One of the greatest customs of people during the summer is, without a doubt, to turn on the air conditioning. With the arrival of high temperatures, the use of these ventilation systems is more and more recurrent, which unfortunately have an impact on the environment and on the electricity bill.
To mitigate this problem, Yi Zheng, a nanomaterials expert and professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at Northeastern University (Boston, USA) has designed a “cooling paper” that reflects heat from roofs and even absorbs heat from houses. and buildings with the aim of sustainably controlling the indoor temperature.
This novel invention can reduce the interior temperature by up to 12 degrees, without using electricity. It is presented as an ecological solution both due to its reduction in energy consumption and due to the fact that it is a totally recyclable material. Furthermore, after being used it can be used again without losing any of its cooling properties. “We thought there might be a 10-20% loss, but no,” Zheng confesses.
This paper-based compound not only reflects the sun’s rays to prevent heating, but also “expels” the heat from the interior produced by electronic devices or by people themselves. This is thanks to the porous microstructure of its natural fibers, which absorb heat and send it outside.
Zheng’s eyes lit up when he saw a bucket full of printing paper. So he wondered if there might be a way to transform this waste into useful material. And it was when, with the help of a blender, he mixed it with the material to produce Teflon and came up with a water-repellent compound with surprising cooling capabilities.
Zheng foresees that this material will not only cover the roofs of houses, warehouses and office buildings, but also reduce utility bills through his research. He also hopes his work will help combat climate change. “The ultimate goal is to reduce global warming,” he says.