A magnetic cooling startup company in Darmstadt, Germany, has attracted the equivalent of more than $AU10 million in funding to begin mass production of its beverage refrigerators, which are cooled by a temperature-active metal.
The company, MagnoTherm Solutions, was established in 2019 by a team of specialists in the field of permanent magnets and magnetic cooling from the Technical University of Darmstadt.
Instead of using conventional refrigerants, the magnetic cooling technology exploits the magnetocaloric effect in iron-based rare earth alloys. These heat up when magnetised and cool down when demagnetised. With a circulating heat exchange fluid, the heat and cold is captured from the material into water-x heat exchangers.
According to the company, magnetic cooling devices are 40 per cent more energy efficient than compression-based systems. They are also adaptable to operating temperatures between -100°C and +80°C, with temperature spans up to 50K. And because of low operating pressures of 2–3bar, the company says maintenance is safe and easy.
“Our magnetic cooling is not only up to 40 per cent more efficient than conventional solutions, but also produces no direct greenhouse gases,” says MagnoTherm co-CEO Timur Sirman.
“With ‘Polaris’, we have developed the first magnetic beverage cooler, making us the world’s first commercial supplier of this technology at room temperature. With the financing, we are pushing ahead … and accelerating the market development for sustainable refrigerated shelves in food retail.”
Extantia Capital partner Torben Schreiter says they have been following the team at MagnoTherm for some time and are impressed with what they are billing as the world’s first sustainable refrigerator.
“Their highly efficient and sustainable cooling systems are the result of years of research, and they are pioneering a technology that will be part of everyday life in the future, be it through the preservation of products or as a key element of the hydrogen economy,” says Schreiter.
“As true pioneers who have found a smart solution to an important climate problem, [the founders] are poised to accelerate their journey to commercialise a scientific breakthrough.”