low enough that when the nitrogen concentration reaches its desired level that the additional nitrogen gas will have increased internal pressure of the storage unit enough to overcome the positive pressure and prevent additional flow of nitrogen into the storage unit.

The room may also be equipped with ventilation mechanism 103 which may include a vent or a fan 104. The ventilation mechanism may encourage the air in the room to circulate with air outside of the building and thus help keep the nitrogen concentration in the room similar to the concentration in the atmosphere.

In some embodiments, the storage unit may also be in communication with a centralized refrigeration source 108. The refrigeration source may comprise a pump 109 adapted to circulate refrigerant between centralized refrigeration source and selected storage units. The nitrogen tubular structure 105 and the hoses of the refrigeration system may pass through the floor 111 of the units 160 and through utility corridors 110 leading to the various storage units 102. In other embodiments a refrigeration mechanism similar to those used in common placed refrigerators may also be incorporated in the storage units.

FIG. 2 is a perspective diagram of an embodiment of a storage unit 102. Multiple storage units 102 may be incorporated into a table 200, which may be adapted to store food and/or dishes. The table may comprise a planar surface 250 from which the storage unit may be accessed when at least a portion of the storage unit is elavated. The storage unit 102 may be elevated and lowered by way of a rack and pinion 201, motor, pulley system and combinations thereof. The rack and pinion may be in electrical communication with and become activated by way of a switch 230 connected to the table. The planar surface 250 may be used for dinning when the storage unit is either lowered or elevated. Such arrangements may increase living space in residential applications. When lowered the storage unit 102 may be disposed near the floor and may be used to store condiments, drinks, goods, or combinations thereof. The storage unit may or may not incorporate a refrigeration system. The storage unit 102 may comprise a plurality of shelves 203. The shelves 203 may be wired or perforated. Since nitrogen is heavier than other constituents in the air one advantage to having the storage unit elevate as shown is that the nitrogen will tend to remain in the cavity of the storage unit when the shelves are elevated thus retaining the nitrogen in the storage unit. In embodiments where a refrigeration mechanism is included in the storage unit, the mechanism may aid in cooling the nitrogen causing it to sink and thus helping retain the nitrogen in the storage unit when it is elevated.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional diagram of an embodiment of a storage unit 102 where the tubular structure 105 runs through the floor 111 and enters the bottom of the storage unit 102. The tubular structure 105 may comprise a valve 301 connected to a sensor 300 of the closed-loop system. The sensor 300 may indicate the nitrogen concentration in the storage unit and/or the room and used the valve 301 to control the respective nitrogen concentrations. The valve 301 may comprise a stop 302 that at default blocks any nitrogen from passing. The stop 302 may be in communication with a solenoid 303 that when activated may lift the stop 302 and allow nitrogen to pass through. The solenoid 303 may be in communication with a power source 304.

FIG. 4 is a cross-sectional diagram of an embodiment of a storage unit 102. The tubular structure 105 may comprise at least two different diameters 400 and 401. The tubular structure 105 may comprise a first end 403 starting from the nitrogen source with a larger diameter and a second end 404 finishing at a storage unit 102. The second end 404 of the tubular structure 105 may also branch into various directions and into storage units 102. The storage units 102 may comprise handles 401 for accessibility.

FIG. 5 is another cross-sectional diagram of an embodiment of a storage unit 102. The tubular structure 105 may be made from an elastic material that may allow it to be moved. The tubular structure 105 may also comprise a telescoping region 500 adapted to move with the storage unit 102. The storage unit 102 may be capable of being elevated and thus a telescoping tubular structure 105 may be advantageous. The storage unit 102 may elevate and lower by way of the telescoping region 500 in the tubular structure 105. The tubular structure 105 may run into a storage unit 102 that may be incorporated into a table 200, a refrigerator, a cupboard 503, a breadbox 502, or a combination thereof in order to preserve goods that otherwise mature from oxygen.

FIGS. 6a-6d are perspective diagrams of other embodiments of storage units 102. The storage units 102 may be incorporated into a table 200 and may comprise various geometries. The geometries may be square, triangular, rectangular, hexagonal, or a combination thereof. The varying geometries may accommodate more storage units 102 within the table 200. The storage units 102 may be generally centered in the table 200 or offset. The storage units 102 may be positioned such that people are able to comfortably dine.

FIG. 7a is a perspective diagram of a tubular structure 105. The tubular structure 105 may comprise a plurality of extensions 700. The plurality of extensions 700 may run parallel to one another and may be bundled. This may allow for the tubular structure 105 to be handled easier and to fit in smaller spaces.

FIGS. 7b-7c are cross-sectional diagrams of a tubular structure 105. The tubular structure 105 may comprise a plurality of extensions 700 with varying diameters (depending on the distance to the particular storage unit). The extensions may lead in various directions and be in communication with various storage units 102. This may be advantageous for the centralized nitrogen source to accommodate the many housing units on different levels.

FIG. 8 is a perspective diagram of another embodiment of a storage unit 102. The tubular structure 150 may lead into a storage unit 102 incorporated into a table 200 or adjacent a sink. A tubular structure 800 for the circulating refrigerants is shown. The storage unit 102 may also be incorporated into a sink area 800, a cabinet, an oven, a microwave or a combination thereof.

FIG. 9 is an orthogonal diagram of at least a portion of a closed-loop system. In this embodiment nitrogen is released into the room 905 as well as into the oven 901 and microwave 902. A nitrogen outlet 906 is adapted to release nitrogen 903 into the room if a fire is detected by the sensor 300. The nitrogen outlet may be incorporated below a fire hazardous element such as a burner on an oven. In some embodiments, outlet may be positioned above the element, to the side or combinations thereof. A ventilation mechanism 103 is incorporated into the wall of the room to aid in removing the nitrogen once the nitrogen has been released. The nitrogen may be released in a sudden burst or bursts or it may be released at a generally continuous rate over a duration of time. Since the nitrogen may asphyxiate humans or animals, the closed loop system may include an infrared sensor 900 to detect life in the room before the nitrogen is released. In some embodiments, a electronic personal identification system may also be used to detect life in the room or in the building. For example, an electronic key or cell phone may emit a signal which is detected by the closed-loop system which indicates that an individual is in the room. Releasing nitrogen over a fire has the advantage that it will asphyxiate the fire effectively but unlike water and other fire retardants, the nitrogen will not damage the structure of the building or any equipment located in the building.

Whereas the present invention has been described in particular relation to the drawings attached hereto, it should be understood that other and further modifications apart from those shown or suggested herein, may be made within the scope and spirit of the present invention.