Domestic research projects


Research projects (co)funded by the Slovenian Research Agency.


  • Member of University of Ljubljana: UL Faculty of Mechanical Engineering
  • Project code: L7-7580
  • Project title: Advanced electrocaloric energy conversion
  • Period: 01.03.2016 - 28.02.2019
  • Range on year: 1,63 FTE
  • Head: prof. dr. Andrej Kitanovski
  • Research activity: Interdisciplinary research
  • Research Organisation: Link
  • Researchers: Link
  • Citations for bibliographic records: Link

The global energy demand for refrigeration and air conditioning is rapidly increasing. Nearly 20% of the energy is wasted for various cooling or air-conditioning devices. Most of cooling technologies are based on vapour compression of gas refrigerant, which have low exergy efficiency (from 20% for small, to 55% for large scale devices) and use environmentally harmful refrigerants, restricted by the Kyoto protocol. Therefore, there is a need for new, alternative cooling technologies. One of the possible alternatives is the electrocaloric cooling. The electrocaloric cooling is based on electrocaloric materials, which heat up and cool down under the influence of an electric field change. The electrocaloric (EC) cooling technology has the potential to be more energy efficient than the existing, conventional cooling technologies and no environmentally harmful refrigerants are used in EC cooling devices. Furthermore, EC cooling devices can be miniaturised and could operate with lower level of noise and vibrations.

The main objective of the project is to design, numerically and experimentally verify and optimize the conceptual electrocaloric device with the cooling power up to 50 W. The device will represent an application for small refrigerators and will have advantage compared to equivalent compressor, sorption, and Peltier refrigerators. This regards higher energy efficiency, environment protection and silent operation. The refrigerant in the electrocaloric refrigerator is ceramics or a polymer. These are environmentally friendly materials without influence on ozone layer or the global warming. Because such a device does not comprise moving parts, its operation is silent and without vibrations.

The phases of the project and their realization:

Working package 1: Characterization, processing and construction of electrocaloric regenerators

  • As most appropriate electrocaloric materials for construction of electrocaloric regenerators (1-x)Pb(Mg1/3Nb2/3)O3-xPbTiO3 have been selected. These materials posses high electrocaloric effect in a broad temperature region, they have a slim electric-polarization hysteresis and can be prepared in form of bulk or thick films.
  • A 2D numerical model of a cooling device with an active electrocaloric regenerator (AER) was developed, which was used to determine the optimal geometrical and operation characteristic of the AER. The active electrocaloric regenerator is the core component of the final electrocaloric cooling device.

Working package 2: Design, planning and construction of the conceptual electrocaloric refrigerator

  • In progress

Working package 3: Experimental loop, experiments and optimization

Working package 4: Demonstration

Dissemination of results