Developing Eco-Friendly Cooling Solutions

MIE Associate Professor Yi Zheng’s spinout from his lab at Northeastern, Planck Energies, has received a $275K NSF grant for “Climate-Eco-friendly Biocoating for Passive Cooling of Infrastructure.”

Abstract Source: NSF

The broader/commercial impact of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project seeks to reduce global warming using an innovative passive cooling technique. The project will develop an environmentally friendly, passive cooling coating that can help reduce the temperature of buildings. The coating is expected to provide energy reductions ranging from 5-25%, depending on climate and building characteristics. The solution may reduce the need for traditional compressor-based cooling systems (e.g., air conditioners), which require a constant supply of electricity and coolants, stressing the environment through the greenhouse effect. The company expects to generate commercial revenues from both the paint-like coating featuring biocompatible passive cooling fibers and raw hydroxyapatite (HAP) fibers. Main customer target groups for the paint matrix include commercial and residential building owners that are looking for ways to lower their electric bills while lessening their negative environmental footprint.

The proposed innovation is founded on self-cleaning, fire-resistant, cooling fibers formulated with HAP. HAP cooling fibers will be integrated within a paint matrix for ease of application and cost-effectiveness. The aim is to develop and commercialize this environmentally friendly, passive cooling material as a coating with multiple functionalities. The team will identify environmentally friendly, paint-based materials within cost constraints, determine paint-fiber compatibility, and validate the cooling performance of candidate composites. The durability of the paint materials will also be confirmed. The project will focus on the design of a small-scale manufacturing line capable of producing fiber-based cooling paint at pilot scale for repeatability and field validation.

Related Departments:Mechanical & Industrial Engineering