Multiphysical Simulation and Optimisation for Magnetocaloric Refrigeration 

Refrigeration has a remarkable and often underestimated impact on global warming: globally, about 20% of the total electric energy is used for refrigeration. Additionally, conventional refrigerators work using a gas-compression cycle, and the corresponding working gas has a large global warming potential. Thus, working gas leakage leads to direct greenhouse gas emissions comparable to those of the aviation sector. 

Magnetocaloric cooling cycle: Magnetisation (1 to 2) leads to a reduction of magnetic entropy and, when the process is adiabatic, to a temperature increase. Heat is expelled to the ambient (2 to 3), after which demagnetisation leads to a smaller-than-ambient temperature (3 to 4). This can now be used for cooling (4 to 1). 

As future demand for cooling power is expected to rise drastically, new refrigeration solutions are needed. Emission free and with the potential to be substantially more energy efficient, magnetocaloric cooling is a promising emerging technology. In the project Optimag the startup Magnotherm and TU Darmstadt are analysing and optimising the next generation of magnetocaloric refrigerators. The challenge lies in the multiphysical nature of the problem, which involves magnetics, thermodynamics and fluid flow, all in interplay with the complicated properties of the magnetocaloric material. The goal of the project is to improve the existing simulation capabilities by coupling the different subsystems, with the aim to use the improved model in the design optimisation of the magnetic system. 

The team at TU Darmstadt consists of Prof. Sebastian Schöps, Prof. Oliver Weeger, Boian Balouchev, Yusuf Elbadry, Melina Merkel, Michael Wiesheu. Magnotherm is represented by Dr. Maximilian Fries, Dimitri Benke and Tim Sittig. 

The research is funded by the LOEWE Project 1450/23-04 via the Hessian Ministry of Science and Art and the Hessen-Agentur.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: