The refrigerants that are generally used in air conditioners and refrigerators are HFCs, which have a strong greenhouse effect.
For this reason, more eco-friendly cooling methods need to be developed.
Recently, a study in Science invented ion thermal cycling technology that may be expected to solve this problem.
While materials undergo solid-liquid-gas transition by absorbing or exerting heat, ion thermal cycling technology uses electric current to drive the flow of ions.
It changes the melting point of the material, causing it to undergo a solid-liquid transition and absorbing and dissipating heat from the environment.
In the experiment, the sodium salt of iodine in ethylene carbonate changed from crystalline to liquid after applying a voltage of only 0.22 volts.
It absorbed heat and warmed up to 25 degrees, with a very high cooling efficiency.
Meanwhile, the manufacture of ethylene carbonate requires the use of carbon dioxide, which may contribute to reduce carbon further.