Keep your cool: New paint eliminates the need for air conditioning

Purdue University scientists developed an innovation to help you chill out without turning on air conditioning. They created a white paint that keeps surfaces up to 18 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than surroundings and shoots heat from the Earth out into the universe. I know, it sounds a little like science fiction, but the researchers say it’s reality.

They liken the technology to how a refrigerator works, but without any energy consumption. “It’s very counterintuitive for a surface in direct sunlight to be cooler than the temperature your local weather station reports for that area, but we’ve shown this to be possible,” said Xiulin Ruan, a Purdue professor of mechanical engineering.

  • The paint absorbs almost no solar energy and reflects heat away from surfaces.
  • The reflected heat does not get caught in the Earth’s atmosphere where it would contribute to global warming. Rather, it travels into deep space which is “an infinite heat sink,” Xiangyu Li, a postdoctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who worked on this project, said in a news release. Therefore, Earth’s surface would actually get cooler if this paint were applied to surfaces such as building rooftops, roads, and cars across the world.
  • This white paint reflects more ultraviolet rays and maintains a lower temperature than other commercially available heat-rejecting paints; others reflect 80% to 90% of sunlight while Purdue’s reflects 95.5%.
  • The researchers estimate this paint would be cheaper to produce than competitors’ and would save about $1 per day in air conditioning costs for a one-story, 1,076-square-foot home.

Today’s headlines:

🚌 TRANSPORTATION: Automotive technology supplier BorgWarner of Auburn Hills, Michigan, is partnering with Michigan Technological University and others on a project to reduce energy consumption by expanding connected vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication. The 27-month, U.S. Department of Energy-funded project kicks off this month and will use both closed-track and real-world technology testing.

🌱 BIOMATERIAL: The U.S. Department of Defense awarded $87.5 million in funding to create the Bioindustrial Manufacturing And Design Ecosystem (BioMADE) manufacturing innovation institute at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. It will boost nonmedical biotechnology development and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.


  • Clean Energy Trust has invested $100,000 in Chicago-based, early-stage startup Varuna Tech, which develops artificial intelligence-powered sensors and deep analytics for real-time water utility operations monitoring.
  • The Wisconsin Venture Capital Association is reviving after nearly a decade of dormancy, reports the Milwaukee Business Journal. The group’s goal is to increase interest in entrepreneurship and in investing in entrepreneurship across the state, especially considering Wisconsin significantly lags neighboring Minnesota and Illinois in venture capital dollar flow.

🏃 ACCELERATOR: Kansas City, Missouri-based utility Evergy will be a founding partner for Plug and Play’s new accelerator in Topeka, Kansas. The program will focus on supporting agtech and animal health startups.


  • Some Midwest groups and individuals are among the 13 public transportation honorees to be recognized by the American Public Transportation Association during its annual conference, reports Mass Transit magazine. Notably, the Central Ohio Transit Authority in Columbus was recognized for focusing on adopting cleaner and more efficient transit vehicles and sustainability initiatives.
  • The Ann Arbor SPARK economic development nonprofit in Michigan won an award from the International Economic Development Council for its mobility living lab project, reports WDIV. The suite of advanced software tools that resulted helps to solve mobility ecosystem issues such as advancing electric vehicle adoption or reducing emissions.


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