Experts on Magnetic Cooling to Converge in Des Moines

Magnetic refrigeration conference to draw international audience

For release: May 7, 2009

Karl Gschneidner, Materials Sciences and Engineering, 515-294-7931
Vitalij Pecharsky, Materials Sciences and Engineering, 515-294-8220
Kerry Gibson, Public Affairs, 515-294-1405

AMES, Iowa – Researchers and industry representatives in the refrigeration and air conditioning field will converge in Des Moines later this month to discuss and promote the cause of magnetic refrigeration at the 3rd International Conference on Magnetic Refrigeration at Room Temperature – known in the business as Thermag III. The focus of the four-day event will be on an energy efficient form of refrigeration that replaces gas compressors and ozone-depleting refrigerants with a system that uses special alloys and a magnetic field to provide the cooling and environmentally benign coolants to circulate that cooling power through the refrigeration loop.

“Modern compression/expansion refrigeration cycle cooling is a high-energy-demand industry that annually consumes as much as 15 percent of the total electrical energy produced,” said conference organizer Karl Gschneidner, a senior metallurgist at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory. Gschneidner is an Anson Marston Distinguished Professor at Iowa State University, a pioneer in magnetic refrigeration and a world-renowned expert in the rare-earth metals used in the technology.

“Magnetic cooling and refrigeration is 20 to 30 percent more energy efficient than conventional vapor-compression refrigeration,” Gschneidner said, “The magnetic refrigerants are solids, so the hazardous, ozone-depleting and greenhouse chemicals are completely eliminated, making magnetic refrigeration one of the few, positively clean technologies.”

Hosted by Ames Laboratory and the College of Engineering, the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, all at Iowa State University, the conference will feature presentations from around the globe on emerging trends and research in magnetic refrigeration. Keynote speakers include researchers from the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Spain, and the program also includes invited speakers from Denmark, France, Russia, Japan, Spain and the United States.

The conference, which will be held at the Embassy Suites in downtown Des Moines, opens on Tuesday, May 12. The daily program will include a keynote address and invited talks, along with oral and poster presentations on current research in the field. Participants are also scheduled to travel to Ames and tour research facilities at Ames Laboratory and Iowa State University on May 13. The conference concludes on May 15.

Also, the first operational laboratory prototype magnetic refrigerator will be on display. It was built by Astronautics Corporation of America, Milwaukee, Wis., with assistance from Ames Laboratory scientists who worked on the magnetic refrigerant materials. For more information on the conference, including a detailed program and speaker information, check out the conference Web site at

Ames Laboratory is a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science laboratory operated for the DOE by Iowa State University.  Ames Laboratory creates innovative materials, technologies and energy solutions. We use our expertise, unique capabilities and interdisciplinary collaborations to solve global challenges.



(NOTE TO MEDIA: If you are interested in interviewing the conference organizers or any of the keynote speakers, please contact Kerry Gibson, Ames Lab Public Affairs at 515-294-1405,