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Eco-friendly crystals could replace chemical coolants in fridges

Energy

The way we currently cool refrigerators and air conditioners is unsustainable, and these plastic crystals could replace traditional coolants

Spotted: A  of researchers has found a green alternative to the chemicals we use to keep refrigerators cool. The discovery could lead to , according to the scientists.

Most refrigerators (and air conditioners)  — hydrofluorocarbons and hydrocarbons (HFCs and HCs) — to stay work. Appliances compress and expand HFC and HCs to keep things cool.

The team achieved the . Plastic crystals of neopentylglycol (NPG) cool when their microscopic structure is changed. The crystals are not really plastic — that term refers to their malleability. Their chemical makeup makes it easier to compress. NGP is already widely used for other purposes, including to make paints, polyesters and lubricants.

The team is currently working with  to bring their findings to the commercial market.

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