PORTLAND, Ore.—Smart metals that change shape when absorbing or releasing heat are being developed at the University of Maryland Energy Research Center (UMERC) under a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. The thermoelastic shape memory alloy will take the place of conventional vapor-compressor refrigeration, but without the emission of greenhouse gases.
According to UMERC (College Park, Md.), besides eliminating the need for vaporized refrigerants, its solid-state cooling technology will increase the efficiency of energy usage by as much as 175 percent while it is simultaneously reducing U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 250 million metric tons per year.
The UMERC funding is a part of the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funds earmarked by the Obama administration for developing alternative energy technologies under the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program.
metal runs pictured refrigeration system 175 percent more efficiently that
conventional vapor compressor technology by virtue of "thermally
elastic" metal alloy.