Present and future caloric refrigeration and heat pump technologies (Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ljubljana)

Authors:Andrej Kitanovski, Jaka Tušek, Urban Tomc, Uroš Plaznik, Marko Ožbolt, Blaž Jelenc, Alojz Poredoš

Today, large efforts are dedicated to research on alternative solutions for energy efficient devices with the least possible environmental impact. In the domain of refrigeration and heat pumps, several technologies have been developed as alternatives to conventional vapour-compression. From these, the highest potential can be detected among the so-called caloric technologies, which represent a serious future alternative. The team from the Laboratory of refrigeration and district energy of the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Ljubljana represents one of the leading engineering research groups in the field of caloric energy conversion via magnetocaloric, electrocaloric and elastocaloric effects.

In the field of magnetocaloric refrigeration, the members of the team have contributed to four of a total 60 prototypes in the world. Their contribution to science was mainly given in the field of thermodynamics, heat transfer, optimization of operation characteristics, as well as the introduction of new concepts of efficient magnetocaloric devices.

In the field of engineering of the electrocaloric devices, the group has developed world's third and fourth prototypes.

The results of their research work and the global recognition the group’s results represent a subject of a strong industrial interest. This has been an important indicator for the need for protection of such intellectual property. Based on the invitation of a well recognized publisher, the group has written the world’s first book for engineering magnetocaloric technology. This work, among others, has confirmed the group’s global leading role in engineering of the caloric technologies.