Demo project image
Panels are integrated with off-the-shelf air conditioning and refrigeration systems in a field trial demonstration. Photo: Courtesy of SkyCool Systems.

Sending heat into outer space may sound like science fiction, but a new technology does just that to help cool buildings more efficiently. It makes use of a natural phenomenon.

Sending heat into outer space sounds like sci-fi ... but learn more about this new technology. Click To Tweet

Raman: “The earth is radiating heat out. Some of it is trapped – that’s the greenhouse effect. But a lot of it effectively escapes to the upper atmosphere.”

Aaswath Raman is part of a Stanford research team that developed the cooling panels. When placed over pipes of warm water, they draw heat out of the water, then convert and emit it at a wavelength that passes into outer space. Plus, the panels are made from a high-tech material that reflects light from the sun, adding to their ability to keep things cool.

The researchers founded a company called Skycool Systems and are testing the panels as a way to cool air conditioners and refrigeration units so they run more efficiently. But they’re also further developing the technology. Raman thinks the underlying concept could transform how whole buildings are cooled. That, he says, will be critical as the climate warms.

Raman: “The demand for cooling is going to grow and we need to find better ways of meeting that demand.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.

Topics: Energy