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Future refrigerators may run on magnetic technology

tech reviews Updated: Feb 11, 2014 11:20 IST

Researchers are reportedly working on magnetic refrigeration technology that could make the need for compressors obsolete.

The age-old compressor system has been the standard cooling force for almost around a century, however, new tech could swap them with magnetocaloric effect from magnets.

According to Cnet, researchers at GE labs have developed a prototype machine that runs a water-based fluid through a series of magnets, based on the magnetocaloric effect, which describes what happens when certain kinds of metal alloys get hot when near magnets, and cool when pulled away.

The prototype, with the size of a cart, can reduce the temperature by 80 degrees.

Lead researcher Venkat Venkatakrishnan said that the innovation leads them to the cusp of next refrigeration revolution

The report said that the GE labs estimated a magnetic refrigerator would be 20 to 30 % more efficient than its compressor-using cousins, and would not require chemical refrigerants, which would result in energy savings and make the process of recycling old machines much simpler.