Researchers at Stanford University have invented a material that can draw heat from buildings and send it into the depths of outer space. The material can help to cool buildings on hot days and can be manufactured into ultra-thin layers.
“It’s a structure that cools itself without electricity input, even under the sun… And the net result is you get something that if you put on the roof, you have a temperature below ambient air temperature by a significant amount.”Shanhui Fan
Stanford University professor Shanhui Fan said that the new panels – which are in some way similar to sand – act like a high-tech mirror siphoning out heat from buildings and reflecting the sun’s rays. The heat can be sent up to 100 kilometers up into space.
One fascinating insight is that no electricity is needed in order to complete the process. It basically radiates heat on its own.
The panels can reduce room temperatures by up to 5 degrees Celsius below outside temperatures. The energy, once beamed into space, in done so at a frequency which does not warm the air.
Another possible use for the technology could be in developing countries.
“In areas where one is off-grid, this actually gave a … significant potential benefit for storing medicine or food,” Fan said. “In many of these situations, being able to reduce the temperature is important. And this would be a way to do it.”Shanhui Fan
The researchers currently describe the technology as small scale but believe the technology could be scaled up to production levels.
The real challenge will be in manufacturing the panels in the real-world and achieving the same results as in the tests.