The U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE)’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Whirlpool Corp. are collaborating to design a refrigerator that could cut energy use by up to 40% compared with current models.
The goal of the cooperative research and development agreement, or CRADA, is to make a next-generation household refrigerator more energy efficient by using WISEMOTION, an innovative linear compressor manufactured by Embraco, and other novel technologies and materials.
In the 1970s, the average refrigerator used approximately 4 to 5 kWh per day; today’s models average about 1.5 kWh/day. The result is massive utility savings for consumers, and ORNL and Whirlpool will further that innovation with the goal of building a refrigerator that consumes less than one kWh per day.
“If every refrigerator in the U.S. were replaced with the advanced refrigerator design, the projected primary energy savings would be 0.56 quads per year—the equivalent of 100 million barrels of oil,” said Ed Vineyard, director of ORNL’s Building Technologies Research & Integration Center.
The team will redesign a refrigerator to incorporate a linear compressor, which reduces energy losses by continuously matching the compressor pumping rate to the refrigerator’s cooling requirements. Associated components will provide additional efficiency gains.
Together, these features could cut refrigerator energy use by approximately 40%, which would translate into an estimated $26 savings per year on the average consumer’s electricity bill.
Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory