Oxford Revives Einstein's Greenie Fridge Design

Fridge cooled by pressure and vapor, not polluting freons
By Drew Nelles,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2008 8:45 PM CDT
One of Einstein's early inventions was a freon-free fridge.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Oxford scientists are rebuilding one of Albert Einstein’s first inventions—a refrigerator cooled with pressurized gases—in a bid to replace today’s eco-unfriendly fridges, the Guardian reports. Modern fridges use freon, a greenhouse gas worse than carbon dioxide, and are increasingly in demand worldwide. But Einstein's design employs butane, ammonia, and water to create cold.

Einstein's design doesn't have moving parts, either. “No moving parts is a real benefit because it can carry on going without maintenance,” one of the scientists says. “This could have real applications in rural areas.” Freon fridges sidelined pressurized gas designs in the 1950s because they are more efficient, but scientists say they can quadruple the efficiency of Einstein's icebox.