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Magnetic Air Conditioners: A High Tech Way Of Keeping Cool

Is there a magnetic air conditioner in your future?

In addition to the researchers mentioned above (Astronautics and DOE), several private companies, universities and government agencies around the world are exploring magnetic cooling technology for industrial and domestic applications including air conditioning, refrigeration and climate control.

The National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy at the Technical University of Denmark runs its own "MagCool" project, while research at Penn State and other U.S. universities has advanced the understanding of magnetocaloric principles, helping us understand why one material might cool more efficiently than another. In 2009, BASF and Delta Electronics announced a corporate partnership to develop new magnetocaloric cooling systems and "explore the opportunities of magnetocaloric power generation." But as much as we'd love to get our hands on this new technology today, commercial availability of magnetic air conditioners is still at least a few years away, and the first uses will most likely be industrial rather than residential.