InventWood Featured in Nature
Last May, the Colorado team reported another material: a cooling wood, created with Liangbing Hu and Tian Li at the University of Maryland, College Park. Just like polymers, wood contains chemical bonds that emit the right kind of infrared radiation, says Li. A net cooling effect can be achieved by chemically removing a rigid component called lignin to make the wood reflective and compressing the product to align its cellulose fibres and amplify infrared emissions.
Hu, meanwhile, has licensed the super-cool wood material to a Maryland-based firm he co-founded called InventWood. He predicts that it could save 20–35% of cooling energy across 16 US cities.