Development and Evaluation of an Alternative Ice House Refrigeration System

Final Report for FNE93-006

Project Type: Farmer
Funds awarded in 1993: $1,500.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/1994
Region: Northeast
State: Rhode Island
Project Leader:
Charles Chase
Charlie's Sugarhouse
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Project Information


Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE93-006.

My experimental results as of March 18th, 1994 are that with an operating period of 37 days, a solid block of ice having dimensions of 12 ft by 12 by 18" was formed. My first use of the cold storage took place in mid-march, 1994. The maple syrup season was uncommonly short, being approximately 21 days long in comparison to a normal season of 40 days. During a normal season, I produced approximately 60 gallons of syrup. This year I bottled 80 gallons. More sap flowed than I could manage. Rather than boiling for 24 hours straight, which tends to make me, shall we say, not a pleasant person to be around, I stored the extra sap in barrels kept on top of the ice in my ice house. With temperatures climbing into the "60's" and "70's" in late march, 1994, Ii could get a good nights sleep knowing that my sap would stay at the temperature of 34 degrees F for the next could of weeks. I was able to continue boiling sap for 3 weekends past the end of the maple syrup season.

In April, 1994, I purchased 30 thousand tree seedlings and expected to finish planting them before the end of the month. Due to labor problems and other circumstances, the planting was extended into late May, 1994. The entire length of the ice house was required to store all of the trees. Although the trees did not dry out because of the high humidity provided by the melting ice, the room temperature rose to 40 degrees F and higher due to insulation of the ice by the trees. I cut blocks of ice and placed them on top of the trees to keep them cooler. As of the time of this report, less than 5% mortality of trees has been observed compared to the expected 10% to 20% expected mortality.


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  • William Reynolds


Participation Summary
Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.