Advanced Energy Materials: Energy Applications of Magnetocaloric Materials

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Along with environmentally-friendly refrigerants, high energy efficiency of refrigeration systems and heat pumping will represent the foundation of future refrigeration, heating and air-conditioning systems. Recuperation and utilization of waste heat at various temperature levels will enable significantly lower energy consumption not only for heating and refrigeration, but also for generation of mechanical or electrical energy. Magnetocaloric energy conversion is among the best available alternatives for achieving these technological goals and has been the subject of substantial basic and applied research over the last two decades. This type of technology applies magnetocaloric materials in energy conversion. Due to the reversibility of certain processes, the technology represents a potential for the replacement of existing technologies in the area of refrigeration products, heat pumps, liquefaction of hydrogen and other gases, as well as for efficient conversion of low-temperature heat to useful work. This highly interdisciplinary field, which combines natural and engineering sciences, still requires numerous research activities for the development of actual, commercially available application.

Professor Andrej Kitanovski is the head of the Laboratory for Refrigeration and District Energy at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of the University of Ljubljana. He is one of the developers of magnetocaloric technologies in the world and was the co-founder of the international research workgroup Magnetic Cooling Working Party. It was founded in 2004 under the auspices of the International Institute of Refrigeration IIR, which established well-known IIR Thermag conferences and today cover research and development of all caloric technologies worldwide. At the invitation of the distinguished scientific journal Advanced Energy Materials, professor Kitanovski published a lengthy article, critically describing current researches, findings and achievements. Through his rich experiences, knowledge and ideas in this specific field, he presents the key guidelines of the future development of magnetocaloric technologies.

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