By 2050, almost six billion air conditioners could eat 37% of global electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. That's because as India and China get richer — and the planet gets hotter — people around the globe are buying A/C units at levels approaching the United States.

This is an environmental catastrophe waiting to happen.

But one startup from the tiny town of Enschede in the Netherlands aims to change that via a technological marvel that turns heat into cold without requiring energy itself — or any of the nasty gases that most A/C units use today. The technology, which SoundEnergyunveiled at CES last week in Las Vegas, uses a process similar to a Stirling Engine, which was first conceptualized 200 years ago in the early 1800s.

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