UMD Researchers’ ‘Cooling Glass’ Blasts Building Heat Into Space

UMD Researchers’ ‘Cooling Glass’ Blasts Building Heat Into Space

UMD Researchers’ ‘Cooling Glass’ Blasts Building Heat Into Space


University of Maryland researchers aiming to combat rising global temperatures have developed a new “cooling glass” that can turn down the heat indoors without electricity by drawing on the cold depths of space.

The new technology, a microporous glass coating described in a paper published Thursday in the journal Science, can lower the temperature of the material beneath it by 3.5 degrees Celsius at noon, and has the potential to reduce a mid-rise apartment building’s yearly carbon emissions by 10%, according to the research team led by Distinguished University Professor Liangbing Hu in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

The coating works in two ways: First, it reflects up to 99% of solar radiation to stop buildings from absorbing heat. More intriguingly, it emits heat in the form of longwave infrared radiation into the icy universe, where the temperature is generally around -270 degrees Celsius, or just a few degrees above absolute zero.

In a phenomenon known as “radiative cooling,” space effectively acts as a heat sink for the buildings; they take advantage of the new cooling glass design along with the so-called atmospheric transparency window—a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that passes through the atmosphere without boosting its temperature—to dump large amounts of heat into the infinite cold sky beyond. (The same phenomenon allows the earth to cool itself, particularly on clear nights, although with much less intense emissions than those from the new glass developed at UMD.)

“It’s a game-changing technology that simplifies how we keep buildings cool and energy-efficient,” said Assistant Research Scientist Xinpeng Zhao, the first author of the study. “This could change the way we live and help us take better care of our home and our planet."

Unlike previous attempts at cooling coatings, the new UMD-developed glass is environmentally stable—able to withstand exposure to water, ultraviolet radiation, dirt and even flames, enduring temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees Celsius.  The glass can be applied to a variety of surfaces like tile, brick and metal, making the technology highly scalable and adoptable for wide use.

The team used finely ground glass particles as a binder, allowing them to avoid polymers and enhance its long-term durability outdoors, Zhao said. And they chose the particle size to maximize emission of infrared heat while simultaneously reflecting sunlight.

The development of the cooling glass aligns with global efforts to cut energy consumption and fight climate change, pointing to recent reports that this year’s Fourth of July fell on what may have been the hottest day globally in 125,000 years.

"This 'cooling glass' is more than a new material—it's a key part of the solution to climate change,” said Hu. “By cutting down on air conditioning use, we're taking big steps toward using less energy and reducing our carbon footprint. It shows how new technology can help us build a cooler, greener world."

Along with Hu and Zhao, mechanical engineering Professor Jelena Srebric and Professor Zongfu Yu from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison are co-authors of this study, contributing their expertise on building CO2 savings and structure design, respectively.

The team is now focusing on further testing and practical applications of their cooling glass. They are optimistic about its commercialization prospects and have created the startup company CeraCool to scale up and commercialize it.

Read the study in Science, DOI: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.adi2224

IN THE NEWS

 

Related Articles:
New solid-state sodium batteries enable lower cost and more sustainable energy storage
Miao Yu receives NSF funding to develop ice-measuring sensors
Elastocaloric Cooling System Developed by Clark School Faculty Featured in Science
Crank Up the AC, Not Global Warming
Srebric Leads Development of Mask Alternative for Prolonged Use
Light-Sensing Memory, Sensor Devices Unleashed Via Pioneering Materials Design
Next-Generation Batteries Could Come with Lower Production Costs, Less Environmental Impact
Maryland Researchers Awarded $1.5 Million to Pioneer Batteries for Electric Rail and Maritime Transportation
Researcher’s Pacific Dive Spurred Innovations in Robotics with Machine Intelligence to Create Biodegradable Plastic Substitutes
Maryland Researchers Awarded $197K NSF Grant to Study Structure Losses in Maui Wildfires

November 13, 2023


Prev   Next

Current Headlines

Ph.D. Student Receives Best Paper Award at VFS 80th Annual Forum

Maryland Engineering: Top 10 Among Public Graduate Programs, Six Years Running

Registration Open for UMD/NFPA Fire & Life Safety Ecosystem Symposium

Teaching Students Specialized Skills for Success

Boyce Highlights Promise of Soft Composites

Maryland Engineering to Highlight Educational Advances at the 2024 ASEE Annual Conference

UMD Roundtable Weighs Lessons Learned From Key Bridge Collapse

Innovating in Engineering Education: Join Us at the 2024 ASEE Annual Conference

News Resources

Return to Newsroom

Search News

Archived News

Events Resources

Events Calendar