Passive radiative cooling draws heat from surfaces and radiates it into space as infrared radiation to which the atmosphere is transparent. Radiative cooling is an extremely attractive concept in the 21st century. This technology has attracted broad interests from both fundamental sciences and real world applications, ranging from passive building cooling, renewable energy harvesting and passive refrigeration in arid regions.
Recently, a team of University of Colorado Boulder engineers has developed a scalable manufactured metamaterial — an engineered material with extraordinary properties not found in nature — to act as a kind of air conditioning system for structures. It has the ability to cool objects even under direct sunlight with zero energy and water consumption. When backed with silver coating, the metamaterial shows a noon-time radiative cooling power of 93 W/m2 under direct sunshine. More critically, the reserarchers demonstrated high-throughput, economical roll-to-roll manufacturing of the metamaterial, vital for promoting radiative cooling as a viable energy technology.