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Organic materials for barocaloric cooling

Advantages

  • Energy efficient solid-state materials, with no volatile hydrocarbons
  • Cheap synthesis from readily available materials
  • Large entropy change at temperature close to room temperature with low hysteresis
  • Small pressure changes required
  • Fast initial cooling at start-up

Goal

Partners are sought to further develop the technology through a co-development of materials for a range of applications and/or license agreement.

Intellectual Property

International Patent Application WO 2018/069506 A1.

Priority date: October 2016

Reference

UBTT0299-E

Contact

Eva Martín
Email: emartin@fbg.ub.edu
Tel: +34 934 031 995

Executive summary

Researchers from the University of Cambridge, the University of Barcelona and the Technical University of Catalonia have identified a new class of solid-state materials which can demonstrate cooling performance similar to that in commercially available products but without the environmental issues associated with liquid-vapour-phase cycles. This is expected to enable a new generation of cooling devices, from refrigeration to air conditioning. The team is now keen to collaborate with suitable partners for development of the technology.

Introduction

Environmentally damaging CFCs were replaced in vapour-compression cooling systems by less efficient gases that have greenhouse effects comparable to CO2. There are still issues with leakages and appliance end-of-life disposal due to the use of these gases, as well as lower efficiencies leading indirectly to increased carbon emissions. Solid-state coolants have the potential to solve all the problems with environmentally damaging gas leaks and inefficiency, but they come with their own challenges. The new class of materials identified overcomes the limitations of solid-state coolants studied to date, having large entropy changes at temperatures close to room temperature even for small external pressure changes, and demonstrates low hysteresis across the cycle, providing a design which could be adapted to multiple cooling applications without significant technical challenges.

Description

These materials may allow the design of more energy efficient refrigeration units and air conditioning units, compared to current state of-the-art refrigeration technologies, but could also enable applications which are currently limited, such as seat cooling in automotive vehicles.

Other applications requiring cooling could also benefit from this new approach, which is potentially much smaller and less cumbersome than air and ground source cooling pumps, and which also could remove the need for large volumes of water and the corresponding problems of metal corrosion associated with water cooling in industrial processes. Many of these processes could be effectively cooled using system designs with these new materials.

Current stage of development

Different organic materials exhibiting large barocaloric effects have been synthesized. A prototype device of cooling device is being built.

 

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Tags: Physical Sciences, Química, energía y recursos