Talking fridges may help reduce global warming

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Sydney, May 21 (UNI) Your refrigerator may soon help to cool down the planet as well as your food.

A bar fridge built by the Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has the ability to communicate with other refrigerators.

''The appliances do not gossip about what kind of milk you have bought, but exchange data that could help balance energy usage across the day and, ultimately, reduce the need for power stations,'' The Age quoted Geoff James, CSIRO research scientist as saying.

In most homes, fridges are one of the heaviest users of electricity, and operate on a 30 or 60-minute cycle.

''The smart fridge learns a model of how the fridge is working and if there's any discretionary ability, it's available for shifting the time that it's on,'' said Dr James, of the CSIRO's Information and Communications Technology Centre.

''If you can co-ordinate a whole lot of fridges to do that, then you can have a significant effect on the total energy demand,'' he added.

The CSIRO's ''hot-rod fridge'' monitors real-time national energy usage and communicates with six other refrigerators in Newcastle to co-ordinate when they run and when they rest.

''The same energy-levelling strategy could be applied to other home appliances that involve some discretion about when power is and is not used, such as water heaters and air-conditioners, the other big domestic power hogs,'' stated Dr James.

UNI XC PD KN1038

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