Embraco’s high efficiency, oil-free linear compressor.

Embraco’s high efficiency, oil-free linear compressor.

Credit: Whirlpool

Lead Performer: Oak Ridge National Laboratory - Oak Ridge, TN
Partner: Whirlpool - Benton Harbor, MI
Cost Share: Provided by CRADA partner
DOE Funding: $1,450,000
Project Term: October 2013 - September 2016

Project Objective

The aim of this project is to develop a next-generation variable-capacity household refrigerator using a linear compressor and other novel features that offer the potential to reduce energy use by up to 25% compared with current refrigerators. This proposal focuses on modeling, developing conceptual system design and the architecture, and preliminary testing of components, such as calorimeter testing of the linear compressor, leading to developing a revolutionary refrigerator concept by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the industrial partner.

Project Impact

ORNL estimates the primary energy savings from this project to be 0.95 quads over 13 years (2018–2030) assuming a 2% per year market penetration rate per year to the U.S. households. In addition, this development would be of strategic significance to DOE because it would place the U.S. industry much ahead of its international competitors.


DOE Technology Manager: Tony Bouza
Performer: Ed Vineyard, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

ORNL’s Pradeep Bansal examines an Embraco linear compressor.

ORNL’s Pradeep Bansal examines an Embraco linear compressor, which will be used in a Whirlpool-ORNL project aimed at building a more energy-efficient refrigerator.