Scientists Examine Potential Solution to Make Refrigerators Energy-Efficient

A recent research has introduced a novel refrigerator equipped with a mechanism that can regulate and decrease transfer of heat between the freezer and ambient temperature.

Comfort in modern homes comes at the cost of various energy consuming devices such as air conditioners, coolers, geysers, and refrigerators. All of these have led household energy appliances to account for one of the largest energy uses in developed countries. Cooling and heating devices are responsible for approximately 47% of the energy consumption around the household. A team of researchers from the University of Science and Technology of China, University of Nottingham, and University of Ferrara, Italy collaborated to examine a potentially sustainable solution to make household refrigerators more efficient.

The researchers introduced a new cooling device equipped with ‘loop thermosyphon’ that can adjust and decrease the amount of heat transferred between the freezer and ambient temperature. Lead author Jingyu Cao says, “Energy efficiency of a normal refrigerator is affected by the heat-insulating property of the thermal barriers of the freezer. This is due to its low inner temperature. There is a significant difference in temperature between the freezer of a traditional refrigerator and ambient air temperature and the normal thermal barrier of the freezer causes considerable cold loss.”

Improving refrigerator’s energy consumption has been the subject of extensive research, however a conclusive solution has not been found yet. The study led by Jingyu Cao is based on theoretical calculation, however the research team believes that the results hold promise. “It has great potential to be popularized as a sustainable energy technology or applied in the renewable energy field, considering its significant energy-saving effect, simple structure and low cost.” Cao said.