Shanhui Fan, a professor of electrical engineering at the Stanford School of Engineering, has been chosen to receive $399,901 to develop Photonic Radiative Day-Time Cooling Devices, better imagined as coatings for the rooftops of buildings and cars that reflect sunlight, allowing heat to escape and enabling passive cooling, even when the sun is shining. Fan's device would require no electricity and would reduce the need for air conditioning, leading to energy and cost savings.
The award was one of 66 such grants announced by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu as part of the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E) program. Professor Fan's award was in the category of "Advanced Vehicle Design and Materials."
In total, the Department of Energy disbursed $130 million in funding through ARPA-E's "OPEN 2012" program, which seeks out transformational, breakthrough technologies that show fundamental technical promise but are too early for private-sector investment.
"We are determined to attract the best and brightest minds at our country's top universities, labs and businesses to help solve the energy challenges of this generation," said Secretary Chu, in a press release. "The projects selected today represent the true mission of ARPA-E: swinging for the fences and trying to hit home runs to support development of the most innovative technologies and change what's possible for America's energy future."