Alright, maybe we’re being a little pre-emptive, but we can’t wait for these fridges to make it to the commercial market!
CSIRO’s intelligent energy team have now developed a smart fridge that can run off of renewable energy generators and regulate it’s own power consumption. It even manages its’ average temperature in accordance with available power supplies.
Engineer Sam West says “the smart fridges work as a network of distributed fridges, each fitted with control technology that allows them to communicate with each other via a network to share and store the energy provided by renewable-power generators.”
So, not only do they talk to each other, but they negotiate and make unilateral decisions as to when it is best to use the energy. Mr West says “These scheduling decisions improve the quality of electricity produced by renewables and can help increase renewable uptake in the energy market.” Basically, the fridges help make good energy! For example, if using Solar panels, cloudy days can create periods of variable power supply, and these variations are very bad for the power grid, resulting in potential blackouts and other side effects. By making the right decisions as to when to switch on and off, the fridges take pressure off the grid, helping it to function in a smoother manner!
These fridges are so smart they can actually anticipate power shortages and adjust their consumption accordingly!
And as if that wasn’t enough, they have been designed to store excess energy too. So they operate like big batteries, saving power until it is needed and using as little as possible as efficiently as possible. Mr West explains it like this: “Using less electricity is always preferable to generating more and is the simplest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Refrigeration can be very energy intensive but by harnessing renewable power this technology offers a low-emission solution to keeping food and other perishables cold.”
CSIRO is currently looking for partners to take this concept to a commercial level, and we really hope they find them. Can you imagine, Eco-friendly, talking fridges, what a fantastic idea!