Grants Fund Study of Alternative Refrigeration

Wednesday - 7/21/2010, 2:26pm EDT

A Milwaukee-based company is about to begin research on an alternative form of refrigeration for cooling buildings, under a $2-point-nine million dollar energy research grant funded through the federal stimulus package.

Using a solid state cooling technology, the privately held Astronautics Corporation of America will research a type of magnetic refrigeration that does not rely on a liquid-based refrigerant. Energy Department officials say, if successful, the breakthrough system could achieve significant energy efficiency, greatly reducing system operating costs compared to conventional compression systems, in addition to producing zero greenhouse gases.

In all, $30 million dollars in grant money is being given to 17 different projects around the country that focus on a variety of novel approaches to air-conditioning.