A quiet energy efficient fridge, coffee table that can chill drinks, radiant on-demand temperature control for rooms. All this could become reality with large scale semiconductor cooling, and a US-based start-up might just have what it takes to make it happen.
Semiconductor cooling is not a new thing. We all have heard about little devices that use it, most commonly known as Peltier devices, but so far the scale has been relatively small and not able to meet day to day user needs. Of course, as it is with everything, the supply is always determined by the demand, and the demand for an efficient full scale technology of this type is surely incredibly high. After all, who would not want a super quiet, energy efficient fridge that has no moving parts and does not run on toxic refrigerants?
A small start-up based in Durham, NC, called Phononic, is looking to revolutionize cooling technology. The guys have managed to create a thermoelectric heat pump, which is big and strong enough to power a full scale refrigerator. What is more, they have also managed to implement the technology into a next-generation window air conditioners.
This is only the beginning, as the guys behind the company have set their aims much higher. Their imagination goes way beyond the kitchen, in fact, they have planned to launch a gadget for every single room of the house- think for example a coffee table that can cool your drink in the living room while you watch TV.
The first product to hit the market will be a reliable and clean mini-fridge, which for now would be sold only to laboratories and medical centers. Most probably this is because the demand for such technology is the highest in that field. However, having a toxin- and noise-free fridge that allows you to place it anywhere in the house without any worries, is so tempting, that I am sure it will appear on the commercial market very soon.
The products are so great that in no time they managed to help the start-up secure external investment of $44 million.
Image (c) Phononic