Magnetic refrigeration is a promising technology that uses solid, non-volatile magnetic materials as the active components and alcohol or water as the medium for heat transport. This new technology is attracting more players and manufacturers in magnetic refrigeration market due to the important properties of low energy consumption and environmentally friendly cooling at a low price. Refrigeration is very essential to many industries such as food processing sectors, pharmaceutical industries, materials manufacturing industries and many more. In traditional refrigerators, a circulating refrigerant such as Freon are used as coolants.
This new magnetic refrigeration technology used for heating or cooling is a potential low carbon technology and has gained popularity in the market over the conventional vapour compression refrigeration method and sees a great future ahead. Magnetic Refrigeration Principle was discovered by Emil Warburg in 1881. This principle, called the magnetocaloric effect (MCE) uses the property of exotic materials – such as gadolinium and dysprosium – which heat up when a magnetic field is applied to them and cool down when the magnetic field is removed.
The magnetic refrigeration market and its technology primarily aim to reduce the dreaded global warming effect which is a concern to environmentalists since a while now. At the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 21, in Paris, world leaders discussed to limit global warming to below 2°C by 2100. The talks were aimed to reduce the release of greenhouse gas to avoid serious climate catastrophes around the world. This needs the use of zero carbon technologies.
Magneto-caloric cooling technology is one such innovation of the cooling and freezing industry which can help save the environment by deleting the use of greenhouse gases use as coolants in traditional methods.
A few more advantages of the technology of magnetic refrigeration market and technology cover estimated 20% to 35% in energy usage reduction compared to a standard vapour-compression system; and by completely eliminating compressors, caloric cooling reduces noise, vibration and mechanical maintenance, as well as the risks of refrigerant leaks.
Considerable progress has already been made towards the commercialization of magneto-caloric cooling in magnetic refrigeration market. Materials capable of producing the magneto-caloric effect (heating and cooling) being used include alloy of manganese, iron, phosphorus and silicon (Quice, from BASF in Germany) and an alloy of lanthanum, iron and silicon (Calorivac, from Vacuumschmelze in Germany).
In one of the Consumer Electronics Show in 2015, BASF, Haier and the Astronautics Corp. of America showcased a wine cooler using a magneto-caloric heat pump, while Cooltech demonstrated a medical fridge employing magnetic refrigeration at the MEDICA show .
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