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Rapid Cooling Using Ice Slurries for Industrial and Medical Applications

Argonne National Laboratory

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Schematic of distributed-load ice slurry building cooling system
Schematic of distributed-load ice slurry building cooling system

Endoscopic view of a swine kidney covered with ice slurry delivered laparoscopically by using Argonne delivery equipment
Endoscopic view of a swine kidney covered with ice slurry delivered laparoscopically by using Argonne delivery equipment

Technology Marketing SummaryUnder funding from DOE in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Argonne researchers developed ice slurry technology for industrial and municipal applications—specifically, to replace chilled-water cooling systems in building complexes. Because of the high energy content of ice slurry, its cooling capacity is many times greater than that of single-phase fluids. Ice slurry coolants in HVAC systems can therefore provide more efficient cooling, with substantially lower operational and equipment costs. Recently, Argonne researchers have also teamed up with doctors at the University of Chicago to develop the use of ice slurries in medical applications.DescriptionHVAC is the largest energy consumer in commercial buildings in the U.S., accounting for over a third of total energy consumption. One solution is to use ice slurry coolants in HVAC systems, which can increase cooling efficiency and substantially lower operational and equipment costs over chilled water systems. Argonne researchers have been conducting key research on using ice slurry coolants for HVAC applications. However, a major bottleneck was the ability to produce slurry with ice loadings approaching 50% by weight, store it, and then distribute it in a piping network without plugging the pipes. Argonne researchers solved that problem by engineering a proprietary ice slurry containing ice particles that are globular and smooth. As a result, the ice slurry can be stored in a tank without agglomeration and can be pumped through pipes at very high ice particle loading without plugging.

Ice slurry technology is not limited to HVAC applications: Argonne researchers, working with University of Chicago (UC) doctors, have developed and patented a special ice slurry that can be injected intravenously, intra-arterially, over the external surfaces of organs by using laparoscopy, or even via endotracheal tube. The ice slurry selectively cools organs to prevent or limit ischemic damage after a stroke or heart attack. Researchers have successfully completed medical exploratory slurry tests on animals that simulated such conditions as in-hospital kidney laparoscopic procedures.
BenefitsIndustrial:
  • Greatly increases delivered cooling capacity over chilled water and other single-phase coolants
  • Reduces equipment size, including chillers, storage tanks, and piping
  • Reduces equipment costs


Medical:
  • Can be pumped easily through narrow catheters, providing high cooling capacity and rapid and targeted cooling of organs
  • Provides protective cooling and temperature management of target organs during surgery
  • May help victims of cardiac arrest, stroke and other medical emergencies
Applications and Industries
  • HVAC
  • Medicine
  • Food preservation
More InformationThis technology is protected by a portfolio of issued patents and pending applicationsTechnology Status
Development StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
Production - Industrial: Proof of concept has been demonstrated on a pilot-scale system. Medical: Proof of concept has been demonstrated in animal studies; an automated and integrated prototype device for making and delivering ice slurry has been developedAvailable06/02/201003/25/2011

Contact ANL About This Technology

To: Elizabeth Brewer<ebrewer@anl.gov>