Non-Polluting Refrigerant Technology Coming Soon to a Refrigerator Near You
Compressed fluorinated gases have been at the heart of refrigeration technology for more than 80 years. While certainly effective at keeping things cool, fluorinated gases are the bane of environmental health. When not punching holes in the ozone, they are a wicked source of greenhouse gases that are major contributors to global warming. A new technology, however, looks likely to change all that with the introduction of a refrigeration system that uses specific materials in conjunction with a magnetic field. The result? Efficient cooling that is renewable and non-polluting.
Spanish and German scientists are working on a solid refrigerant material that changes temperature when exposed to a magnetic field - a process known as a magnetocaloric effect. While the magnetocaloric effect is not a new discovery, scientists have also learned that applying a small amount of hydrostatic pressure to a nickel-manganese-iridium alloy maximizes the effect.
This research is good news on several levels. The refrigerant material and magnetocaloric effect combine to provide practical, sustainable cooling technology both for industrialized and technologically emergent nations. The fact that the technology is also efficient is promising for those seeking high-tech without a high-energy cost.
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