Refrigerator technology makes gains

GE Appliances is developing magnetic refrigeration for residential use, a technology that needs no refrigerants or compressors and promises to increase the energy efficiency of refrigerators by 20 percent.

Magnetic refrigeration — technically called magnetocaloric refrigeration — is not a new concept, but it hasn't yet been used in residential refrigeration. That should happen within five years, the company said in a news release.

Here's how GE describes the technology:

"The system uses a water-based fluid rather than a chemical refrigerant such as Freon to transfer heat from inside the refrigerator and achieve the cooling process. Instead of a compressor, magnets are used to create a magnetic field that agitates particles in the fluid causing it to cool. The strength of the magnetic fields determines how cold the fluid becomes, and in turn, how quickly it cools the refrigerator."

The lack of refrigerant also will make recycling used refrigerators easier and cheaper, noted Venkat Venkatakrishnan, GE Appliances' director of advanced technologies.


Reader Reaction
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form. New comments are only accepted for two weeks from the date of publication.
COUPON OF THE WEEK