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Magnetocaloric Refrigeration

Researchers demonstrate General Electric's magnetocaloric system. <br />
Photo courtesy of General Electric

Researchers demonstrate General Electric's magnetocaloric system.
Photo courtesy of General Electric

Lead Performer: Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Oak Ridge, TN
Partner: General Electric - Fairfield, CT
DOE Funding: $2,105,000
Project Term: Aug. 2013 - Sept. 2016

Project Objective

This project is developing a residential refrigerator/freezer with 20% lower energy consumption relative to current U.S. Department of Energy minimum efficiency standards. The refrigerator will be designed to use the magnetocaloric (MCE) effect rather than a conventional vapor compression cycle and thus reduce greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating the use of high-global-warming-potential refrigerants. Refrigeration technologies based on MCE are fluorocarbon-free and offer potential energy savings of 20%–30% over conventional vapor compression systems. 

Project Impact

ORNL estimates the potential savings to be 0.28–0.42 quads annually, assuming full market penetration. This project addresses the Building Technologies Office’s goal of developing highly energy-efficient appliance equipment that will significantly reduce overall energy needs in new and existing buildings.

Contacts

DOE Technology Manager: Tony Bouza
Performer: Ed Vineyard, Oak Ridge National Laboratory