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Peltier refrigeration expands into untapped applications

By Mary Page Bailey |

When compared to traditional refrigeration cycles, Peltier (thermoelectric) technology has many benefits, including no moving parts and no hazardous refrigerant chemicals. However, it has not yet been widely adopted into large-scale industrial processes (due to poor efficiency, inability to scale cooling and high costs) until now. Phononic Inc.’s (Durham, N.C.; www.phononic.com) line of Peltier-cooled refrigerators — known as Evolve — have been deployed into the healthcare and life-sciences sectors. The company is also currently investigating the integration of Peltier systems into industrial chilled-water loops. Phononic has built working prototype refrigerators for augmenting chilled-water loops in data-center cooling, and has conducted successful benchtop demonstrations. Phononic’s patented semiconductor chips deliver a large temperature gradient between the hot and cold side while simultaneously pumping a tremendous amount of heat per unit area, says Tony Atti, Phononic founder and CEO. This combination of traits allows for scalability in terms of the amount of heat removed. “As you apply an electric current across a semiconductor chip, one side gets hot and one side gets cold. The application of that coldness determines…
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