Eurammon Natural Refrigeration Award Goes to Alumnus Stefan Elbel
UIUC Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering alumnus Stefan Elbel (MSME ’03, Ph.D. ME ’07) is one of three recipients to be awarded the Natural Refrigeration Award by Eurammon, the European initiative for natural refrigerants. The award is given in recognition of the best scientific theses in the field of natural refrigerants. Dr. Elbel received his award for his doctoral thesis research on “Experimental and Analytical Investigation of a Two-phase Ejector Used for Expansion Work Recovery in a Transcritical R744 Air-conditioning System.” The work was conducted in the MechSE Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Center (ACRC).
The three winners of this year’s award researched different aspects of the natural refrigerant carbon dioxide. According to Monika Witt, chairwoman of Eurammon, “Carbon dioxide is a promising refrigerant as it is neither flammable nor toxic. It protects the ozone layer, and with a reference value of 1, it has low direct global warming potential. No other refrigerant offers this combination of characteristics. Its high operating pressure and low critical temperature, however, place specific demands on designers, manufacturers and operators. Meeting this challenge and further harnessing the potential of carbon dioxide for use in refrigeration engineering is one of the most exciting tasks of our industry.”
Dr. Elbel previously received recognition for his work by the International Institute of Refrigeration. In 2006 his paper “Experimental Validation and Design Study of a Transcritical CO2 Prototype Ejector System,” won the best paper award at the 7th IIR Gustav Lorentzen Conference on Natural Working Fluids in Trondheim, Norway. He also won the organization’s “Willis H. Carrier” Award as the best young researcher in air conditioning and heat pump sciences for the period 2003-2007.
Dr. Elbel is the Chief Engineer at Creative Thermal Solutions, a Champaign-Urbana-based company which offers experimental investigation and evaluation of refrigeration systems and components. Their service includes fabrication of components and complete facilities for measurements. The company offers education and training for practicing engineers as well.