my group for the EWB project is investigating methods of improving the efficiency of food and drink refrigeration available to the community. Whilst the process by which refrigerators cool their contents is largely identical between small domestic units and larger commercial offerings, there are some differences in the components.
In order to ensure that our final design is an appropriate solution for the community, we would greatly appreciate any information you can provide on the following question.
Would the community prefer our focus to be on individually implemented solutions (e.g. small, domestic fridges), or would the community be open to the implementation of a large, communal solution (similar to a large-scale, industrial refrigerator) which would be accessible by the entire community?
Could you please provide us with the reasoning behind this preference in order to deepen our understanding of the needs of this community?
Thank you in advance for your assistance.
This is a great line of questioning to be going down.
I’ve got a few reflections/questions for you, that I think might inform your decision making here.
What are the relative energy demands and efficiencies of both options? Also, I’ve worked in locations with larger sized fridges which are constantly being opened and closed, causing fluctuating temperatures – this is ok if you’ve got strong energy reliability and availability, but how will this work on small solar/battery arrays? Will a larger freezer have independent power generation, and if so, what power redundancies are in place (eg back up diesel gen, option to connect to other solar pv/battery systems nearby)?
If you go with multiple regular domestic fridges, what are pro’s/cons comparatively? This option could be more flexible; as the contents of a fridge are used, and a resupply is days or weeks away, this fridge could be turned off to lower demand in the system. A larger fridge would need to be run constantly, regardless of the contents.
In terms of community preference, rather than forge ahead with one option, I think that if you feel both options have equal merit / pros/cons, you should present each of them. The community is motivated to store larger amounts of food than what they currently can (such as whole animals like buffalos), and ensure the ability to access this food over longer periods of time. Keep returning to the project brief; there isn’t a preference for a solution, beyond this central requirement of the ability to safely store more food for longer periods. If one, or both, of your proposed solutions could meet this brief, you can either make a call and proceed with one, or present both.
Hope this is helpful – your thought process is spot on!
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