Our refrigerator is probably the only appliance in the house that remains permanently switched on. Though various technologies have improved energy efficiency in refrigerators, it is still based on the compressor-gas process, similar to that of air conditioners. Solid state refrigerators, the other alternative, have not yet caught up, mainly due to lower efficiency.
Cooltech Applications has launched a magnetic refrigeration system (MRS), the first commercially available product based on MRS. It works on a process called the magnetiocaloric effect, in which the temperature of some materials can be altered by exposure to a magnetic field. In a MRS, magnetocaloric materials undergo a cycle of magnetization and demagnetization and the heat is transferred through a water coolant pumped through the system.
As the refrigerant here is just water, there is no concern of environmentally damaging gases, which is the case with regular refrigerators. Most commercial refrigerants have high global warming potential and are always under the scanner from environmental agencies.
Cooltech claims that this refrigerator would consume only half the energy of a regular one. It emits less noise and vibration and is low on maintenance. As per concerns about magnetic emissions, it is lower than a magnet that you put on the fridge’s door. GE had first showcased magnetic cooling tech, but the system was complex and not feasible. Apart from this 400W fridge, Cooltech is also developing 20KW industrial refrigerators. This new tech promises to change the refrigeration industry completely and we’re hoping they’ll do something for the air conditioning industry as well.
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