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Israeli startup soCold turns sun’s rays into electricity-free cool air conditioning

SolCold’s nanotechnology coating is a potentially game-changing energy-free cooling solution for buildings or equipment in hot, sunny climes.

by Yaron Shenhav, an electro-optics engineer; Vice President of Finance Gadi Grottas, and physics professor Guy Ron.
by Yaron Shenhav, an electro-optics engineer; Vice President of Finance Gadi Grottas, and physics professor Guy Ron.

Coating materials that offer resistance to fire, water, and severe temperatures are not novel. However, an Israeli startup Socold does much more than shield surfaces from the light. SolCold really uses the sun’s energy to trigger a cooling process, delivering effective air conditioning without the usage of electricity.

Air conditioning is one of the major concerns facing humanity in a warming environment. The warmer our atmosphere gets, the more people will want to buy and use air conditioners. But the air conditioners’ electricity use, in turn, creates pollution and further heats the air surrounding the structure and adds to global warming.

The number of air-conditioning units in the world is predicted to climb to 5.6 billion in 2050, from 1.6 billion as of 1990, according to International Energy Agency estimates.

Socold’s double-layered coating absorbs the sun’s heat and re-emits it as cold. The more solar radiation there is, the faster the coating cools, making SolCold’s paint a potentially game-changing electricity-free option for regions with high levels of solar radiation, such as Africa and Central and South America.

SolCold’s product is gaining interest in coating everything that is exposed to the light, even entire cities in hot climates to reduce energy consumption and thereby greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. But, it can coat also small as hothouses, residential buildings, shopping malls, stadiums, cargo ships, automobiles, planes, and military equipment.

Egg farms, though, maybe one of the primary clients for the cooling coating, as hot weather affects laying hens and significantly reduces their output.

The product is inexpensive and provides a reasonable rate of return on investment. The materials utilized in the coating are all readily available, are 100 percent “green” and carbon-neutral, and are activated using free solar energy.

SolCold’s double-layered covering chilled an object by 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) in a lab test using only 1% of the sun’s energy. The paint has the potential to reduce electricity use by up to 60% and is projected to last 10 to 15 years before requiring a new coat.

The company was founded in 2016 by Yaron Shenhav, an electro-optics engineer; Vice President of Finance Gadi Grottas, and physics professor Guy Ron.

In June 2016 SolCold received its first exposure when it was selected as one of six Israeli startups to participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in California, organized by the US State Department and White House.

SolCold was also a finalist in the deep tech competition at the Hello Tomorrow Summit in Paris in October 2017 right after the company got out of stealth mode. The publicity brought the company tremendous attention. Hundreds of inquiries from people around the world interested in distributing the product.

The company owns the intellectual property (IP) for devising the “anti-stokes fluorescence” technology which is extremely complicated. It has a unique combination of knowledge from the fields of thermodynamics, nanotechnology, and quantum physics.

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