01 June 2009

New Magnetic Refrigeration Cycle More Efficient

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Here is a clever way of saving energy, from New Energy and Fuel. The magnetic refrigeration cycle (left and above a-b-c-d) is analogous to the conventional refrigeration cycle using compressed refrigerant, seen in the 1-2-3-4 image at left. But it is more efficient.
Magnetic cooling and refrigeration is 20 to 30 percent more energy efficient than conventional vapor-compression refrigeration. The magnetic refrigerants are solids, so the hazardous, ozone-depleting and greenhouse chemicals are completely eliminated, making magnetic refrigeration one of the few, positively clean technologies.”

....Refrigeration and air conditioning units pose a major load to the planet’s energy consumption - in the U.S. in the summer months they account for approximately 50 percent of the country’s energy use. _NewEnergyandFuel
The basic concept is simple. A magnetocaloric material heats up when magnetized ; if cooled and then demagnetized , its temperature drops dramatically. [The material is then re-magnetised to repeat the cycle. AF]

Credit: Talbott, National Institute of Standards and Technology. via NewEnergyandFuel
Not only is the process more efficient, but it is simpler and less prone to breakdowns and leaks. You will still need thermostats, fans, blowers, and heat-exchange apparatus, but there will be no expensive compressors and refrigerant, no long liquid and vapour refrigerant lines prone to leaks.

Few people understand the huge impending financial impact of Montreal Protocol rules as implemented by the US EPA and other national environmental agencies. Based upon extremely questionable science, reliable and safe refrigerants are soon to be replaced by much more expensive refrigerants that require much more expensive and delicate mechanical systems -- more prone to break down and much harder to repair.

The cost of keeping cool is just about the shoot through the roof, thanks to the EPA and its buddies. That is why more efficient alternatives such as the magnetic refrigeration cycle are so welcome. Technology to the rescue, to save us from our own bureaucratic idiocy.

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Blogger Bruce Hall said...

Innovation is not always about new physics or electronics. Innovation simply means finding a better way that is feasible for the situation.

I remember in the late 1950s when my friend's father, an executive engineer, found a way to cool his 8,000 sf home for pennies. The home had a dumbwaiter (some homes had clothes shoots... just an opening in the center of the house to send clothes to the basement) that had been dismantled leaving a 1+ s.f. path from the basement to the third floor. He bought an old truck radiator and a heavy-duty electric fan with a shroud. The radiator was placed in front of the basement opening of the dumbwaiter and the fan positioned on the other side to blow air through the radiator.

He then set up a hose to trickle cold water into the radiator. A simple thermostat that turned on the fan and controlled the water flow through a valve completed the "system".

It didn't de-humidify the home, but it kept it at 70° all summer for practically nothing.

Much more efficient than a magnetic refrigeration unit.

Monday, 01 June, 2009  
Blogger al fin said...

Nice hack, Bruce. Geothermal solutions don't have to be expensive after all.

The magnetic refrigeration technology is meant more for small refrigerators for now. Think portable refrigerators.

Eventually the technology may well grow to cool houses and commercial properties.

If only architects learned the basics of energy management, buildings could save at least half their heating and cooling energy costs.

Wednesday, 03 June, 2009  

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