Air-conditioning, how it all began in 1833 in Florida with John Gorrie.
Ca. 20% of the world’s energy budget is used for cooling, tendency upwards. Today most refrigerators use flammable hydro-fluorocarbons and hydrocarbons as a working fluid, not exactly environmentally friendly. On top of that, cooling efficiency is not stellar either.
Researchers from Spanish and British universities propose to swap the working fluids mentioned above, with inexpensive neopentyl-glycol (NPG), a material that has a crystal structure, that places it between solids and liquids, due to weak bonds between the atoms of the compound. The material can be compressed, almost as if it were a gas, like with conventional refrigerators. Achievable cooling temperatures are comparable with conventional cooling machines.
[sciencedaily.com] – Green material for refrigeration identified
[nature.com] – Colossal barocaloric effects near room temperature in plastic crystals of neopentylglycol
[wikipedia.org] – Refrigeration
[wikipedia.org] – Neopentyl-glycol
It has been reported that plastic crystals of neopentyl glycol exhibit a colossal barocaloric effect (CBCEs), which is a cooling effect caused by pressure-induced phase transitions. The obtained entropy changes are about 389 joules per kilogram per kelvin near room temperature. This CBCE phenomenon is likely to be very useful in future solid-state refrigeration technologies.