Mushroom-Based Air Conditioning

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have invented (and patented) a mushroom-powered air cooling system that can reduce the temperature in a semiclosed compartment by approximately 10 °C in 25 minutes. They call it the "MycoCooler." From their recent article in PNAS:

We constructed a mushroom-based air-cooling device, MycoCooler™, based on previous observations that mushrooms can cool the surrounding air via evaporative cooling. The device was made from a Styrofoam box with a 1-cm–diameter inlet aperture and a 2-cm–diameter outlet aperture. An exhaust fan was attached outside the outlet aperture to drive airflow in and out of the box. The MycoCooler™ was loaded with ~420 g of substrate-detached A. bisporus mushrooms, closed, and placed inside a larger Styrofoam box previously equilibrated inside a warm room (37.8 °C, <10% RH). The temperature inside the closed Styrofoam box decreased from 37.8 °C to 27.8 °C, 40 min after the addition of mushrooms, cooling at approximately 10 °C, at ~0.4 °C per min.

It's an interesting concept, but somehow I don't think a MycoCooler would be powerful enough to beat the heat here in Arizona. (Though in the days before AC, everyone here used evaporative coolers. But they also say that it's much hotter here than it used to be... a combination of global warming and the urban heat-island effect.)

More info: Johns Hopkins, Patent No. 11871707

     Posted By: Alex - Tue Jan 23, 2024
     Category: Technology | Patents

Actually, I have been looking for something to submit to an engineering trade journal for publication on April 1. All I need now is a new pseudonym.
Posted by Virtual on 01/23/24 at 10:27 AM
I can see such a device working in Arizona, but Johns Hopkins is in Baltimore which is quite humid. They must have gone to quite an effort to construct a hot dry environment.
Posted by ges on 01/23/24 at 11:27 AM
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