GE Appliances enlisted the help of a University of Louisville electrical and computer engineering professor and graduate student to help solve a problem. Four years and eight patents later, they think they have a mature, new invention. 

Every couple of years, the United States Department of Energy comes out with a new energy efficiency standard that the refrigerator appliances industry is required to meet. This causes GE Appliances to continuously create new models in order to keep refrigerators on the market.

“All refrigeration appliances have to meet the new standard as part of the law." said Greg Hahn, Senior Compressor Engineer at GE Appliances.

To get ahead of the next anticipated requirements, GE Appliances teamed up with U of L’s Dr. Michael McIntyre and graduate student Joseph Latham to do research and develop controls systems for a new compressor, which helps keep refrigerators cool.

“Things are getting smarter and also smaller,” said Srujan Kusumba, Power Electronics Engineer at GE Appliances Power.

The new technology will help refrigerators used between 10 and 15 percent less energy, which will ultimately save customers money.  

“It's a really hard problem [to solve],” McIntyre said.

“You spend a long time with a project like this,” Latham said. "It’s not done, but it’s closer than ever."

The compressor is being tested to possibly go inside GE Appliances refrigerators when the new standards go into effect. Hahn said that could be in 2020.

“It's really remarkable,” McIntyre said. “I'm excited about the research.”

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