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Whirlpool to help develop gas-free refrigeration

Whirlpool Europe is set to partner university spin-off Camfridge on a project to deliver a domestic refrigerator, which uses revolutionary “magnetic refrigeration” technology.

The project, which has won funding from the Government’s Carbon Trust, officially started in mid 2009, and is due for completion in 2012, when a prototype will be displayed during London 2012 Olympic Games.

Magnetic refrigeration can free future refrigerators from heavy, noisy and heat-producing compressors by offering a high-efficiency, cool and gas-free solution to the industry and as well as consumers.

The scientific principle behind magnetic cooling is based on the discovery that certain materials, when exposed to a magnetic field, exhibit a temperature change.

When the magnetic field is removed, the materials will cool below their original temperature. Compared with gas refrigeration based on the use of compressors, this technology is more efficient and makes no use of environmentally harmful gases.

Whirlpool Europe president Bracken Darrell said: “We are still in an exploratory phase, but this technology looks very promising, and we are looking forward to offering millions of consumers worldwide this major, unprecedented revolution in their own kitchen.”

Carbon Trust head of research and development Robert Trezona said: “The products that Camfridge is working with us to develop could be truly game changing with significant global potential, and are capable of replacing conventional refrigeration systems in air conditioning, industrial processes and domestic applications.

“We are going through a Clean Tech Revolution and it is companies like Camfridge that will reap the benefits.”