Researchers have developed a “thermal cloak” that may substantially increase the efficiency of electric vehicles — and could have even bigger applications in the future as well.
Researchers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University created the “Janus thermal cloak,” which uses photon recycling and radiative cooling to maintain temperatures in batteries while conserving energy, according to Energy Live News.
Temperature regulation ordinarily involves active systems that utilize considerable energy to maintain temperatures, but the cloak instead acts passively, which minimizes its consumption of energy and increases its efficiency.
The JTC proved to be able to cool EV batteries as much as 8 degrees Celsius and also showed the ability to warm the batteries as much as 6.8 degrees Celsius, according to Energy Live News.
The thermal cloak is durable, lightweight, and scalable, according to captioned images on Energy Live News.
The scientists who developed the JTC, Cui Kehang and Qiao Huaxu, named it after the Roman god Janus because its two-pronged functionality reflects the two-faced nature of the deity, according to Optics & Photonics News.
Additionally, the JTC has demonstrated usefulness in heating and cooling entire vehicles, not just the batteries, according to Optics & Photonics News.
It’s possible that the cloak may even have applications for regulating temperatures in buildings, according to Optics & Photonics News.
That last point could have significant environmental benefits, as air conditioning emits as much as 1,950 million tons of carbon dioxide every year — about 3.9% of all dangerous heat-trapping emissions, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The JTC could help regulate temperatures without using nearly as much electricity. National Renewable Energy Laboratory reported that cooling and heating represented half of buildings’ energy usage worldwide. The International Energy Agency says about 20% of the amount of energy used in buildings on the planet are used by AC or fans to stay cool.
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