Heat pumps play a crucial role in energy transition. The heat pumps currently available on the market almost exclusively use compressor technology. They require refrigerants for their operation, but these are often harmful to health and/or environment, and they are relatively inefficient. Fraunhofer IPM develops efficient caloric heat pumps and cooling systems as an alternative to compressor technology. The central innovation is our novel concept for heat transfer that promises high energy and cost efficiency. In the development of caloric systems, we rely on the following caloric technologies:
Magnetocaloric materials are magnetisable materials that heat up in a magnetic field and cool down again once the field is removed. This method is distinguished in particular by the high efficiency of the material.
The principle is the same as it is for magnetocalorics: By applying a field, heat is reversibly generated in the electrocaloric material. Unlike magnetocalorics, electrocalorics involves the use of an electric field.
Elastocaloric materials are known as »shape memory alloys« in other applications. The introduction of heat can lead to a change in shape with these alloys. The inverse effect can also be used: reversible heat can be generated by applying force to the material. A cooling system can be created using appropriate system integration in a completely analogous way to magnetocalorics or electrocalorics.