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Development of a novel and cost-effective range of nanotech improved coatings to substantially improve NIR (Near Infrared Reflective) properties of the building envelope

Final Report Summary - COOL-COVERINGS (Development of a novel and cost-effective range of nanotech-improved coatings to substantially improve NIR properties of the building envelope)

Executive summary:

Cool coverings:
Development of near-infrared (NIR) coatings and tiles to reduce heating of dark-coloured surfaces on roofs and façades. The sun-reflective building materials help to achieve a reduction of cooling loads and improve thermal comfort. They are often seen in roofing but there are also tentative applications for façades. Cool materials are in competition with insulation materials and cannot be applied in cold countries, a part from roof where photovoltaic can have a benefit in efficiency improvement due to reduced environmental temperature. In hot countries, instead, the cool coverings are absolutely cost effective against insulation retrofitting since they reduce heat gain with minor investment costs. Cool materials on the market are always white since a large part of heat is contained in the visible spectrum. Architects, however, are eager to find solutions for dark coloured reflective materials also.

The core idea of the COOL-COVERINGS project (an FP7 project funded under the PPP-NMP-EEB umbrella and completed in June 2013) is to use nanotechnology and pigment technology to improve reflectance in the 'non-visible' spectrum of the light. In particular, the NIR region can be targeted since it contains 30 - 45 % of the heat. New paints, tiles and waterproofing roof membranes can be modified by nanotechnology to achieve high NIR reflectance, with very small aesthetic differences with respect to standard materials.
After 2 years of research the COOL-COVERINGS project developed:
(a) a new range of coloured paints for façade;
(b) a new range of black tiles for façade;
(c) a new coloured bitumen based waterproofing membrane for flat roof.

These materials can be now scaled up to market and the recent efforts of the industrial companies belonging to our consortium are all in this direction.

The materials have been validated following a strict scientific approach, firstly in the laboratories, than in simulations and finally in a middle scale comparative demonstration park. The following performances have been certified:

- Case 1: re-roofing a flat warehouse in Madrid with the same grey membrane, but this time NIR reflective. Overall savings on the energy bill in one year (considering conventional gas heating and electric HVAC) = 4.6 %

- Case 2: re-painting a multi-storey house in Madrid with the same 'dark green' tint, but this time NIR reflective. Overall savings on the energy bill, in one year (considering conventional gas heating and electric HVAC) = 7.5 %

- Case 3: re-tiling a multi-storey house in Madrid with the same black tint, but this time NIR reflective. Overall savings on the energy bill, in one year (considering conventional gas heating and electric HVAC) = 4 %

Project context and objectives:

Work package (WP)1 (Conceptual design) consists of 4 tasks all due ending before month 6.

The objectives of WP1 were:

(a) to provide structured basis to the research and development activities by identifying and validating the target areas in insulating technologies where the functional approach could provide the largest benefits;
(b) to review the state of the art technologies and procedures applied for insulation in the civil and cultural heritage sector, as well as the relevant standards for COOL-COVERINGS technologies, in order to define the requirements for the final system;
(c) to perform a comprehensive market analysis and analyse market trends;
(d) to gather an inventory of all relevant rules, standards and policies at national and international level;
(e) to identify aspects of legislation made obsolete by this project and act to introduce new standards;
(f) to define a conceptual design of the intended coverings system in compliance with the standards identified at national and European level.

WP2 (Research and development (R&D) of nanotech NIR materials) focused on the selection and first production of nanocrystalline NIR reflective materials to be used in the manufacturing of glazes and pigments for ceramics, liquid nanodispersion for concrete coatings and paints.
In parallel with this research, also a study to define proper post-processing treatments to disaggregate nanostructured particles and a study of the stability of the aggregate particles was carried out by CSGI and MBN.

WP3 (Process and manufacturing development for tiles) main objective was to substitute conventional glazes and pigments for 'cool' analogues and prepare cool coatings using standard ceramic procedures for glazing and firing. The initial analysis is pursued in Task 3.1 (Assessment of the solar radiation reflectance of conventional ceramic tiles) whose objective is to measure the radiative properties of careful chosen group of tiles, such as solar reflectance / absorptance and ambient temperature emittance.
The activities of the following tasks were focused on obtaining non-white ceramic tiles which exhibit cooler surfaces than conventional tiles of the same colour and texture when exposed to solar radiation.

WP4 (Process and manufacturing development for wall paints and membranes) aim was the development of a range of water based hydrophobic primers for wall paints and membrane coatings and the development of a range of NIR reflective top coat layers. The WP is clearly parallel to WP3.

WP5 objectives were to define the measurement protocols for WPs 2 - 4 to support iteratively the scientists working in those WPs. Moreover, the measurement expertise was instrumental in WP7 in order to set up the Demo Park.

WP6 aim was to develop lifecycle assessment (LCA) analysis, business model and application guidelines in order to provide guidance in making the first exploitation steps and in pushing forward the main dissemination arguments, like eco-foot print of the products.

WP7 (Demo) aim was to fully implement, measure, validate the set of cool coverings in a demo application.

WP8 (intellectual and property right (IPR) management and dissemination activities) focus was to make the dissemination tools, implement the PUDF and find a draft exploitation agreement.

In WP9 (Project management) the main objective was to ensure efficient management and communication within the consortium at both the administrative and technical level. This had to be achieved also with the use of the website, which was set up on the first months of the project.

Project results:

- Active Space: they want to exploit the thermal models; in particular the calibration process can be interesting for clients. They can release ESP-r models for free to partners, but not Star CCM+ (Demo Park Models).
- BORNER is not interested in a patent. They have set up an agreement with Nanophos for the production and the commercialisation of the membrane. They are not interested in paint commercialisation but cannot exclude this for now.
- CSGI: they want co-ownership in result 1 and be co-author (or mentioned) in the toxicological report. They think that 2-3-4 should be merged.
- DAPP will deliver full and free access to the LCA and application guidelines, but behind each release they want a formal written authorisation from the concerned partners to avoid loss of non-disclosable information. They ask access to ESP-r thermal models for internal business modelling use. They want to be included as co-authors in all papers deriving from WP5 and WP7.
- FIOH is interested in delivering a scientific paper and being involved and mentioned in application guidelines and academic works.
- IRIS: they are not interested in patents, they prefer to keep secret the technicalities of their device, which will be commercialised to production lines and building audits.
- ITC interested in being authors of scientific papers and academic works and exploit what they have developed in agreement with Keraben.
- KERABEN they want to be free to produce and commercialise the cool tile. They do not exclude a trademark or a patent but for now they want to keep it secret (an NDA with some partners could be asked). Some investment to complete the industrial scale up of single firing is planned for 2014.
- MBN: they have interesting potential side researches that can be developed from what they have learnt during the project, they want to keep secret the ball milling process. They want to improve the title of result n.1
- MOSTOSTAL: they wish full and free access to the validation protocol for use in another demo park. They are interested in participating to trademark application and use. They want free access to application guidelines.
- NANOPHOS they suggest to integrate postprocessing to result 1. They agree with Borner on the need to sign a NDA and a commercial agreement for the membranes. They want to keep secret the final paint-making method. They are already commercial with the paints.
- NTUA: interested in being authors of scientific papers and academic works and exploit what they have developed in agreement with Nanophos.
- UNIVPM is interested in delivering scientific papers and academic works. Commercial exploitation of the scientific papers is not excluded; in this case co-ownership will have to be agreed. Standardisation of tile ageing tests is ongoing.
- TNO: not interested in patenting. They claim to be co-authors of paper deriving from WP5 and WP7 activities.

Potential impact:

The three products are rather close to industrial scale up: roof membranes and cool paints are about to appear in the commercial catalogues, while roof tiles need to fine tune the industrialisation process, although the current production line need only a light setting up. All products are, at the moment, covered by trade secret apart from the membrane which was filed for PCT patent, in the white version.

A further result of COOL-COVERINGS is, finally, a close-to-market prototype of spectral imaging portable device, which can be used to determine behaviour of cool coverings in a portable way (unique in the world). At the end of the project it was clear that:

(1) The technical barriers would have never been overcome without cross collaboration of such diverse expertise and sensitiveness.
(2) The implementation of the demo park allowed cross collaboration with 4 other projects in the area of NMP-PPP-EEB generated cost savings per project averaging EUR 50 000 - 70 000. This allowed each consortium to focus even more on further testing.

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