UFSC laboratory develops air conditioning free of greenhouse gases

Deepak Gupta
Deepak Gupta January 22, 2022
Updated 2022/01/22 at 3:13 AM

THE Refrigeration and Thermophysics Research Laboratory (Pole) gives Federal University of Santa Catarina developed a air conditioner that operates with a magnetic refrigeration unit. The project, which has the support of the Social Organization (OS) Brazilian Industrial Research and Innovation Company (Embrapii), aims to be the first system of its kind in the world. This type of technology does not release greenhouse gases (GHG) and consumes less energy.

Brazilian technology sustainable air conditioner

The difference of a air conditioner with magnetic operation is the use of alternative technology to mechanical compression (used in conventional models), free of greenhouse gases and toxic or flammable substances. Its physical principle is the magnetocaloric effect, characterized in some materials as a temperature variation proportional to the applied magnetic field variation.

The purpose of the initiative is? design and build a prototype air conditioner with a capacity of 9000 BTU/h (2.6 kW) operated by a permanent magnet magnetic refrigerator and solid refrigerants The? based on rare earth elements (lanthanum, iron and silicon alloys).

You 9000 BTU/h split type appliances are the most sold air conditioner model in Brazil. The split category, in its entire range of capabilities, is responsible for about 80% of the national market. Most of the air conditioners currently in operation use R-410A refrigerant gas, that have global warming potential (GWP) about two thousand times greater than that of carbon dioxide, considering a period of 100 years.

Other refrigerants (gases, not beverages), such as hydrocarbons, despite having much lower GWP, encounter obstacles to? their entry into the market because they are highly flammable. In this way, the search for new technologies and? at the same time natural and timely, as long as such alternatives are capable of meeting energy efficiency and sustainability requirements.

Due to the high theoretical potential of efficiency of the thermodynamic cycles used in magnetic refrigeration, this technology has received large investments from RD&I (Research, Development and Innovation) in the international scenario, making it possible, in the medium term, to become a competitor of conventional technologies in some application niches.

The initiative has already been awarded the ABCM-Embraer 2020 of Research in Mechanical Engineering, in the Best Course Completion Work/Graduation Work category. In December 2021, the UFSC filed a patent for the invention of this technology with the INPI. The research project received more than 2.36 million reais in investments from Embrapii and investments of Minas Gerais Development Company (codemge).


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