New magnetic materials for efficient cooling

Top Quote Utrecht (NL) / Ludwigshafen (D), 25 July 2011 – The Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) in the Netherlands and BASF are to start another joint research programme on magnetocaloric materials. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) July 26, 2011 - This new class of materials may help to make today's cooling systems more efficient and quieter. This is the second joint research project between FOM and BASF and it has a duration of four years. "We aim to achieve an even better understanding of the fundamental magnetocaloric principles, which will help us to develop new materials with improved properties and we will investigate the best routes for large-scale production," says programme leader Prof. Dr. Ekkes Brück (Delft University of Technology).

    BASF and FOM intensify their cooperation

    New magnetic materials for efficient cooling
    BASF and FOM intensify their cooperation

    FOM and BASF started their cooperation in 2008. The previous research programme yielded new insights into the physics underlying the giant magnetocaloric effect. Together with their industrial partners the researchers are working on the market introduction of the first devices based on magnetocaloric materials.

    Principles of magnetic cooling

    Magnetocaloric materials heat up in a magnetic field and cool down again when they are removed from it. A heat pump based on magnetocaloric materials may therefore be an ideal alternative for traditional cooling cycles. Cooling systems based on the magnetocaloric effect could significantly reduce energy consumption. "Theoretical considerations reveal an energy savings potential of up to fifty percent," explains Dr. Thomas Weber, managing director of BASF Future Business GmbH. "An added benefit is that a system based on a magnetic cooling cycle can be relatively small. Such systems are ideal for a variety of applications ranging from the cooling of electronic components to refrigerators and air conditioners.” As this technology does not use gaseous refrigerants, it is quieter and causes less vibrations than conventional compressor type refrigerators.

    Public-private partnership

    FOM and BASF collaborate within a so-called Industrial Partnership Programme (IPP). IPPs are research programmes where FOM links academic knowledge to industrial ambitions by realising high-quality fundamental physics research in close cooperation with industry. Companies finance at least fifty percent of the programme. The research in this programme will be carried out at Delft University of Technology, Radboud University Nijmegen and at the research sites of BASF in De Meern (NL) and Ludwigshafen (D).

    About BASF Future Business GmbH
    BASF Future Business GmbH, a 100 percent subsidiary of BASF Aktiengesellschaft, was founded in April 2001. It aims to open up business areas with above-average growth rates that lie outside BASF’s current activities. The company focuses on chemistry-based new materials, technologies and system solutions. BASF Future Business GmbH commissions research from BASF’s R&D units and cooperates with start-up companies, industrial partners, universities and potential customers. Further activities include acquisition of direct stakes, initiation of joint ventures and provision of venture capital via the subsidiary BASF Venture Capital GmbH. Further information on BASF Future Business is available on the Internet at .

    About FOM
    The Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter (FOM) promotes, coordinates and finances fundamental physics research in the Netherlands. It is an autonomous foundation that is accountable to the Physics Division of the national research council NWO. With about 1030 employees and an annual budget of 92 million Euros FOM executes physics research of international top international quality within four institutes and 180 university research groups in the Netherlands. FOM has an annual budget of three million Euros available for cooperation with industrial researchers (Industrial Partnership Programmes). See .

    Drs. Gabby Zegers , communications FOM Foundation (NL)
    phone +31 (0)30 600 12 22
    Prof. Dr. Ekkes Brück , Delft University of Technology (NL)
    phone +31 (0)15 278 31 58
    Holger Kapp , Corporate Media Relations - BASF Group (D)
    phone +49 621 60 -41040
    Vanessa Holzhäuser , communications BASF Future Business GmbH, (D)
    phone +49 (0) 1520 937 5862

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