SUBJECT: Ph.D. Proposal Presentation
BY: Aravindh Rajan
TIME: Tuesday, May 12, 2020, 11:00 a.m.
PLACE: BlueJeans Virtual Presentation, Online
TITLE: Conceptualization, Thermodynamics, Kinetics, and Prototyping of Continuous Electrochemical Refrigeration
COMMITTEE: Dr. Shannon Yee, Chair (ME)
Dr. Seung Woo Lee (ME)
Dr. Marta Hatzell (ME)
Dr. Matthew McDowell (ME)
Dr. Nian Liu (CHBE)


The rise of the average global temperature and, thus, global cooling demand is expected to be accompanied by record high sales of refrigeration and air-conditioning units. The state of the art in modern refrigeration and heat pumping is based on the vapor compression cycle. The refrigerants used in these units have a global warming potential (GWP) 1-4 orders of magnitude larger than that of carbon dioxide.[1] Therefore, it is imperative to develop a zero-GWP refrigeration technology that can meet the cooling load demand at cost competitive efficiencies. I propose a novel refrigeration technology that draws inspiration from the vast recent progress made in flow batteries. The phenomenon of electrochemical refrigeration by the absorption of entropic heat is first described. The feasibility of continuous electrochemical refrigeration using Brayton and Stirling cycles are investigated in the limit of no irreversibility. A low order analytical model is then developed to detail the electrochemical irreversibility and used to describe the projected performance of a real system. I then elucidate the material constraints of the redox couples that participate in such a system. Finally, I propose methods to tackle three areas of interest. First, an electrochemical refrigerator that employs a Stirling cycle will be analyzed. Second, I propose a prototype design for a continuous electrochemical refrigerator that employs the Brayton cycle. Third, I propose an experiment to realize electrochemical refrigeration in a configuration that does not require the implementation of a thermodynamic cycle. This configuration is easier to manufacture and has the potential to provide higher cooling heat fluxes.