Biomimetic designs for Phase Change Materials containment and heat discharge

by | Jul 23, 2019

IDEAS is researching Organic and Molten Salts as Phase Change Materials (PCM) to keep buildings warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Typically, Photovoltaic (PV) panels convert 15-20% of the suns energy they receive into electricity. The remainder is lost as heat. This heat can also damage PV panels.

IDEAS builds on research that we have already carried out that shows that PCM has great potential to improve PV efficiency by acting as a heat sink. It also has the added benefit of being able to supply heat to buildings.

Storing heat using PCM enables us to conserve and discharge that heat most effectively – when it is needed by the building users.

Biomimetics: using the designs of nature

IDEAS’ designs for maximising the collection and beneficial discharge of solar energy makes use of what is called ‘Biomimetic’ principles – honeycomb, veins, bone architectures. These reconstructions of natural structures provide high-performance thermal regulation.

The solar heat which we will capture using the luminescent layers we are developing can also be used with a specially developed Heat Pump which achieves the highest possible share of renewable energy for the building.

What Are Phase Change Materials?

Phase Change Materials are substances which absorb or release large amounts of so-called “latent” heat when they go through a change in their physical state, i.e., from solid to liquid and vice versa.

There are PCMs that are used across a broad range of temperatures, from -30°C to more than 100°C. They typically store 10 times more heat by volume than other materials such as brick, masonry or stone, because of this they offer high-density energy storage within the temperature range many buildings experience. They can thus shift a building’s cooling and heating needs to cheaper, off-peak hours.

Our Research Areas

Integrating solar PV with the heat energy trapping coating into building facades

The IDEAS project is creating an innovative building-integrated renewable energy system. As a result of IDEAS, it will cost less to generate electricity, heat, and cooling in multi-family buildings (such as apartments and blocks of flats). It will also be of huge...

Biomimetic designs for Phase Change Materials containment and heat discharge

IDEAS is researching Organic and Molten Salts as Phase Change Materials (PCM) to keep buildings warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Typically, Photovoltaic (PV) panels convert 15-20% of the suns energy they receive into electricity. The remainder is lost as...

Optimising Heat Pump technology with the PV/PCM

IDEAS is researching the optimal balance for the new integrated solar panel which will enable each PV panel to produce its own AC power (usually PV panels produce DC power which is converted into AC power which we use in our homes through a central inverter). There...

IDEAS: Integration and Demand-side Management

IDEAS is researching the optimal balance for the new integrated solar panel which will enable each PV panel to produce its own AC power (usually PV panels produce DC power which is converted into AC power which we use in our homes through a central inverter). There...