Enterprise Development

AEROCHILL – Air Cycle Refrigeration


Dr Stephen Spence from the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Opportunity Status
The IP in the project is based on “know-how”.  The domain name www.aerochill.co.uk has been registered.  Queens would like to talk to partners interested in either a joint venture or licensing model to exploit this novel and exciting technology.

Please contact the KEU Business Development team below to discuss this further.

Dr Paul Donachy p.donachy@qub.ac.uk
Head of Business Development and Commercial Exploitation

Request Further Information: Project Number POC34 AEROCHILL

Project Number POC34

Project part financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland.

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Researchers at QUB have developed an energy efficient Air Cycle Refrigeration unit that is capable of achieving very low temperatures without the use of harmful CFC’s or refrigerant gases.


The worldwide refrigeration and air conditioning industry is undergoing radical changes. The major cause of this is climate change and its consequences.

International agreements have been introduced like the Montreal and Kyoto Protocols, dealing with the protection of the ozone layer (lowering levels of Industrial gases and CFC’s) and the greenhouse effect (reducing levels of greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur hexafluoride).

Technologies to reduce harmful emissions outlined by the Montreal and Kyoto agreements whilst meeting the growing energy demands of modern business is a great area of interest and research worldwide.

Researchers and QUB have designed and built a novel Air Cycle Refrdigeration unit. The energy efficient system is capable of reaching temperatures as low as -80 degree C and has been tested to 30,000 rev/min.

The unit is based upon specialist turbo machinary designedand manufactured at QUB. The novel unit contains unique a compressor wheel and turbo design.  Rotordynamic modelling enabled critical frequencies to be determined in conjunction with the use of a hybrid ceramic spindle bearing. The following is a section through one turbo-compressor unit.

design 34b

Demonstration system below

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Sectors within the refrigeration market:

  • Air Conditioning
  • Commercial (over 300,000 units in UK)
  • Industrial (around 15,000 enterprises in UK)
  • Transport (containers, ships, trucks and vans)
  • Domestic

Air conditioning - £20bn global (£0.7bn UK)
Commercial & industrial - £15bn global (£0.5bn UK)