Steven L. GarrettSounds cool

Published in 1993clockTime to read: 35s
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American scientist Steven Garrett has developed sound-powered refrigeration equipment with the potential to eliminate chemicals that damage the ozone layer.

locationUnited States

For a quarter of a century, Steven Garrett and his collaborators have been quietly working to perfect a refrigerator that does not rely on ozone-depleting chemicals such as CFCs and their substitutes that destabilize the Earth’s climate, a refrigerator cunningly cooled by sound waves. Despite scientists reporting evidence of the depleted ozone layer starting to heal, it is still at risk. And with global temperatures climbing, his clean, thermoacoustic chiller technology looks like an idea with enormous potential.

When the link between CFCs and ozone depletion was discovered, everyone scrambled around to find alternative chemicals to use in the same technology. Ultimately, of course, the alternatives are also harmful. We need something completely different.

Garrett has been one of the pioneers in thermoacoustics since his early work in the 1980s at the US Naval Postgraduate School. Since the 1990s, he has held senior posts in acoustics and research at Penn State University. He is also one of the founders of the ThermoAcoustics Corporation. Among the many awards that Professor Garrett has received is a Popular Science magazine award for environmental technology. Biomass cook stoves are another area of his expertise.

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