A group of researchers at the Technical University of Denmark’s project laboratory in Risi¸ have discovered a cooling method that uses magnetic materials instead of electricity, reported daily free newspaper Nyhedsavisen.
The invention will allow for refrigerators to replace existing electric refrigerators in homes and businesses with a fully environmentally friendly power source: magnetism.
Although the first prototype of the magnetic refrigerator will not be ready until 2010, the project’s researchers say the appliance’s cooling cycle efficiency will be 60 percent greater than that of conventional refrigerators.
The new method uses opposing magnetic fields to increase the temperature of the materials employed. The heat energy is transported through a non-volatile fluid, such as water, and then thermodynamically reversed to a cold temperature. The scientists have already been able to cool a 20° C room to 11°C using the new technology.
‘It probably isn’t realistic to believe that magnetic cooling technology will be immediately available for consumer use, especially as refrigerator manufacturers have brought prices down so much in the past few years,’ said Christian Bahl, one of DTU’s project researchers.
But Bahl said another of the magnetic refrigerator‘s advantages is that it is silent.
‘So it will likely be first used in various niche areas, such as places where a quiet environment is an important factor.’
Although magnetic cooling is not in itself a new research field, the DTU scientists were the first to use the technology in an actual physical setting to cool room temperatures.
The Copenhagen Post