Scientists are developing a roofing coating made from waste cooking oil that reduces energy costs both in the winter and summer. The coating reduces roof temperatures between 50-80 percent in warm weather and increases up to 80 percent in chilly.
Unlike white or black roofing, the coating automatically adjusts to reflect or transmit solar heat based on a preset temperature point that can be tuned to local climates. This is achieved by processing the oil into a liquid polymer that hardens into a plastic after application and is virtually odorless. It can be applied to virtually any roof type and is expected to last many years.
While more testing is needed before commercial use, Ben Wen, research project leader and vice-president of United Environment & Energy LLC, is satisfied with the product’s progress. “This is one of the most innovative and practical roofing coating materials developed to date. This bio-based intelligent roof coating … will help save fuel and electricity and reduce emissions of volatile organic compounds from petroleum-based roofing products. In addition, it will provide a new use for millions of gallons of waste oil after it is used to cook french fries and chicken nuggets.”