Cool with Less Energy: Ultra-Low Temperature Freezers with Stirling Engines

February 21, 2013
1 p.m. – 2 p.m.
Eastern Standard Time


Conventional cascade compressor freezers are the norm in laboratories across the world, but there is a new technology that is able to keep materials cool and use about half the energy to do so. Let us introduce you to Stirling engine technology in this application. Field trials testing Stirling engines at a number of bio-repositories, research facilities, and biotech companies have shown steady-state energy savings of 30 to 50 percent over conventional cascade compressor freezers. During this presentation, Neill Lane of Stirling Ultracold shared how new freezer technology can utilize the Stirling engine, in combination with a gravity driven thermosiphon, to cool the interior of freezers. Mr. Lane also shared how the efficient cooling system reduces electric power consumption, HVAC loading, electrical infrastructure and back-up power, and the noise generated by cooling fans.

Participants in this discussion learned:

  • The technology differences between linear free-piston Stirling engines and conventional cascade compressors in ultra-low temperature freezers.
  • The life cycle costs of a mechanical ultra-low -80°C freezer.
  • The operations and new construction cost for Stirling engine-powered freezers compared to cascade compressor freezers.
  • The sustainability benefits Stirling engine freezers can offer.

Registration and Recording

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Professional Development Hours and Continuing Education Credits

Attendees of this course and those who view the recording can earn one Professional Development Hour (PDH) for professional engineers or one Learning Unit (LU) from the American Institute of Architects for registered architects.

Contact I2SL if you would like to receive a professional development credit for viewing the webinar.

Instructor Biography

Neill Lane is President and CEO of Stirling Ultracold, Division of Global Cooling, Inc. located in Athens, Ohio. Previously he was a co-founder and the President of Blight to Bright LLC, an Ohio developer of large-scale solar installations. He served as Executive-in-Residence with TechGROWTH Ohio, a pre-seed fund providing funding and assistance to early stage, innovative technology companies, and for 10 years as President and CEO of Sunpower Inc., in Athens, Ohio.

Mr. Lane was born and grew up in Zimbabwe and graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He started his career as a lecturer in thermodynamics and has worked in clean energy his entire career, from developing biofuels as a graduate student to leading the development of world's first solar thermal free-piston Stirling engine.

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