Prototype wine cooler using magnetic refrigeration

A prototype wine cooler using magnetocaloric technology was presented at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2015.
A prototype wine cooler using magnetocaloric technology has been presented at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
The magnetocaloric heat pump incorporated within the Haier wine cooler is the result of a collaboration between global technology company Astronautics Corporation of America and chemical company BASF.

A magnetocaloric heat pump, a cooling device based on magnetocaloric materials, is an alternative to traditional compressor-based refrigeration technology. Magnetocaloric materials heat up when put in a magnetic field and cool down when removed from the magnetic field. In the magnetocaloric heat pump, heat is transferred from the cold interior of the wine cooler to the warm surrounding air by shuttling a water based coolant through the magnetocaloric materials as they go in and out of the magnetic field.

According to BASF, theoretical studies demonstrate that refrigeration systems based on the magnetocaloric effect can be up to 35% more energy-efficient than vapour compression systems. Furthermore, cooling systems based on magnetocaloric materials will produce less noise during operation due to the absence of a compressor. This technology makes use of water-based coolants instead of gaseous refrigerants.

However, one of the major difficulties was to find effective magnetocaloric materials to produce a system that would be commercially viable in terms of size, weight and cost. More precisely, the technology, developed by BASF and its partner Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, is based on manganese and iron, both abundant and affordable materials.
BASF states that its high performance materials feature optimum magnetocaloric properties across the whole range of temperatures relevant to refrigeration as well as high volume stability under operating conditions. The wine chiller is designed to achieve a temperature of 8 to 12ºC in a normal room temperature environment.

Haier plans to introduce the technology onto the market within the next couple of years.