A Solar Structure That Could Eventually Replace Air Conditioning

  • April 17th 2013

by Shilpi Paul

A Solar Structure That Could Eventually Replace Air Conditioning: Figure 1
The team behind the new technology. Photo courtesy of Stanford.

Stanford University scientists have just created a solar structure that may one day replace the air conditioner.

The solar panels that we are most familiar with are those that capture heat from the sun and use it to generate energy. Now, a team of researchers and engineers have developed a solar structure that reflects the sun’s heat away, effectively cooling down the building underneath. A reflective surface sends the sun’s rays back into space, keeping heat out of homes, offices or even cars.

The biggest challenge, according to a paper that was published in early March, was creating a structure that reflected the heat at such a wavelength that it would be sent far into space, rather than stay stuck in the Earth’s atmosphere. The Stanford team used “nanostructured photonic materials” to accomplish this goal.

Replacing electricity-draining A/C devices with a reflective panel would save a lot of energy, and the Stanford team is looking forward to all the potential uses of their product. They are also targeting off-grid areas that don’t have the option of connecting to a typical energy plant.

With such a new technology, it is hard to say how far we are from seeing these panels on homes and buildings in the area. However, it does look like the engineers behind the project hope that their new invention will be available to the wider world at some point.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/scientists_have_created_a_solar_structure_that_cools_rather_than_powers/6944.

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