an innovative solution to cool homes without the need for air conditioning

Sustainable thermal energy batteries made from wood, lemon and coconut: an innovative solution to cool homes without the need for air conditioningImage: pol_1978 – Depositphotos.

During hot spells, most people turn to air conditioning to cool their homes. However, this practice can be expensive and is not always environmentally friendly. Fortunately, the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has developed an innovative solution to cool homes without the need for air conditioning.

This is the structural thermal coil in wood, lemon and coconut shell, a new transparent wood biocomposite capable of storing thermal energy. This material is a mixture of wood and fruit waste that can be used as a building material for the exterior and interior of homes and offices.

The process of creating this material begins with the chemical removal of lignin from wood fibers, which creates tiny pores in the structure. Then, the structure is filled with a molecule based on citrus fruits, poly(limonene acrylate), and a molecule derived from coconut oil, 1-dodecanol. Limonene acrylate renders the wood transparent and restores its strength, while 1-dodecanol allows the material to act as an organic phase change material, functional for latent heat storage.

The structural wood, lemon and coconut shell thermal coil can store both heat and cold, meaning it can be used in both summer and winter. Also, you can save a significant amount of energy. One hundred kilos of biocomposite used directly in the construction of buildings could save around 2.5 kWh per day in heating or cooling at an ambient temperature of 24°C.

This material can also be used in the construction of greenhouses, because when the sun shines, the wood becomes transparent and stores more energy, while at night it becomes cloudy and releases the heat accumulated during the day. This helps to reduce energy consumption for heating and, at the same time, improves plant growth.

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