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
March 3, 2015 - The 21st century is creating a whole new area of expertise and a business opportunity for organizations both private and public focused on mitigating and combating climate change. Here is a brief overview of a few of these. If you know of others please let me know and I will endeavour to write about the work they are doing in this most important field.
March 1, 2015 - In 2012 Indonesia's contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) global emissions amounted to 4.5%. That placed them sixth, well behind the United States, China and Germany.
February 27, 2015 - A few days away in Jamaica this week and I am feeling the vibe of that island even while sitting down to write about a journey far longer than a hop across the Caribbean from Florida to Montego Bay.
Science fiction is a genre of literature in which artifacts and techniques humans devise as exemplary expressions of our intelligence result in problems that perplex our intelligence or even bring it into existential crisis.
February 21, 2015 - By 2050 with more than 9 billion human mouths to feed let alone countless cattle, pigs, chickens and other meat, it is not surprising that food scientists are turning to the most prolific animals on Earth as a good source for protein. We are not talking about two and four-legged creatures, but those with six - insects.
February 19, 2015 - Some of you who are my readers may not know that when I graduated from university my degree was in Islamic Studies and Medieval History. I was very much aware of Islam's contribution to the science of mathematics, astronomy and chemistry during the golden age of the Islamic World, the 8th through the 10th century.