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Sat Nov 10, 2018, 12:39 AM

New Air-Conditioner Absorbs Solar Energy and Blasts Radiation Into Space


By Chelsea Gohd | November 9, 2018 5:00 pm

As people search for solutions to the climate change crisis on Earth, scientists are working to create renewable energy sources as alternatives to fossil fuels. Now, scientists at Stanford University hope to offer a new solution as they are developing a single device that collects solar energy and shoots radiation out into space – acting as both a heater and air conditioner.

Collecting the sun’s energy via solar power has been a leading alternative energy source for many years. But this new work suggests that devices could both collect solar energy could and also use what is described as “space energy,” which isn’t really a source of energy, but rather a heat sink.

Alternative Cooling
Objects emit heat as infrared radiation (a type of light we can’t see). This radiation is mostly reflected back to Earth by reflective particles in the atmosphere. But some of it can escape into space. But this new technology, known as “radiative cooling,” capitalizes on this process and uses infrared light to cool its surrounding area, essentially allowing for fossil fuel-free air conditioning.


Space Energy
The research team thinks that such cooling “space energy” could potentially improve the efficiency of solar cells. And they’ve now developed a device that combines radiative cooling and solar absorption tech. “On a rooftop, we imagine a photovoltaic cell can supply electricity while the radiative cooler can cool down the house on hot summer days,” study lead author Zhen Chen, who is a former postdoctoral research associate at Stanford University and current professor at the Southeast University of China, said in a statement.

More:
http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2018/11/09/air-conditioner-energy-saving-space-energy-radiation/#.W-ZuypNKjIU

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