Producing energy has a very heavy carbon footprint, as thermoelectric power plants tend to spend a lot of energy to keep themselves cool. While this makes their net efficiency lower, a team of researchers from University of Colorado Boulder have found a solution to this, that too without wasteful expenditure of electricity and water. While plants have been using alternative dry cooling technology as these require less water for condensation, this technology is not as effective as the conventional cooling solutions and is over 5-6 times more expensive.
But new research, published in Science, shows scientists have been able to create a new material which can reflect incoming solar energy, as also allow a surface shed its own heat in the form of infrared thermal radiation. So, in this case the material, a glass-hybrid coated with silver, lets heat escape via infrared ducts.
But the use of the technology is not just restricted to thermal plants; the low-cost material can be used for even cooling houses during summer. More important, it can also increase the efficiency of solar panels, which also heat up too fast under direct sunlight. With the world’s energy needs rising, solutions like these can help focus on not just getting people what they want, but also ensuring it is done in an ecologically-conservative manner. The only thing that curtails their growth is how fast the government adopts them.