Are Crystals the Future of “Clean” Refrigeration?
Refrigeration has kept food from expiring, and data centres from melting down for nearly a century now. However, refrigeration currently requires a significant amount of energy. The gasses we use for cooling remain mostly inefficient at cooling, but Dr Xavier Moya may have a solution which happens to be a solid, and not a gas.
While it has been known for some time that many solids have the capacity for absorbing heat, and can be used for refrigeration, they have been shown to be even less energy efficient than the gasses – hydrofluorocarbons and hydrocarbons – used in most modern fridges, or heat-regulating units, today.
Dr Moya – a Senior Research Fellow of Cambridge University – claims that neopentylglycol may offer a more efficient way of keeping things cool. The crystal’s molecules are capable of drawing heat from their immediate environment when pressurised and then depressurised.
Moya claims that this process is ten times more effective than any other solid, and around the same as the best gas. It also has additional benefits which gasses don’t have, such as being less likely to leak; is cheap and widely available; and it poses no fire-risk.
Further research into the potential of these crystals will likely lead to even greater capacity.