ATLANTA - A miniaturized cooling system being studied through ASHRAE research could make it possible to safely transport tissues and organs without electricity.

Research for the device is being funded by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. According to the society, the cooling system could also have an immense impact in the medical field for patients suffering from diseases such as multiple sclerosis, whose mobility is impaired in part due to their sensitivity to temperature changes.

"These mass-producible, modular and portable cooling systems are expected to offer revolutionary means of cooling at the small scale under environmentally challenging conditions," said Matthew Determan, researcher with Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta.

ASHRAE announced that it is also funding 11 new projects with a total cost of $103,000. The recipients for grant money were chosen by the society's research administration committee at ASHRAE's 2006 winter meeting. The grants are awarded to full-time graduate students of society-related technologies.

Other ASHRAE-funded graduate student projects include the study of twin rotary compressors, heat pumps for northern climates, and ventilation effectiveness for air quality control in plant and animal environments.

The society also awarded $120,000 for 26 undergraduate studies. One of the grants will go to Florida International University in Miami. The university will design a new type of residential ventilator with enthalpy wheel heat recovery, which ASHRAE says will minimize additional energy use while improving indoor air quality.

The undergraduate grants will also fund studies to design a multipurpose heat exchanger apparatus, an HFC-407C machine cooler demonstrator in refrigeration labs, and a fan-duct system for use in mechanical engineering laboratories.