Biomimetic designs for Phase Change Materials containment and heat discharge

by | Jul 23, 2019

Biomimetic Biomimetics are artificial materials that mimic biological structures. For example, the honeycomb structure is one that occurs in nature. However, it is a very efficient structure in the amount of surface are it encapsulates for the amount of bees-wax it requires. Honeycomb structures are frequently imitated in materials design as a way of achieving similar efficiencies. 
Climatically tunable  This is a programmable heating system that is attuned to the climate - it can operate effectively without needing to be directly programmed by the user to take into effect the time of year. The information required for it to make intelligent decisions as to what heating and cooling to deploy comes from local meterology data. In effect, the user chooses the ideal temperature of the room (say, 19 degrees Celsius) and  the system automatically maintains that exact temperature. The novel element is that the system can plan ahead and decide which components to activate based on medium to long term projections.
Compound Parabolic Concentrator (CPC)
This is an arrangement of reflective materials which increases the amount of light that is focused onto the solar cell array.
Luminescent Downshifting (LDS) layer From 'luminescent' meaning LIGHT. This is a microscopically thin, translucent layer that is applied over a PV cell. This has the effect of trapping heat and electrical energy. The energy that would normally be reflected off the surface of the PV cell is reflected back downwards onto the cell where additional energy can be gained - as much as 20% more.
Phase Change Materials Materials that, when they change 'phase' (when they melt or freeze), they absorb or release heat allowing them to be used to store heat or cold.

Our Research Areas

Integrating solar PV with 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...

Journal Article by Colleagues at UNIFE

Our colleagues at UNIFE have published an article in the Tecnica Italiana - Italian Journal of Engineering Science on the installation of the small scale prototype. The paper presents the state-of-the-art of the ongoing IDEAS research project, funded under the Horizon...

Poster presentation – 4th International Caparica Conference on Chromogenic and Emissive Materials 2020 (on-line conference)

Download PDF version of the poster herePoster  entitled “New Tetraphenylethylene-based luminescent dyes for parabolic concentrators” presented in the 4th International Caparica Conference on Chromogenic and Emissive Materials 2020, IC3EM 2020, 16-19th November 2020...