The Sherbeck Cycle


Global warming concerns, large operating costs, and potential efficiency gains regarding ejector refrigeration systems have caused scientists to research and improve their reliability, maintenance, and performance. Ejector refrigeration systems can operate using natural refrigerants like water and low-grade heat like waste or solar heat, but suffer various drawbacks. For instance, many refrigeration systems today are open cycles, which permit contamination from dust in the air and minerals in the water. Moreover, open cycles combined with the use of turbo machinery result in noise pollution and tend to consume large quantities of water. To address this, scientists are now looking to design a closed system with improved efficiency and lower maintenance that is more environmentally friendly.

Researchers at ASU have developed a closed cycle that uses a gas, refrigerant, and desiccant (a moisture-absorbing substance) to produce power and refrigeration from low-grade heat. The closed system leverages a desiccant to extract water and use as the working fluid driving refrigeration, eliminating the need to consume costly, treated water. Furthermore, the desiccant mitigates fluid losses and permits condensation of greater quantities of water for cooling, further reducing cost and improving efficiency. In summary, the Sherbeck Cycle is a closed-loop refrigeration process with a simplified design that uses recycled components from different stages, simplifying maintenance and reducing cost.

Potential Applications

  • Industrial-scale Refrigeration
  • Off-grid/Solar Power Generation
  • Ozone Depletion and Global Warming Mitigation

Benefits and Advantages

  • Lower Cost – The extracted water from the desiccant drives refrigeration without the need for expensive, treated water and heating
  • Improved Efficiency – The system reuses heat energy from heat input and again as waste energy from the condensers, increasing the efficiency
  • Low-Maintenance – The closed cycle reduces contamination and allows external cleaning without disassembly of the plant, simplifying and extending useful life
  • Increased Functional Range – The closed cycle allows a wider range of possible working fluids to produce different evaporator temperatures
  • Sustainable – The system permits shaft power to drive an alternator for electricity production that can be stored to provide lighting at night

For more information about the inventor(s) and their research, please see:

Jonathan Sherbeck's directory webpage

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Jonathan Sherbeck

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