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Company Develops Cooling Paint That Uses Sunlight

Thursday, October 19, 2017

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SolCold, a firm based in Israel, has developed a coating to keep roofs cool with the help of the sun and the technology behind laser cooling.

The product’s basic principles involve laser cooling and applying that idea to the spectrum of sunlight.

According to company co-founder Yaron Shenhav, “It’s like putting a layer of ice on your rooftop which is thicker when there is more sun.”

Cool Coating Chemistry

Unlike other coatings used to try to cool buildings and road surfaces, SolCold’s paint can actively cool, rather than simply reducing the heat absorbed by these surfaces. On simulations of buildings that might use the paint, the top floors were cooled up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association

According to company co-founder Yaron Shenhav, “It’s like putting a layer of ice on your rooftop which is thicker when there is more sun.”

These principles fall under the umbrella of laser cooling, which involves hitting specially designed materials with a laser, cooling them by up to 302 degrees Fahrenheit. According to New Scientist, this process works due to these materials absorbing photons of light that are at one frequency, while re-emitting higher-frequency photons more spontaneously. This results in the loss of energy, and therefore a lowering in temperature.

Instead of using a laser, SolCold reworked the coating to use sunlight instead.

“Heat from a building could be absorbed and re-emitted as light,” Shenhav said. “As long as the sun is shining on it, it would be continuously cooled.”

Unlike a laser, however, the sun’s spectrum is wide, so Solcold had to engineer a coating that could use scattered light. What resulted was a two-layered paint: an outer element that filters out some of the sun’s rays, while the inner converts heat to light, which results in coolness below the ambient temperature.

Lab testing has been successful thus far, demonstrating that the coating is more effective on metal roofs than concrete, especially over rooms with low ceilings, according to New Scientist.

The long-term impact would be something of a trickle-down effect: smaller air conditioners could be installed, which would lead to saving money on the cost of energy. The building would also have a lower emissions footprint.

There is also hope that SolCold’s coating could be used in space to ward off heat that results from the lack of air. The coating could also disperse heat away, making it a more practical solution than fabrics and heat exchangers.


Tagged categories: Coating Materials; Cool roof coatings

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (10/19/2017, 8:04 AM)

Extremely interesting. Hopefully they can make it durable, cost-effective and relatively straightforward to apply.

Comment from Gary Burke, (10/19/2017, 8:18 AM)

This sounds like a great advancement! The energy savings sounds phenomenal.

Comment from Mark Ryan, (10/19/2017, 8:56 AM)

Anyone have a link to an actual paper not behind a pay wall? There are a lot of claims out there of new materials that supercool roofs, and it seems that they all have some pretty significant issues for actual use. The link claims that the top floor of building will be 10C cooler. Cooler than what? There needs to be a peer-reviewed papers with proper controls in the experiment otherwise this sounds like cold roof fusion. When ORNL or LBNL sign off on it, that is when I'll get excited.

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