Direct Current Episode 5: The Future of Cool

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Episode 5: The Future of Cool (Direct Current - An Energy.gov Podcast)

A cool future

We take the humble air conditioner for granted, but imagine what life would be like without it. This important invention has made it possible to live in hot climates -- cooling everything from homes and businesses to data centers and other places that are vital to our economy and daily lives. But cooling buildings requires a lot of energy, and the chemicals used in today’s systems can be harmful to the planet. The good news is there are new and cool technologies being developed that will transform how we fight climate change, save on energy costs and stay comfortable. 

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Blast (of cold) from the past 

Before we go too far into the future of cool, let's travel back in time to see how it all began, starting with Dr. John Gorrie’s idea to relieve Florida residents of "the evils of high temperatures" and Willis Carrier’s invention of the first modern air conditioning system. Check out this timeline to learn more. 

Cool Magnets, Man

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Did you know we can create cold simply by changing the magnetic field of something? "Magnetocaloric,” or magnet-powered, cooling technologies already exist. Learn about one Oak Ridge National Laboratory project that is advancing this technology, how it can benefit the planet and slash energy use.   

Green Tech Saves You Green 

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One small business is looking to make a big impact when it comes to cooling technology. Read about Xergy’s electrochemical compressor that could someday help you save energy and money. Find out how our Buildings Technologies Office is developing even more energy-saving solutions for homes and businesses throughout America. 

Roving Robot Keeps You Cool and Comfy 

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How cool would it be to have a pint-sized robot that follows you around and delivers the exact amount of cold or hot air you need to stay comfortable? That's exactly what researchers at University of Maryland are making. It's called Roving Comforter -- or RoCo for short --  and it's part of an Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy program  known as Delivering Efficient Local Thermal Amenities. Learn more

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INFOGRAPHIC: Home Cooling

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