Elastocaloric Cooling: Pioneering Sustainability in the World of Cooling Technology

At the G20 Summit, the New Delhi Declaration shines a spotlight on the critical role of sustainability, raising poignant questions about the readiness of our technological advances to rise to the occasion. This declaration underscores the significance of sustainability, prompting a collective introspection into whether our current technological strides are truly equipped to tackle the challenges at hand. Within this commitment, G20 leaders have vowed to achieve carbon neutrality, envisioning a world of net-zero global greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century, signifying a resolute aim for 2050. In their pursuit, strategies such as fostering a circular carbon economy, advancing socioeconomic development, and driving technological innovation are set to lead the charge.

In various fields, numerous technologies are progressing towards sustainability, and elastocaloric cooling shines as a solution in line with sustainable principles. It cools through mechanical deformation without needing energy-hungry compressors or harmful refrigerants.
In this article, we will provide a brief overview of the elastocaloric cooling industry, including key players and geographic innovation hubs. We will also briefly discuss some of the top-cited patents in the domain.

What are elastocaloric cooling systems?

Elastocaloric materials-based cooling systems are an emerging technology that has gained attention in recent years. Elastocaloric materials exhibit the ability to undergo temperature changes when subjected to mechanical stress. This unique property makes them suitable for applications in heating and cooling systems.
The concept behind elastocaloric cooling systems involves cyclically applying and releasing stress to the elastocaloric material, causing it to absorb and release heat. This process enables the material to act as a solid-state refrigerant, eliminating the need for traditional vapor compression systems that rely on refrigerants.
Elastocaloric cooling systems are still in the early stages of development and commercialization; however, interest in these technologies is growing due to their potential energy efficiency and environmental benefits, and research and development efforts are underway to optimize material properties, system design, and efficiency.

What are the key advantages of elastocaloric cooling systems?

Geographic Innovation Hubs

China is the largest innovation hub, followed by Germany and Japan, with Daikin having the highest number of filings. In Europe, Great Britain and Germany are the most prominent innovation hubs, with Robert Bosch, Volkswagen, and Exergyn being the leading assignees in the region, focusing on heat pumps and heat exchange devices. Exergyn, a company headquartered in Dublin, is a pioneer in the commercial-scale application of shape memory alloys (SMA). The emergence of China as one of the top innovators can be attributed to universities like Xi'an Jiaotong University, which is conducting research on various shape memory alloys for refrigeration and air conditioning.

Who are the key players in the elastocaloric cooling domain?

Daikin is the most prominent player in the industry, with a large patent share in the domain. Also, Daikin is collaborating with the University of Maryland to develop elastocaloric material-based cooling systems. Robert Bosch, a German engineering and technology company, holds the second most prominent position and focuses on patent filings for elastocaloric material-based heat exchange devices. Xi'an Jiaotong University, one of the top players, has consistently filed patents in recent years on solid-state refrigeration and collaborated with other universities (the University of Maryland) to develop elastocaloric cooling systems. Volkswagen is a major contender in the domain, primarily securing patents related to vehicle air-conditioning systems. Additionally, Exergyn, a clean-tech company, specializes in the commercial-scale application of shape memory alloys (SMA). The company is actively engaged in product development across various industries, such as heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, refrigeration (HVACR), automotive, and aerospace, with a strong commitment to significantly enhance global air quality and combat climate change.

Who are the top-cited patents in the elastocaloric cooling domain?

The most cited patent is US10808159B2, filed by the University of Maryland, which focuses on a cooling system comprising a plurality of solid refrigerant materials capable of exhibiting a thermoelastic effect. The second most cited patent is Elastek’s US5465781A, focusing on heat transfer devices such as air conditioners, ventilators, and heat pumps that use a layer of elastomeric sheets as elastocaloric material. Daikin’s patent US10234152B2, which is the third most cited patent, discloses an air conditioning system that uses Ti/Ni/Cu alloy-based thermoelastic material. Additionally, Fraunhofer has two patents (US11454429B2 and DE102016100596A1) in the top cited patents, focusing on a heat pump that comprises a heat exchanger made from mechanocaloric materials such as elastocaloric materials.

 Patent Publication Number  Title
 US10808159B2  Thermoelastic cooling
 US5465781A  Elastomer bed
 US10234152B2  Air conditioning device
 US11454429B2  Method and apparatus for operating cyclic process-based systems
 DE102016100596A1  Method and device for operating cycle-based systems

How is elastocaloric cooling transforming various industries?

Elastocaloric cooling is making significant waves across various industries. In the automotive sector, it offers the potential to enhance the efficiency of air conditioning systems, reducing energy consumption and contributing to sustainability. In aerospace and space applications, its lightweight and reliable cooling solutions are invaluable for maintaining optimal conditions in extreme environments. The food and beverage industry can benefit from precise temperature control during production and storage. Additionally, its applications span from medical devices and wearable technology to electronics, ensuring efficient cooling for equipment and personal comfort. In the realms of sports and outdoor equipment, it paves the way for enhanced performance.

Future Outlook

The future of sustainable cooling, with a focus on elastocaloric technology, holds great promise amid the challenges of climate change and surging energy needs. Acknowledged as a pivotal element in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing global warming, elastocaloric cooling offers eco-friendly solutions. Although it comes with specific cooling capacity limitations that vary by materials and applications, dedicated researchers and engineers are actively advancing the technology, securing patents, and exploring new application domains. This collaborative effort is poised to boost cooling efficiency and introduce novel sustainable practices, supporting climate mitigation and environmental preservation.

Authored by: Shakti Singh (Research Analyst, Business Operations Team) Shubham Chaudhary (Project lead, Business Operations Team)

Our team has conducted an extensive analysis of patents, technology, and market trends, resulting in a comprehensive Expertlancing research report that we believe will be of great value to you.

We understand that different businesses, regions, and countries have unique requirements, and we are fully equipped to provide customized reports tailored to your specific needs. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any specific requests.

If you're interested in accessing our exclusive report, click here.

Food for thought

Delve deeper and savor a treasure trove of more such insightful reads

The future of telecom is here – 6G

In the world of telecommunications, it is all about 5G right now but just around the corner is the revolutionizing 6G standard which is currently being developed.

Don't ignore old documents in a prior-art search

Our team at ExpertLancing was assigned to work on an invalidation case related to the field of pulp and paper technology...

How analysis of a provisional application led us to a killer prior art for a 5G technology patent?

As we undertake challenging projects related to 5G and telecom SEPs, we often come across certain scenarios that leave an indelible impression.

Chess’s Knight forces a Checkmate and Leads to a Strong Prior-Art

As prior-art searchers, we perform complex prior-art searches everyday. But at times we stumble upon some cases that result in truly amazing experiences and takeaways.

Searching the complex world of standards – Finding a needle in a haystack

When we talk about standard searching, the first question that comes to our mind is...

Want to explore more?

Take a look at who we are and what we have to offer.