“Smart” Metal to Make Air-Conditioning 175% More Efficient

by , 07/19/10

sustainable design, new materials, green building, smart metal, university of maryland, air conditioning, green design

You know the drill: the temperature shoots up, the central air-conditioning goes on full-blast, and your electric bill climbs into the stratosphere. A new “smart” metal developed by researchers at the University of Maryland could change all that by increasing the efficiency and reducing the emissions of air-conditioning and refrigeration systems by up to 175%.

The “thermally elastic” alloy, which is supported by a $500,000 grant from the US Department of Energy, works like a traditional compressor-based system, but uses far less energy. The University of Maryland team explains, “The approach is expected to increase cooling efficiency 175 percent, reduce U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 250 million metric tons per year, and replace liquid refrigerants that can cause environmental degradation in their own right.”

There is still plenty of work to be done before smart metals can be deployed. Prototype testing begins soon, and after that, there is a long road to commercial production. But considering that air-conditioning systems represent the largest portion of home electric bills during the summer, the sooner this technology is released, the better.

+ University of Maryland

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  1. nibs July 26, 2010 at 10:55 am

    sorta a typo – emissions can’t be reduced by 175% as you said. you can only reduce to zero emission, which would be a 100% reduction. the source says effiency is improved 175%

    careful with mistakes – that kind of sloppiness fuels idiotic global warming doubters who extrapolate specific errors to the whole concept being a farce

    obviously a neat piece of technology though!

  2. travisd July 19, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    is this just a Peltier device?

    Already used in cars and in this product:

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