POLO has a research group focused on the development of magnetic refrigeration technology, which is an alternative cooling technology to mechanical compression. Its physical principle is the magnetocaloric effect, characterized in some materials as a reversible variation of temperature proportional to the variation of applied magnetic field. POLO counts on experimental stands and mathematical models for testing, emulation and simulation of the different components of a magnetic refrigeration system. Of particular note is the unitary bench, which was specially developed to survey a characteristic curve of a magnetic-active regenerator (RMA) operating within a wide range of operating conditions, such as flow, frequency, temperature of the sources and load applied. Different magnetocaloric materials, both first and second order, arranged in various configurations of porous media can be tested. In addition, the modular character allows for easy replacement and characterization of hydraulic, control and drive circuits of the system.
POLO also has a magnetic refrigeration prototype, designed to evaluate the thermodynamic performance of the technology and this type of magnetic refrigeration systems. The prototype operates through the synchronization of all its main sub-systems: RMAs, magnetic, hydraulic, control and drive circuits, chilled cabinet and heat exchangers. This system has the capacity to meet a demand similar to that of a domestic wine cellar. All its instrumentation aims to characterize the energy consumption within the specifications of thermal load and temperature difference desired. POLO also has a bench of commercial office performance tests coupled with a system that emulates the behavior of an RMA (or any other caloric technology). This coupling is accomplished through different sets of heat exchanger and fan. Among the main objectives of the performance tests are the verification of the acceptability of the conditions reached by RMA in refrigeration applications close to room temperature and the selection of possible heat exchanger and fan assemblies suitable for wine cooling in a wine cellar operated by an RMA . The instrumentation used (thermocouples and transducers of flow, pressure and humidity) is intended to monitor, in a general way, the performance of the system and the environment where it is inserted.