At MEER, our mission is to provide practical and scalable heat adaptation and mitigation solutions. Our materials feature a passive cooling system that promotes the health and well-being of people, farms, and animals while reducing global temperatures.
Due to increasing greenhouse gases, climate change has resulted in rising temperatures, extreme weather events, and the recent global pandemic. Once considered science fiction, geoengineering methods are developing rapidly towards a collective solution to prevent civilization collapse. Simply stopping harmful human practices will not be sufficient to prevent this. Climate mitigation is necessary to restore the planet's long-term health, with an immediate priority of reversing the temperature rise.
In light of the potential dangers posed by natural climate systems, it is becoming increasingly clear that geoengineering may be necessary to ensure our planet's continued habitability. In this regard, the MEER project represents a cost-effective and innovative solution that utilizes mirror reflectors to regulate surface temperatures. By doing so, we can minimize the risk of catastrophic events and preserve the delicate balance of our environment for generations to come.
Why MEER works
MEER combines adaptation and mitigation efforts with Surface Reflection Technology (SRT). It uses mirrors to reflect sunlight away from the Earth's surface. This initiative is unique because it can cool local and global regions, promising to mitigate climate change's effects. This innovative approach could have far-reaching implications.
Our team collaboratively designs, tests, and implements passive solar reflectors that provide strong local cooling for land and freshwater bodies to protect agriculture, ecosystem biodiversity, and human habitats from the increasingly damaging effects of heatwaves and drought. MEER's device design and engineering prioritize durability and operate within the energy, material, and time constraints imposed on humanity for a global solution to global warming.
Enhancing surface Albedo
Albedo is a scientific term that describes the fraction of solar radiation reflected by a surface. Essentially, it refers to the percentage of sunlight energy bounced upwards back into the atmosphere by a given surface. Areas with high albedo values reflect significant solar radiation. In contrast, those with low albedo values tend to absorb most of it. This is why fresh snow, for example, has a high albedo value, reflecting most of the sun's rays. In contrast, asphalt has a low albedo value and absorbs most of the sunlight. The reflective power of ice and snow in our polar regions is decreasing, meaning less solar energy is being reflected into space. As a result, the Earth is absorbing more heat and warming up faster. Understanding albedo is essential in fields such as climate science, as it directly controls the amount of heat absorbed by the Earth's surface that drives downstream climate patterns.
In southern Spain, for example, Almería has become home to the world's largest group of greenhouses, spanning 26,000 hectares since the 1980s. The greenhouses reflect so much sunlight that they lower the area's air temperature. This contrasts with the rest of Spain, including areas surrounding Almeria, which have seen temperatures rise above the global average. Meteorological observatories in Almería have shown a decrease of 0.3 degrees per decade.
How MEER works
MEER works by placing mirror reflectors on surfaces facing the sky to reflect sunlight back into space, offsetting the increased infrared radiation heating due to excess greenhouse gases. This technology is safe, durable, and cost-effective, making it a great option for structures without electricity or for reducing energy dependence in air-conditioned buildings. By deploying solar reflectors in cities affected by heat, we can maximize the cooling benefits for most people at the lowest cost while reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with active cooling. Additionally, if deployed at regional levels, mirrors theoretically have the potential to cool the surrounding area and not just the houses themselves.
MEER has also been established to promote ecological sustainability on our planet. Our mission is to collaboratively design, test, and implement durable surface-based passive solar reflectors that provide local cooling for land and freshwater bodies. This helps safeguard agriculture, ecosystem biodiversity, and human habitats from the increasingly damaging onslaught of heatwaves and drought. MEER's solution operates within the energy, material, and time constraints imposed on humanity to combat global warming.
To fight climate change effectively, we need to consider past and future emissions. The latest report from the IPCC shows that the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere today has a heating power of 3.4 W per m2. The UN has created different future emission scenarios called RCPs, with RCP4.5 being the mid-range option. The result of RCP4.5 would be a total radiative forcing of 4.5 W per m2 by 2100, which would add 1.1 W per m2 to the current level. Other scenarios, like RCP2.6 and RCP8.0, have their own heating power levels. However, RCP2.6 is not possible because there are already too many greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and RCP8.0 is unlikely because of limited resources like energy and metals. Without climate action, we would end up with RCP6.0, but if we work to decarbonize, RCP4.5 is achievable.
If emissions follow the RCP4.5 path in the future, it's predicted that MEER setups will need to reduce their global warming power density by 1.1 W per m2. Moreover, we'll have to address anthropogenic aerosols, which could cause an additional 1.2 W per m2 of heating if we achieve complete carbon neutrality by 2100. Therefore, the total cooling objective is -2.3 W per m2.
According to our calculations, in order to prevent the global temperature from rising by more than 1.3°C compared to preindustrial levels, it would be necessary to cover 24% of the world's agricultural land or 2.4% of the Earth's (land) surface with shade using the MEER surface reflection technology. To limit the temperature increase to below 2°C, 15% of the world's agricultural land or 1.5% of the Earth's (land) surface would need to be shaded using MEER.
Passive urban cooling
The implementation of passive cooling technologies and design features is an effective means of reducing the temperature of buildings without relying on power consumption. Our research has evaluated the practicality and effectiveness of incorporating passive cooling strategies to enhance thermal performance and minimize energy consumption in regions characterized by hot and humid climatic conditions.
Diverting waste streams
At MEER, we are dedicated to reducing our use of new materials by making use of waste materials that have been diverted. We aim to improve the surrounding area's reflective properties without using too much energy. The project is designed to be practical, feasible, and scalable. In the following section, we will explain why these goals are important and how we plan to achieve them.
The initiative focuses on recycling bottles and aluminum cans, utilizing long-lasting and scalable PET-based infrastructures.
Making our reflectors without chemical degradation of the polymer is possible. We avoid energy and material-intensive steps like enzymatic and catalytic depolymerization, distillative or chromatographic purification, and repolymerization. Directly chopping and extruding the ~120 Mton/year in PET bottles going to landfills and oceans should enable MEER's access to PET films for many years.
By adopting this approach, MEER strives to positively impact the environment by reducing waste in landfills or polluting our oceans. This endeavour is crucial to creating a cleaner, safer world for future generations.
MEER collaborates with highly skilled consultants with specialized knowledge of mirror reflectors' physical properties. Their main responsibility is to meticulously identify and recommend the best manufacturing methods for reflectors. This includes conducting in-depth research to select the most optimal materials based on cost analyses and determining which materials will be the most resistant and durable for long-term use. In addition, our esteemed Material Science Team is constantly developing a range of mirror array variations specifically customized to suit various ecosystems. Their innovative designs are tailored to meet the unique needs of each environment, ensuring maximum efficiency and effectiveness.
"Global warming isn't a prediction. It is happening."