Solar Structure That Cools Buildings in Full Sunlight

Electrical engineering Professor Shanhui Fan (center) and graduate students Aaswath Raman (left) and Eden Rephaeli (right) have developed a solar cooling device that may be able to supply air conditioning without using electricity to poor and off-the-grid areas.

Electrical engineering Professor Shanhui Fan (center) and graduate students Aaswath Raman (left) and Eden Rephaeli (right) have developed a solar cooling device that may be able to supply air conditioning without using electricity to poor and off-the-grid areas.

A Stanford team has designed an entirely new form of cooling panel that works even when the sun is shining. Such a panel could vastly improve the daylight cooling of buildings, cars and other structures by radiating sunlight back into the chilly vacuum of space.

Homes and buildings chilled without air conditioners. Car interiors that don’t heat up in the summer sun. Tapping the frigid expanses of outer space to cool the planet. Science fiction, you say? Well, maybe not any more.

A team of researchers at Stanford has designed an entirely new form of cooling structure that cools even when the sun is shining. Such a structure could vastly improve the daylight cooling of buildings, cars and other structures by reflecting sunlight back into the chilly vacuum of space. Their paper describing the device was published March 5 in Nano Letters

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