Researchers at the University of Maryland have engineered a novel “cooling glass” that serves as an innovative, electricity-free approach to decreasing indoor heat and carbon emissions, thus heralding a new era in eco-friendly building practices.
This unique coating, applied to building exteriors, aims to lessen the reliance on air conditioning and mitigate the effects of climate change.
The team at the University of Maryland has introduced a groundbreaking “cooling glass” that lowers indoor temperatures without electrical power. This material operates by utilizing the coolness of space.
Described in a study published in the journal Science, this new technology involves a microporous glass coating that can reduce the temperature of the underlying surface by 3.5 degrees Celsius at peak noon. It is projected to diminish the annual carbon emissions of a mid-rise apartment building by 10%, as per the research led by Distinguished University Professor Liangbing Hu from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.
Dual-Action Cooling Process
The coating functions in two distinct ways: Firstly, it reflects nearly 99% of solar radiation, preventing heat absorption by buildings. More remarkably, it discharges heat as longwave infrared radiation into the cold expanse of space, where temperatures hover around -270 degrees Celsius, just above absolute zero.
This process, known as “radiative cooling,” leverages space as a heat sink for buildings. The buildings use the new cooling glass and the atmospheric transparency window, a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that does not heat the atmosphere, to expel vast amounts of heat into the vast, frigid cosmos. (This is akin to the earth’s natural cooling, especially on clear nights, albeit less intense than the emissions from the new glass.)
Innovative and Resilient Material
Assistant Research Scientist Xinpeng Zhao, lead author of the study, notes, “This is a transformative technology that simplifies building cooling and energy efficiency. It has the potential to redefine our living standards and how we care for our planet and home.”
This cooling glass from UMD stands out for its environmental stability. It resists water, UV rays, dirt, and even fire, enduring temperatures up to 1,000 degrees Celsius. Suitable for various surfaces like tile, brick, and metal, its scalability and adaptability make it a promising widespread solution.
The glass is made using finely ground glass particles as a binder, avoiding polymers and ensuring its long-term durability outdoors, according to Zhao. The particle size is optimized for maximum infrared heat emission while reflecting sunlight.
A Step Forward in Climate Change Mitigation
The creation of cooling glass is in line with global efforts to reduce energy usage and tackle climate change. Hu highlights recent findings indicating that the recent Fourth of July may have been the hottest day in 125,000 years, underscoring the importance of this technology.
“This ‘cooling glass’ is a critical component in addressing climate change,” Hu remarks. “By reducing air conditioning dependency, we are making significant strides in lowering energy consumption and carbon emissions, demonstrating the role of new technologies in fostering a cooler, more sustainable world.”
The study also includes contributions from mechanical engineering Professor Jelena Srebric and Professor Zongfu Yu from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who provided insights on CO2 savings in buildings and structural design.
The research team is now focused on further testing and practical implementation of their cooling glass. They remain positive about its commercial potential and have established the startup CeraCool to expand and market the technology.
Reference: “A solution-processed radiative cooling glass” by Xinpeng Zhao, Tangyuan Li, Hua Xie, He Liu, Lingzhe Wang, Yurui Qu, Stephanie C. Li, Shufeng Liu, Alexandra H. Brozena, Zongfu Yu, Jelena Srebric and Liangbing Hu, 9 November 2023, Science. DOI: 10.1126/science.adi2224
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Cooling Glass Technology
What is the “cooling glass” developed by University of Maryland researchers?
The “cooling glass” is an innovative material created by University of Maryland researchers, designed to reduce indoor heat and carbon emissions in buildings without using electricity. It works by reflecting solar radiation and emitting heat into space, effectively cooling the building’s interior.
How does the cooling glass help in combating climate change?
The cooling glass helps combat climate change by reducing the reliance on air conditioning, which in turn lowers energy consumption and carbon emissions. By reflecting solar radiation and emitting heat into space, it provides an eco-friendly solution for building temperature regulation.
What are the unique features of the University of Maryland’s cooling glass?
The University of Maryland’s cooling glass is unique in its dual-function mechanism: it reflects up to 99% of solar radiation and emits heat as longwave infrared radiation into space. It is also environmentally stable, resisting water, UV rays, dirt, and fire, and can withstand temperatures up to 1,000 degrees Celsius.
How does the cooling glass contribute to energy efficiency in buildings?
The cooling glass contributes to energy efficiency by significantly reducing the need for air conditioning in buildings. This reduction in AC usage leads to lower energy consumption and contributes to a decrease in overall carbon emissions from building operations.
What are the future prospects and commercialization plans for the cooling glass?
The research team is focused on further testing and practical applications of the cooling glass. They are optimistic about its commercialization prospects and have established a startup, CeraCool, to scale up and market the technology, aiming to make it widely available for sustainable building practices.
More about Cooling Glass Technology
- University of Maryland
- Science Journal Article
- Radiative Cooling Technology
- Sustainable Building Practices
- CeraCool Startup Company
- Energy Efficiency Solutions
- Climate Change Mitigation Strategies