Researchers from the UK and Spain have identified an eco-friendly solid that could replace the inefficient and polluting gases used in most refrigerators and air conditioners.
Refrigeration and air conditioning currently devour a fifth of the energy produced worldwide, and demand for cooling is only going up.
When put under pressure, plastic crystals of neopentylglycol yield huge cooling effects – enough that they are competitive with conventional coolants. In addition, the material is inexpensive, widely available and functions at close to room temperature. Details are published in the journal Nature Communications.
The gases currently used in the vast majority of refrigerators and air conditioners —hydrofluorocarbons and hydrocarbons (HFCs and HCs) — are toxic and flammable. When they leak into the air, they also contribute to global warming.
“Refrigerators and air conditioners based on HFCs and HCs are also relatively inefficient,” said Dr Xavier Moya, from the University of Cambridge, who led the research with Professor Josep Lluís Tamarit, from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. “That’s important because refrigeration and air conditioning currently devour a fifth of the energy produced worldwide, and demand for cooling is only going up.”
To solve these problems, materials scientists around the world have sought alternative solid refrigerants. Moya, a Royal Society Research Fellow in Cambridge’s Department of Materials Science and Metallurgy, is one of the leaders in this field.
In their newly-published research, Moya and collaborators from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya and the Universitat de Barcelona describe the enormous thermal changes under pressure achieved with plastic crystals.
Conventional cooling technologies rely on the thermal changes that occur when a compressed fluid expands. Most cooling devices work by compressing and expanding fluids such as HFCs and HCs. As the fluid expands, it decreases in temperature, cooling its surroundings.
With solids, cooling is achieved by changing the material’s microscopic structure. This change can be achieved by applying a magnetic field, an electric field or through mechanic force. For decades, these caloric effects have fallen behind the thermal changes available in fluids, but the discovery of colossal barocaloric effects in a plastic crystal of neopentylglycol (NPG) and other related organic compounds has levelled the playfield.
Due to the nature of their chemical bonds, organic materials are easier to compress, and NPG is widely used in the synthesis of paints, polyesters, plasticisers and lubricants. It’s not only widely available, but also is inexpensive.
NPG’s molecules, composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen, are nearly spherical and interact with each other only weakly. These loose bonds in its microscopic structure permit the molecules to rotate relatively freely.
The word “plastic” in “plastic crystals” refers not to its chemical composition but rather to its malleability. Plastic crystals lie at the boundary between solids and liquids.
Compressing NPG yields unprecedentedly large thermal changes due to molecular reconfiguration. The temperature change achieved is comparable with those exploited commercially in HFCs and HCs.
The discovery of colossal barocaloric effects in a plastic crystal should bring barocaloric materials to the forefront of research and development to achieve safe environmentally friendly cooling without compromising performance.
Moya is now working with Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, to bring this technology to market.
Learn more: Green material for refrigeration identified
The Latest on: Neopentylglycol
via Google News
The Latest on: Neopentylglycol
- Global Neopentyl Glycol (CAS 126-30-7) Market Outlook 2021on January 14, 2021 at 4:17 pm
(MENAFN - 24 Chemical Research) Neopentyl Glycol (CAS 126-30-7) market report includes specific segments by region (country), by company, by Type and by Application. This study provides ...
- Anhui Jinhe Industrial Co. Ltd.on January 14, 2021 at 4:00 pm
Stocks: Real-time U.S. stock quotes reflect trades reported through Nasdaq only; comprehensive quotes and volume reflect trading in all markets and are delayed at least 15 minutes. International ...
- Wanhua Chemical Group Co. Ltd. Aon January 13, 2021 at 1:00 pm
1 Day 600309 0.60% DJIA 0.19% S&P 500 0.04% Basic Materials/Resources -0.74% Zeng Tai Liao, 56 Chairman & President Wanhua Chemical Group Co. Ltd., Wanhua Industrial Group Co., Ltd. Xiao Sun, 57 ...
- Haptic Feedback Market 2021-2026 | Impact of COVID-19 and Improving Plans for the Industry and recent growth over the around the world.on January 6, 2021 at 10:00 pm
Final Report will add the analysis of the impact of COVID-19 on this industry." Global “Haptic Feedback Market” ...
- 11 Best Beard Creams: Compare & Saveon January 6, 2021 at 3:39 pm
Just because you don’t have it in you to achieve ZZ Top sized beards, that doesn’t mean they should give up on the hopes of soft luxurious facial hair. No matter what size whiskers you rock ...
- Use of methanol as amarine fuel driving the Methanol Marketon December 14, 2020 at 5:00 pm
“Browse 299 market data Tables and 56 Figures spread through 336 Pages and in-depth TOC on “Methanol Market”” Methanol Market by Feedstock (Natural Gas, Coal), Derivative (Formaldehyde ...
- Neopentyl Glycol Market Share Current and Future Industry Trends, 2020-2025on December 7, 2020 at 4:11 am
Dec 07, 2020 (Market Insight Reports) -- Selbyville, Delaware, Market Study Report LLC adds new research on Neopentyl Glycol market, which is a detailed analysis of this business space inclusive ...
- Neopentyl Glycol (NPG) Planton October 2, 2015 at 5:22 am
The project aims at establishing a neopentyl glycol plant with a capacity of 45k tpa. The plant is to be constructed in Jubail Industrial City within Sahara Petrochemicals Company premises. Required ...
via Bing News