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.

Code filter for cooling refrigerants

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.

code-box-f25

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:

Text pattern analysis on cool solid effects

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.

Magnetocaloric Effect

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.

Magnetic cooling

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.

Applicants vs time analysis

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.

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Fig. 5 Patented magnetic refrigeration system of Cooltech

Academic Research

academic

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 last summer.

Materials

Elements analysis

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.

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