Air Conditioning without Electricity? Sending Hot Air to Outer Space

The first step in protecting cancer patients at risk
Newly Discovered “Pre-Cancer” Gene Mutation May be Key to Identifying Cancer Risk
December 11, 2014
La Villita Park Chicago
From EPA Superfund Site to a Kid’s Paradise: An Amazing Transformation in Inner-City Chicago
December 28, 2014

Air Conditioning without Electricity? Sending Hot Air to Outer Space

New material to reduce heat in buildings
New material to reduce heat in buildings

Is this the end of air conditioning?

Sounds a bit far-fetched, but researchers at Stanford University have invented a strategy to do just this.

Air conditioning is expensive

It is well established that electricity usage peaks during the summer months when air conditioning units are running practically non-stop. In fact, the existence of air conditioning has made it possible to live in even the most unbearably hot climates in the world, but the cost is significant both financially and to the environment. In the United States, 15% of energy costs are associated with air conditioning.

Aaswath Raman, lead researcher at Stanford, was looking for a passive way to cool buildings, without the use of electricity. He and his colleagues have developed a technology for buildings that will lower their cooling costs by projecting the heat into outer space. Dr. Raman notes that outer space is huge and very cold, making it an ideal sink for the tremendous amount of radiated heat that reaches the surface of buildings.

How to do it?

Dr. Raman and the research team invented a material, basically a reflecting skin that can radiate 97% of the sunlight that hits the building surface. The material consists of seven alternating layers of materials: four layers of silicon dioxide, with three layers of hafnium dioxide placed in between. The skin’s backing is made from a 220 nanometers layer of silver, which serves as a mirror. The final result is a covering that is less than two microns, functioning similar to a semiconductor, manipulating levels of energy.

There is still a bit of work to do. For one, Dr. Raman notes that the hafnium dioxide is very expensive. He wants to replace it with the much more affordable titanium dioxide. Also, the material can only be used where there is a direct vista to the sky so that the heat can be reflected straight to outer space. This means that only rooftops can be covered with the material. Buildings will still need some air conditioning units, but to reduce electricity while maintaining cooling comfort is already a great leap forward.

  • Tokochi Madjid

    this technology is very beneficial especially for electric consumption, air conditioning is essential for each building, and will be very useful once the project finished , a big adventage for companies

  • quicany2345

    The technology is awesome, looking forward to see this on a large scale.

  • Afroja rokty

    It is good writing about our eco system, in this writing it have completely clear concept about effect of air condition’s.