Domestic white goods – fridges, cookers and washing machines – account for half the average household’s electricity usage a year.
A Berlin-based start-up called Coolar has come up with a solution for reducing our footprint at home: a fridge that uses warmth rather than electricity.
Externally-circulating water is exposed to solar-generated heat which then transfers that energy to silica gel. The principal is similar to the cooling effect of sweat on human skin. The idea was developed by co-founder Julia Römer on her university course in engineering.
The prototype contains neither batteries, refrigerants nor lubricants that are harmful to the environment. The company, which was founded in May 2016, is still taking its first steps but hopes to be mass-producing refrigerators within five years. At the same time, Coolar will be developing applications for transport cooling. The company hopes the technology could also provide a solution for medicine and food storage in regions without reliable electricity.