Meldungen aus der UDE

© Qiming Zhang

Winner of Humboldt-Research-Award at Institute of Materials Science

Proper cooling for the climate

  • von Dr. Alexandra Nießen
  • 06.09.2019

Cooled food and drugs are very important for many humans. Simultaneously, keeping them cold harms the environment. Prof. Qiming Zhang explores how optimal chilling reduces the climate change. The winner of the Humboldt-Research-Award is guest of Prof. Dr. Doru C. Lupascu at the UDE-Institute of Materials Science.

“The refrigerants in the compression-based cooling systems that are currently used in refrigerators or air conditioners are one of the leading causes of climate change”, Zhang says. That’s why he likes to develop a cooling at the UDE that has zero greenhouse gas emission and works without steam circuit. Basis for that are electrocaloric materials. This material class can also be used for saving energy or as an ultrasound source and is investigated by the professor of electrical engineering at his home university, the Pennsylvania State University (USA).

The electrocaloric effect is one property of certain materials that change its molecular structure when the electric field strength is changing and heat or cool off by this. Therefore cooling is possible without gaseous coolants. Nowadays, almost all devices are based on a (more or less climate-damaging) gas circulation. The gas is pushed in the circuit, expands, vaporizes, incorporates the heat from the fridge in its pipes and submits it outwards.

The cooling medium of electrocaloric materials is a solid body that absorbs the thermal energy in order to change its inner structure – quasi an ‘inner’ vaporization. For the removal a coolant (e.g. water) is still necessary, but the heat machine itself is the solid object that gets along without greenhouse gas.


Further information:
Prof. Dr. Qiming Zhang, PhD,
Prof. Dr. Doru C. Lupascu, +49 201/18 32737,

Editor: Alexandra Niessen, +49 203/37 91487,


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