A team of scientists at the University of Notre Dame in collaboration with South Korea’s Kyung Hee University has utilized quantum computing and AI to help develop a new transparent window coating capable of blocking solar heat.
The science and other stuff to know
Air conditioning releases up to 4 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, according to National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). This calls for the need for serious innovations to address the issue, and researchers at the University of Notre Dame may have come up with an effective solution.
In findings published in ACS Energy Levels, a journal of the American Chemical Society, two scientists at the university developed a window coating called Transparent Radiative Cooler (TRC) that can lower the temperature inside buildings without using any electricity. What’s more, the window coating (made up of silica, alumina, and titanium oxide) doesn’t block the outdoor view.
To determine the absolute best materials configuration for TRC, the team relied on machine learning and quantum computing. This approach allowed them to simulate all possible material combinations in a fraction of a second.
Scientists claim TRC only permits external visible light that doesn’t raise indoor temperatures. In hot, dry cities, they estimate it could reduce energy consumption for cooling by 31 percent. It could also lower greenhouse emissions.
In addition, while AC units simply move heat outside, contributing to local warming, this new window coating reflects it back through the atmosphere. As a result, it could help cool the planet.
The quantum computing-based technique could also be applied to develop other scalable materials in the future, according to the researchers.
The new innovation is relatively in its early phases. Thus, it’s not clear whether this transparent window coating will make it out of the lab. But if it does, it could help cut cooling costs in buildings. It could also be tweaked for use on vehicle windows, minimizing the need for AC in cars, airplanes, and more.