Despite improvements in efficiency over the years, they remain one
of the biggest users of electricity in the home, relying on chemical
refrigerant and a compressor to transfer heat from the inside to the
outside of the fridge. GE researchers have now developed a new type of
refrigeration technology using magnets that is more environmentally
friendly and is predicted to be 20 to 30 percent more efficient that
current technology ... and it could be in household fridges by the end
of the decade.
Magnetic refrigeration is not a new idea. Ever since German physicist
Emil Warburg observed in the 1880s that certain materials changed
temperature when exposed to a changing magnetic field – known as the magnetocaloric effect – there have been efforts to create refrigerators based on the technique.
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