LUDWIGSHAFEN, Germany, and LAS VEGAS — Haier, Astronautics Corporation of America, and BASF have introduced at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas a proof-of-concept wine cooler refrigerated by a magnetocaloric heat pump.

The heat pump utilizes magnetocaloric materials, which 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.

One key to its success, said the companies, is a class of functional materials based on manganese and iron developed by BASF and its partner Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. “Together with our research colleagues who are well-experienced in functional materials as well as in systems solutions and modelling, we developed this innovative class of materials,” said Andreas Riehemann, managing director of BASF New Business GmbH. “Together with our partners we can develop tailor-made functional materials for our customers’ cooling applications.” The magnetocaloric materials consist of abundant and affordable raw materials. They feature high performance across the whole range of temperatures relevant to refrigeration as well as high volume stability under operating conditions. BASF will sell these materials under the Quice® brand.

Astronautics provided the specialized expertise to integrate the new materials into the magnetocaloric heat pump. “By operating an integrated wine cooler prototype we demonstrate that magnetocaloric technology has the potential to revolutionize the cooling industry,” said Dr. Steven L. Russek, director of the Astronautics Technology Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Using BASF’s magnetocaloric materials, Astronautics developed the magnetocaloric heat pump and along with Haier integrated it into the prototype wine cooler. Theoretical studies indicate that refrigeration systems based on the magnetocaloric effect can be up to 35 percent more energy efficient than vapor compression systems. In addition, cooling systems based on magnetocaloric materials will operate with less noise due to the absence of a compressor. This technology makes use of water-based coolants instead of refrigerants.

Haier contributed its knowledge of appliances and led the prototype development of the wine cooler which is now equipped with the magnetocaloric heat pump. “The investment in the world’s first magnetocaloric wine cooler symbolizes Haier’s determination to be truly customer-focused and forward-thinking,” said Dr. Tao Xie, director of disruptive technology of the Haier America Tech Center in Evansville, Indiana. “We are constantly challenging ourselves for disruptive ways to deliver new user experiences and be socially responsible for the community and the environment. The magnetocaloric wine cooler prototype shows great promise to help our customers save energy, cut utility bills, and reduce operating noise. As an environmentally friendly technology that produces zero ozone depleting gases or greenhouse gases, it is a technology Haier is aggressively pursuing.” Haier plans to introduce the technology into the market within the next couple of years providing a compressor free cooling alternative. The partners plan to continue their cooperation to achieve this goal.

For more information about BASF, visit

For more information about Astronautics Corporation of America, visit

For more information about Haier, visit

Publication date: 1/5/2015

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