Magnetic refrigeration is a cooling technology based upon the magnetocaloric effect. The technique can be used to attain extremely low temperatures. Magneto caloric effect (MCE) is a phenomenon, wherein temperature change of the magneto caloric material (MCM) is caused by exposing the material to a changing magnetic field. The temperature of MCMs increases when exposed to magnetic field and decreases when removed from it. The effect is reversible and instantaneous. Under the magnetic refrigeration system, a controlled magnetic field applies a series of magnetization & demagnetization cycles to the magnetocaloric alloys. Each of these cycles creates a temperature gradient in the MCE material. A rapid succession of these cycles produces the final and stabilized hot and cold temperatures in the refrigerated system. The magnetic refrigeration system involves components such as magnetic materials, regenerators, superconducting magnets, and active magnet regenerator.
Gas is used in conventional refrigeration systems for the cooling effect. Magnets used in the magnetic refrigeration systems are permanent and do not require any external energy. Furthermore, the magnetic refrigeration system does not utilize any gas for the cooling function; thus, it is a low maintenance and environmentally-friendly technology. Refrigeration systems using the magnetic refrigeration technology tend to be quieter and energy efficient. Based on type, the magnetic refrigeration technology can be segmented into refrigeration systems, air conditioning systems, and heat pumps. Refrigeration systems consist of refrigerators, cabinet displays, freezers, ice-cream cabinets, and beverage coolers. The magnetic refrigeration technology can also be used in air conditioning systems. It can also be employed in heat pumps. Magnetic refrigeration systems are widely used in domestic, industrial, and transportation & commercial segments.
Increase in awareness about global warming is the major driver of the magnetic refrigeration market. Conventional cooling or refrigeration systems make use of gases such as Co2, CFC, and liquid nitrogen. These toxic substances are harmful for the environment and cause ozone depletion. The usage of air conditioning and other refrigeration systems for food preservation and other use is rising. Thus, refrigeration and air cooling systems are estimated to account for 13% share of the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emission by 2030. The magnetic refrigeration technology is free of gas; thus, it is environmentally-friendly. Less energy consumption is another driver of the magnetic refrigeration market.
In terms of region, the magnetic refrigeration market in Europe is expected to expand significantly owing to the large presence of players dealing in the magnetic refrigeration technology. Some companies in countries such as France and Germany are carrying out extensive research in the technology of MCE materials and magnetic refrigeration. Governments of countries in Europe are also encouraging research associated with refrigeration to minimize global warming and ozone layer depletion. The magnetic refrigeration market in Asia Pacific is also anticipated to exhibit strong growth due to the rise in population in the region. Increase in population is estimated to result in higher demand for domestic and industrial food preservation cooling technology. This provides an opportunity for the magnetic refrigeration market. Food preservation industry, beverage industry in North America are vast. This is projected to propel the magnetic refrigeration market in the region.
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Prominent players operating in the magnetic refrigeration market are Cooltech Applications, Camfridge, BASF SE, Fujikura Ltd., TOSHIBA MATERIALS CO., LTD., GE Electric Co., Sigma-Aldrich Co. LLC., Astronautics Corporation of America, Whirlpool Corporation, and VACUUMSCHMELZE GmbH & Co. KG.