New Cooling Technology for Buildings Works In the Full Heat of a Sunny Day
Electrical engineers at Stanford University published an article describing their cooling invention in last month's NanoLetters. What they discovered is a metal-dielectric photonic structure that radiates sunlight keeping what's inside cool. What are the implications of their invention? Buildings and homes that can be kept cool without air conditioning. Automobiles that no longer turn into ovens in the heat of a summer day.
So what is a metal-dielectric photonic structure? It is material that does two things:
- acts like a mirror to solar light reflecting the Sun's energy,
- emits what it reflects within a specific range of wavelength to not contribute to the greenhouse effect.
How can it do this, that is, reflect the heat of the Sun away from a building without heating the atmosphere around the building? The scientists created a thermal emitter and solar reflector in one using nanophotonic materials. The material both suppresses the heat from sunlight but also radiates it efficiently so that it doesn't hang round but escapes right out of the Earth's atmosphere.
The net cooling exceeds 100 watts per square meter, about the same amount of power as current solar panels generate at 10% efficiency. A single-family home clad in this new material could easily reduce its air conditioning needs by 35% or more even on the hottest summer days, and do this without drawing on any power source.
Such a passive cooling technology would serve well in much of the Developing World where power infrastructure to drive air conditioning is non-existent or heavily reliant on the burning of fossil fuels. And for areas off the grid, a technology like this presents an ideal solution for keeping buildings and homes cool during hot summers.
Essays and comments posted in World Future Society and THE FUTURIST magazine blog portion of this site are the intellectual property of the authors, who retain full responsibility for and rights to their content. For permission to publish, distribute copies, use excerpts, etc., please contact the author. The opinions expressed are those of the author. The World Future Society takes no stand on what the future will or should be like.
KEEP UP WITH WFS NEWS & UPCOMING EVENTS
May 3, 2015 - Back on April 27th I wrote a posting entitled the Colorado River Flows to Sea of Cortez as U.S. Southwest Deals with Drought.
May 1, 2015 - The divestment movement that began in American universities, progressed to include Rockefellers among its successes, has now won over the
May 1, 2015 - Time to come clean. A few days ago I wrote a sneak preview of Tesla's upcoming announcement about a home battery to use with solar rooftop panels. Well I couldn't have gotten my information more wrong.
April 30, 2015 - My wife and I rent a condominium. We cannot install solar panels as a result. And when you consider our apartment uses electric heating, and the bills we have received this winter, I would love to see solar panels sprouting on the property.
April 29, 2015 - The world is increasingly urbanized. In the past six decades the population of the planet has shifted with more than half of us living on less than 1% of the global land area - cities. These urban spaces are the economic engines of human civilization and many are increasingly at risk because of declining access to freshwater.