Scouting New Technologies In The Global Patent Database
In the old days, an ice cellar was pretty much an isolated space in the ground with one cubic meter of ice and a drain. As the ice was placed in the winter it would melt down the drain all year long keeping the room 3-5 degrees just to be iced up again the next winter. A global analysis of cooling systems brings promising technologies from companies and research institutes.
Scanning the patent database
We start by searching for classification codes related to "cooling refrigerants". This allows us to quickly find the most related codes without having to perform a patent search.
Fig. 1 Code filter searching for codes related to "cooling refrigerants"
The search for "cooling refrigerants" shows us a lot of codes starting with F25. If we now search for F25, we can see that B and D seem the most relevant for us.
Fig. 2 Code filter searching for code "F25"
The selection of F25B and F25D (children included), last five years
results in a good group of 34572 patents.
In order to find the cooling technologies we harvest cooling effects on sites like ProductionInspiration
on "cool solid"
. And then we start a text pattern analysis
by which we can scan all cooling technologies through our patent pool:
Fig. 3 Text pattern analysis on "cools > solid" effects
Seeing over one line of magnetic refrigeration systems, let us zoom in on magnetic cooling.
Magnetic cooling is being used in new refrigeration and air conditioning as it promises to cut electricity bills in half, improved device efficiency, reduces CO2 production from these energy savings, is a solid, non-volatile refrigerant, eliminating greenhouse gas refrigerants. Recent novel cooling innovations spotted in MoreInspiration
also described magnetic cooling
, however there’s about 184 to browse through.
A strong field of a permanent magnet affects a magnetocaloric substance and orients itself alike. This causes the lattice of the substance to vibrate and the temperature to rise. By removing the magnetic field, the atoms return to their original ‘random’ orientation, and the substance cools down. Now by doing this process, but cooling down the magnetocaloric substance before the removing the magnetic field, (with coolant), allows the temperatures fall even lower. The hot coolant passes through the now colder substance, cooling down the coolant. The magnetocaloric substance heats up again and the process stats again, up to ten times per second.
Creating a new pool of "magnet*" in F25B and F25D, in last 5 years gives us 3541 patents. Running an applicants vs time analysis shows us a strong rise over the years with companies like Cooltech, General Electric and Toshiba in the lead.
Fig. 4 Applicants vs time analysis
A quick search online shows that the French company Cooltech has launched a magnetic refrigeration system
. The firm, together with six partners has rapidly advanced development of a commercial product, thanks to the backing of technology investors, including 20 million euros from the French government.
Fig. 5 Patented magnetic refrigeration system of Cooltech
Fig. 6 Academic analysis on "magnetic cooling" patent pool and MagCool prototype of DTU
The academic analysis
above shows a strong activity of Dutch and Danish universities, seems like they have more in common than bicycles. "No other research groups that work with magnetic cooling have managed to do that", says Christian Bahl, a senior scientist at the Energy Conversion department at Denmark’s Technical University (DTU) in ScienceNordic
Fig. 7 Elements analysis on "magnetic cooling" patent pool
The element analysis
above, show the use of materials that have a strong magnetocaloric effect room temperature; Galadium (Gd) , and neodymium (Nd) both expensive materials. The research is open for cheaper alternatives.