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Smart alloy could replace AC liquid refrigerants

The University of Maryland are developing a new smart alloy that could replace liquid refrigerants in air conditioners, saving money and reducing greenhouse gases.

The ‘thermally elastic’ metal alloy alternately absorbs or creates heat similar to a compressor based system, however it uses less energy and avoids the need for fluids with high global warming potential.

Eric Wachsman, University of Maryland energy research centre director, says: “Air conditioning represents the largest share of home electric bills in the summer, so the new technology could have significant consumer impact, as well as an important environmental benefit.

“The approach is expected to increase cooling efficiency by 175%, reduce US carbon dioxide emissions by 250 million metric tonnes per year and replace environmentally degrading liquid refrigerants.”

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