Meet the founders – Cooling Photonics
We talked with the team of Cooling Photonics to learn more about them. Take a look.
1- Can you briefly explain what your solution is all about? What’s unique about it?
Cooling Photonics provides passive cooling solutions that reduce energy consumption, with zero carbon emissions, increasing systems performance whilst decreasing operating costs. Our products, applied on any surface hotter than the ambient, dissipates heat in the form of infrared radiation in the most efficient manner, reducing its temperature, even under direct sunlight.
We have developed a passive cooling technology based on the natural process through which our planet regulates its temperature. The sand of the desert emits infrared radiation that passes through the atmosphere and dissipates the heat in outer space, regulating the temperature of the planet. This mechanism through which a body is cooled down by emitting infrared radiation is known as radiative cooling (RC). This process is safe, ubiquitous and highly efficient since all objects emit infrared radiation.
We have replicated and enhanced this physical property by applying nanoscience and nanotechnology.
2- What’s the story behind your company? How was the idea for this business born?
Cooling Photonics inception goes back to 2017 when Juliana Jaramillo (Marie Sklodowska-Curie COFUND -PSPHERE- postdoctoral researcher) began her research at the Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (ICN2, https://icn2.cat/en/) in the Phononic and Photonic Nanostructures Research Group, aimed at obtaining a material with exceptional radiative capacities.
In 2019 the material is already a reality and the results obtained augur a very high potential of the technology. Thus the technology is patented by the ICN2 and the project is submitted to the acceleration program “The Collider” (https://thecollider.tech/) where it is chosen as the best project of the edition and awarded with a cash prize (€2k). In the acceleration programme, Antonio Cuenca and Javier Achiaga joined the project, completing the team and reinforcing the business side of the venture.
During the program, the business opportunity and the complementarity and perfect attunement of Juliana, Antonio and Javier was verified, thus they founded the company in September 2020.
3-Which is the challenge that your solution tackles, and how do you set apart from the other companies with similar solutions?
Currently, we waste energy (active technologies) to evacuate energy (heat)??!!! Wouldn’t it be better to facilitate energy (heat) to release itself more efficiently without wasting energy (passive technologies)? Our technology works on two principles. The first is the composition of the material with particles of high radiative emissivity. The second principle is based on the surface finish on the micro and nanoscale and allows the technology to be more efficient and more versatile. This surface finish allows modelling the reflection, refraction and absorption of the different wavelengths of radiation at will, providing a significant improvement in efficiency and versatility. It also allows providing other interesting properties, such as being water repellent, light-concentrating, antibacterial or antiviral.
4- What are your goals, and what’s the biggest challenge you are trying to overcome at this moment?
Our vision of the future involves sustainable cooling systems that rely on passive thermodynamic processes to efficiently remove heat, redirect it and reuse it when needed, taking care of the environment. The technological strategy that we use to materialize our vision is to functionalize materials for radiative cooling to boost energy efficiency through passive thermal management. We achieved this by engineering the surface properties of the films to maximize the natural blackbody radiation to emit thermal energy in the infrared from 5 to 50µm, comprising the spectral transparency window of the atmosphere (8 – 13 µm). In this manner, it is possible to evacuate heat from a hot surface into the cold outer space that is at 3 K (-270ºC), resulting in cooling with zero energy consumption.
The technology is aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and collaborates to solve the problem of global warming. It allows reducing the consumption of cooling energy, avoiding the generation of greenhouse gases. Exchanging heat through the infrared radiation window of the atmosphere, managing to evacuate heat from the Earth to outer space and helping the thermal regulation of the planet.
Our biggest challenge at the moment is to evangelise an innovative process based on radiative cooling that challenges the current paradigm of thermal management, traditionally focused on leveraging the impact of conduction and convection.
5- What advice would you give to an entrepreneur trying to pave his/her way in the space sector landscape?
To leverage industry and incubation programmes such as SUN, it will provide support in the form of contacts and exposure to companies operating in the sector. Don’t go alone in this process and reach out for help.
6- About SUN, why did you apply?
The reason we apply to the SUN programme is that it is a great opportunity for companies like Cooling Photonics that have an idea/MVP, our mentor, Andrea Bennetti is providing valuable expertise in this sector, helping us through the pre-incubation programme with the aim to be able to provide value in space applications in the near future.