A brief history of refrigeration

Jeremy Williams talks about the cold…..”Fridges run 24 hours a day, and in many homes they represent the single biggest use of electricity. Altogether, the world’s fridges take up 14% of its electricity and a proportionate amount of CO2 emissions. We have to cut emissions by 90% by the middle of the century. Even without the HFCs problem that I’ve written about this week, climate change is going to force some fresh thinking in the world of refrigeration.

Make Wealth History

A fridge is one of the most desired household appliances in the world, second only to a television. It can provide cool drinks and snacks, and the ability to store food safely for days at a time has revolutionised the way we cook and eat. Being born long after fridges became universal, it’s easy to forget how transformative they have been.

Humans have been able to control fire for thousands of years. Cool is a much more technical challenge, and the science of how cold works was mysterious and practically magical until relatively recently. But some ancient civilisations, without entirely understanding how it worked, had managed to harness cooling.

The only ancient civilisation to actually make ice was the Persians, who had elaborate irrigation tunnels from the mountains that provided water and cooling. They aso built large clay cone structures called Yakhchal that tapped low overnight temperatures and the cooling…

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