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Title:
REFRIGERATOR MOISTURE REMOVAL SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2020/232084
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
This invention is embodied in a system for removing moisture from the air inside a refrigerator. The preferred embodiment is configured to work on a typical refrigerator that employs a typical refrigerant system with a compressor and a condenser. The preferred embodiment works by fitting a water jacket to the exterior surface of the refrigerant line. The water jacket is connected by flexible tube to a cold plate inside the refrigerator. Preferably a pump circulates fluid between the water jacket and the cold plate. As a result, the cold plate gets colder than the air inside the refrigerator and induces condensation on the cold plate. The condensation flows by gravity down to the refrigerator's drip pan.

Inventors:
BIRGEN WILLIAM (US)
Application Number:
US2020/032622
Publication Date:
November 19, 2020
Filing Date:
May 13, 2020
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
KYLLBURG TECH LLC (US)
International Classes:
F25D21/14; F24F3/14; F25D21/00
Foreign References:
US5611209A1997-03-18
US6233959B12001-05-22
US3258932A1966-07-05
US20100083683A12010-04-08
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
MEANEY, Joseph (US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Claims:

1. A system for removing moisture from the air inside a refrigerator, the refrigerator having a refrigerant line exiting a condenser and a drip pan, the system comprising, a water jacket in thermal communication with the refrigerant line, a cold plate, the cold plate in fluid communication with the water jacket, a pump to circulate fluid between the water jacket and the cold plate, and a drain line, the drain line in fluid communication between the cold plate with the drip pan, the drain line configured to transport condensate from the cold plate to the drip pan.

2. The system of claim 1, the water jacket comprising the shape of a hollow cylinder with an inside diameter no bigger than an outside diameter of the refrigerant line.

3. The system of claim 1, the water jacket comprising the shape of a hollow cylinder, the hollow cylinder having a circular end face and the hollow cylinder truncated longitudinally though a chord of the end face to expose the inner diameter, wherein the inner diameter can be fitted against the outside diameter of the refrigerant line.

Description:
Refrigerator Moisture Removal System

FIELD OF THE INVENTION:

[01] This invention relates to removing moisture from the air inside a refrigerator to keep food dry.

BACKGROUND:

[02] Refrigerators have crisper drawers (18) in an attempt to create a micro climate within the larger refrigerator space. While refrigerators do a respectable job at temperature control they do little to remove moisture from the greater refrigerator interior or in specific crispers (18) compartments.

[03] What is needed is a system to keep air inside a refrigerator dry so food stays crisp.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION:

[04] This invention is embodied in a system for removing moisture from the air inside a refrigerator. The preferred embodiment is configured to work on a typical refrigerator that employs a typical refrigerant system with a compressor and a condenser. The preferred embodiment works by fitting a water jacket to the exterior surface of the refrigerant line. The water jacket is connected by flexible tube to a cold plate inside the refrigerator. Preferably, a pump circulates fluid between the water jacket and the cold plate. As a result, the cold plate gets colder than the air inside the refrigerator and induces condensation on the cold plate. The condensation flows by gravity down to the refrigerator’s drip pan.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS:

[05] Fig. 1 illustrates a system block diagram. [06] Fig. 2 illustrates a typical refrigerator layout.

[07] Fig. 3 illustrates a pictorial system layout.

[08] Fig. 4 illustrates a 180° water-jacket on evaporator return tube (compressor suction line).

[09] Fig. 5 illustrates a typical 180° water-jacket.

[010] Fig. 6 illustrates an alternate inlet/outlet 180° water jacket. As shown the alternate 180° water jacket is configured to be oriented to fit on top of the refrigerant line. The inlet/outlet are vertically oriented with the interior of the 180° water jacket configured as a saddle to rest directly on the refrigerant tube.

[Oi l] Fig. 7 illustrates a section view of 180° water jacket showing the interior flow cavity without turbulators, baffles or channel features. The preferred interior has baffles and/or turbulators.

[012] Fig. 8 illustrates a deep saddle 180° water jacket.

[013] Fig. 9 illustrates a 180° water jacket with barb catches.

[014] Fig. 10 illustrates a cold plate, typical features.

[015] Fig. 11 illustrates a side section view cold plate.

[016] Fig. 12 illustrates a top section view cold plate.

[017] Fig. 13 illustrates a horizontal orientation, standard mounting of cold plate. [018] Fig. 14 illustrates a vertical orientation, alternate mounting of cold plate.

[019] Fig. 15 illustrates a 180° water jacket section view with baffles.

NUMBERED ELEMENTS OF INVENTION :

[020] Cold Plate Baffles/ Turbulators 1

[021 ] Cold Plate Condensate Troughs 2

[022] Cold Plate Condensate Reservoir Inlet 3

[023] Cold Plate Condensate Reservoir 4

[024] Cold Plate Condensate Reservoir Drain (to refrigerator drip tray) 5

[025] Cold Plate Heat Transfer Fluid Inlet 6

[026] Cold Plate Heat Transfer Fluid Outlet 7

[027] 180° Water Jacket (1/2 Water Jacket) 8

[028] 180° Water Jacket Inlet 9

[029] 180° Water Jacket Outlet 10

[030] 180° Water Jacket 11

[031] 180° Water Jacket Deeper Mounting Slot 12

[032] 180° Water Jacket Snap On Retention Barb 13

[033] Peristaltic Pump with Motor 14 [034] Electrical Power Wire to Pump Motor 15 [035] Tubing 16

[036] Existing Refrigerator Drain Pan 17 [037] Crisper (Drawer), inside refrigerator 18 [038] Thermally Conductive Adhesive/Epoxy 19 [039] Deep Saddle 180° Water Jacket 20 [040] Existing Refrigerator Drip Tray 21 [041] Cold Plate 22

[042] Existing Refrigerator Evaporator Return Gas Refrigerant Tube, Suction Line 23

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS:

[043] This invention is embodied in a system which creates a localized temperature below the dew point temperature inside a compartment/crisper (18) of a refrigerator in order to extract condensate from the air. After this system extracts said condensation, it collects it and removes it from the refrigerator's interior. Creating this localized, below-the-dew-point temperature is not to alter the temperature of the environment (e.g. the entire refrigerator) but to extract moisture from the air inside a compartment of the refrigerator (like a crisper, for example). [044] By way of background, a typical refrigerator has an evaporator and a condenser. The typical refrigerator evaporator turns its refrigerant into the gas state before the refrigerant travels to the refrigerator's compressor. The refrigerant (in the gas state) is cold as is exits the evaporator. (This information is meant as a partial review of the typical refrigeration cycle present in most refrigerators.)

[045] This invention employs a refrigerator’s cold evaporator return line, or suction line, by retro-fitting a 180° Water Jacket (11) onto this line. Energy transfer between the water jacket 11 and the return line chills a heat transfer fluid inside the 180° Water Jacket (11). The heat transfer liquid is in fluid communication (typically via flexible tubing) with a Cold Plate (22) inside a refrigerator's crisper (18). The Cold plate (22) is chilled via a fluid loop transferring heat from the Crisper (18) air to the refrigerator's refrigerant gas (after it has left the evaporator) via the invention's Water Jacket (11). Once chilled, the Cold Plate (22) creates a local cold feature within the crisper (18). This heat transfer will result in the introduction of a controlled localized cold feature inside the refrigerator, i.e. the Cold Plate (22).

[046] As shown in Figs. 3 and 4, the preferred embodiment mounts a Water Jacket (11) on the tube carrying the refrigerator's cold refrigerant gas, leaving the refrigerator's evaporator. This fluid loop connects this water jacket (11) to a Cold Plate (22). This Cold Plate (22) is the cold feature which will draw condensation out of the air inside the refrigerator. The fluid in this loop between the Water Jacket (11) and Cold Plate (22) allows for the flow of any suitable fluid, to transfer heat from the cold plate to the refrigerator's refrigerant.

[047] This heat transfer fluid could be saltwater, Coolanol, ethylene glycol mixed with water, ethylene glycol with copper oxide and water, or any other suitable heat transfer fluid. As these lines/tubes (16) are not under any appreciable pressure, they may be constructed out of inexpensive, flexible, plastic tubing with inherent insulating properties. While the fluid flow in this service loop may occur through natural thermal induced flow, a pump is the preferred method of creating a mode of flow. A Peristaltic Pump (14) is the preferred pump for this application. A Peristaltic Pump (14) can deliver low volume and steady/consistent flow with very little power consumption. The control logic for commanding the Peristaltic Pump (14) on/off could utilize a humidity sensor inside the crisper. Alternatively the Pump (14) could switch on/off with the refrigerator's existing condenser fan (or compressor motor), using the

refrigerator's existing binary or trinary switch. Ideally, the Pump (14) will be compatible with the power source used by the condenser fan or some other existing refrigerator voltage.

[048] Extracting moisture from the air could be expedited if a Circulation Fan adjacent to the Cold Plate (22) directed air across the cold plate's surface(s), though the preferred embodiment is without a fan. The preferred orientation of the Cold Plate (22) is horizontal, see Fig. 13. The horizontal orientation maximizes the exposed cold surface facing the food items below it. Specific Crisper (18) geometry may dictate a vertical Cold Plate (22) installation, see Fig. 14. The surface of the Cold Plate (22) exposed to the food has Troughs (2), sloped towards the Cold Plate Condensate Reservoir (4), see Figs. 3, 10 & 11. This Cold Plate Condensate Reservoir (4) stores condensate runoff from the Troughs (2) momentarily, before the collected condensate is gravity fed to the refrigerator's much larger Drip Tray / Drain Pan (17) via the Cold Plate Condensate Reservoir Drain (5).

[049] The minimum recommended slope angle for the Condensate Troughs (2) is 3 degrees. The floor of the Cold Plate Condensate Reservoir (4), should similarly have a minimum 3 degree slope to facilitate draining of the collected condensate. [050] Moisture extracted from the air, by the Cold Plate (22) (below the dew point temperature) needs to be removed from the refrigerator's interior. This condensate may be collected by the refrigerator's existing Drip Tray/ Drain Pan (17) and/or plumbed to an external facility/building drain. Alternatively, a condensate collector tray may be drained by the user manually. A buoyant level switch could further alert the user of the condensate collector's full/empty status.

[051] The 180° Water Jacket (11) is shown as a half cylinder so it may be installed and maintained without disrupting the pressurized and sealed refrigerant line exiting the evaporator. A more traditional water jacket resembles a tube in a tube would be more disruptive to maintain/ install. This 180° Water Jacket (11) can be secured to the refrigerator's Evaporator Return Tube (23) with Thermally Conductive Adhesive/ Epoxy (19. Alternatively, a hose clamp or saddle clamp will also allow for easy a quick installation of the Water Jacket (11). See Fig. 9 for an example of Retention Barbs (13) which can be incorporated into the Water Jacket, allowing for the Water Jacket (11) to snap into place.

[052] The surface are of the cold plate (this is the surface area with the troughs) facing the food compartment should be approximately 15% of the total footprint (floor space), of the food compartment, or crisper) being controlled.

[053] The surface area of the Water Jacket in contact with the refrigerator's Refrigerant Tube (exiting the evaporator) (23) should be approximately half the surface area of the cold plate facing the food compartment. This ratio may vary depending on the flow rate of the heat transfer fluid. The flow rate of the heat transfer fluid should be set as low as possible to achieve a temperature just below the dew point temperature, (as the touch temperature) of the Cold Plate (22). The formation of condensation is an exothermic process. This heat, created by the formation of condensation, will offset some of the cold introduced into the crisper by the cold plate (22) and the heat transfer fluid.

[054] The heat transfer fluid (Coolanol, saltwater, ethylene glycol with water, propylene glycol with water, etc) flow should be sufficient to maintain a touch temperature at the Cold Plate (22) above the freezing temperature of water. This will ensure the condensate forming on the Cold Plate (22) does not freeze, which would preclude draining of condensate. This will ensure the device is maintained at a temperature below the dew point temperature in the Crisper (18). The heat transfer fluid will always be selected to have a freezing temperature below the freezing temperature of water as a precaution, to eliminate the possibility of the heat transfer fluid freezing.