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Highly advanced modular integration of insulation, energising and storage systems for non-residential buildings

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - POWERSKIN PLUS (Highly advanced modular integration of insulation, energising and storage systems for non-residential buildings)

Reporting period: 2021-04-01 to 2022-03-31

Energy consumption in the non-residential sector is on average 280kWh/m², 40% greater than that in the residential sector. Current curtain wall facade systems have been associated with several setbacks, e.g. insufficient thermal inertia, modularity and dynamic aspects, and excessive transparent to opaque ratio. POWERSKINS PLUS (PS+) aims to provide efficient and sustainable answers and rally key enabling technologies addressing the buildings societal challenges and carbon neutrality goals, with modular curtain walls for non-residential buildings, but that can be used in other building solutions.
PS+ will develop and scale up eco-innovative, cost-effective, and advanced materials and technologies to renovate existing facade systems. It develops both superinsulation transparent and opaque façade modules by smartly integrating highly innovative insulations and renewable energy technologies, with breakthrough features based on nano-formulated VIP, PCM, multi-functional nano-enabled coatings, flexible perovskite solar cells and electric storage system based upon the used Li-ion batteries from electrical vehicles. A comprehensive PS+ portfolio comprising off-site prefabricated easy-to-install modules, sustainable eco-designed connecting framings and a dedicated large-capacity energy storage system will be prototyped for full-size demonstration of three important segments, expecting to boost the modern energy-efficient construction market in Europe within the next few years.
The overall objective of the PS+ project is to deliver the highest possible contributions to energy efficiency and CO2 emission targets by creating and demonstrating an affordable renovation solution aimed at optimising the performance of existing non-residential buildings into near-zero or plus energy buildings. 5 primary objectives, with specific, measurable milestones and metrics, timelines and critical partners' contributions, are to develop lightweight and integrated building façade systems without requiring additional structural modification; improve the insulation of façade elements at the component level; introduce integrated on-site energy generation modules; improve on-site energy storage capacities in active/passive modes >10%; and provide affordable high performance smart and swift building façade retrofit solutions with cost increase <10%.
During the first 30 months of the project, many significant developments and outcomes were achieved. A database of material properties and software tools was generated for simulation/modelling purposes covering all PS+ associated materials and assisting design definition and development. The 1st standard transparent modules (TM) prototypes were designed, manufactured and tested (WP3/WP5). With a U-value ≤ 0.8 W/m2K and 30 Kg/m2, the triple-glazed standard IGUs fulfilled the project's requirements and are set for upscaling and add-on integration. Likewise, the 1st opaque module (OM) prototypes were produced and tested according to GA goals (WP4/WP5). Different configurations were designed, from lightweight standard OM made with conventional VIPs and novel fibre-composite skin panels securing a U-value of 0.098 W/m2K, up to optional assemblies comprising diverse skin solutions (opacified glass, metal, composite, etc.), alternative VIPs core materials (including more sustainable ones), optional rEPS inner frames and long-term performance maintenance systems (AVIP). OM diversity aimed at maximum flexibility to broad technical and sustainability requests, aesthetics aspirations and/or market budgets. TM and OM premium upgrade designs were also developed to include add-ons integration. Multifunctional coatings (e.g. low-e, anti-reflective, self-cleaning, antifungal and fire-resistant) were successful designed and trialled for OM and TM, allowing, for example, a 15 % increase in PV solar cells performance. Also, the TM microfluidic system and associated heat storage device were designed and prototyped, and fluid candidates selected. This thermal storage add-on is currently under evaluation in an outdoor mock-up installation. Complementary, a salt hydrate PCM was chosen for the OM thermal storage add-on system (designed according to winter mode and PV overheating protection scenarios). Power conversion efficiencies of 9.5 and 11.5 % were respectively found for the TM and OM inkjet-printed perovskite PV cells (prototypes ready for integration). Finally, the PS+ modular Li-ion cell-based BMS system was further developed with early prototypes exhibiting battery unit scalability (5-24 kWh), operation versatility (with new batteries or post EV modules) and bi-directional grid connection. PS+ systems production is in force (WP5), including a novel framing design based on pultruded glass-reinforced plastics. Modelling and first small-scale testing of operative prototypes have been initiated (WP6), providing feedback for system refining, installation know-how and for the final lab and outdoor testing validation activities. Safe and sustainable design based on LCA tools has been implemented in WP7, providing insights for the PS+ systems design decision-making process. WP8 field activities were initiated on the 3 pilot installations, and baseline data is being monitored. Finally, the whole consortium has been committed to dissemination, communication and exploitation activities, primarily online events due to the COVID crisis.
With a fully holistic approach, PS+ will prototype and demonstrate superior answers for insulation, energy harvesting and storage in single, hybrid and multipurpose façade modules. The project builds on previous research and innovation actions to go from a TRL5 to 7 with the technical goals: namely the design and production of PS+ TSM and OSM integrated systems, covering biocomposites framing solutions, novel formulations of VIP cores, innovative design of flexible Perovskite solar cells, nano-enabled multi-functional coatings, active thermal storage solutions and surplus renewable energy storage systems based on reusing Li-ion batteries from electrical vehicles, thus delivering a full spectrum of add-ons of advanced technologies.
PS+ plays a near future decisive role to help the EU building stock facing the demanding challenges imposed by the climate action, to achieve current carbon neutrality obligations and create a safer, sustainable built environment by 2050. PS+ capitalises on renewable energy and storage opportunities, drastically reducing the building energy demand, becoming independent of unstable energy markets, and improving indoor comfort, quality living and financial return. PS+ implements EU policy Directives on energy efficiency, cutting wastes and construction circularity. PS+ can also boost the economy and job creation with its highly innovative and digitalised energy efficiency approach, which presents a huge opportunity for economic growth, high-quality local jobs, improving social inclusion through urban regeneration and skills development. The PS+ environmental impact on buildings could be over 50% reduced of above 38% CO2 emissions by using PS+ holistic solution, exploiting at the maximum all RES and storage systems, and thus prevent the combustion of fossil or other fuels with the integration of nano-driven materials for renewable energy.
PS+ concept and validation
Protective foam frame for VIP
Preliminary LCA
Transparent module production
Demosites' monitorization
Framing and skin developments
Coatings' development
Battery system development
Consortium and online meeting
Dissemination and exploitation
PS+ Transparent Module
Transparent module and PV perfomance evaluation
Opaque module production
Semi transparent and opaque BiPVs
PS+ Opaque Module