Skip to main content

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

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - POWERSKIN PLUS (Highly advanced modular integration of insulation, energising and storage systems for non-residential buildings)

Reporting period: 2019-10-01 to 2021-03-31

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 this RP, significant developments were made and many important outcomes achieved. Main ones are summarised as follows:
A framework of retrofitting situations and space conditioning concepts has been established (WP2), identifying different climatic zones and artificial office rooms representing EU climatic sites and regions. A shared database of material properties and software tools to facilitate simulations in WP6 was created and a framework of simulations proposed.
All the advanced materials proposed have been developed and tested for passive façade elements and energy harvesting, storage and active insulation (WP2). Advanced polymer foam materials with a significant low density were developed, but closed porosity levels still challenge its consideration for PS+ VIPs.
Design concepts for the PS+ transparent system module (TSM) (WP3) and PS+ opaque system modules (OSM) (WP4) have been developed for their basic configuration and individual upgrades covering features, e.g. heat harvesting using capillary glass sheets and photovoltaic harvesting using ink-jet printed, semi-transparent, flexible perovskite solar modules. In parallel, a materials database with specifications and product parameters was created, containing information on the thermal, optical and mechanical properties of the individual components of the PS+ modules.
Lab work on the fabrication of transparent glass laminates (WP3) focused on optimising the temperature protocol for glass lamination, and a set of three different commercial low-temperature melting EVA polymer foils is being considered and tested. At the same time, lab work on core materials have investigated 13 different materials (WP4) and their formulations, and five of them have been found promising for PS+ OSM. Several sprayable coating formulations have been developed (WP3/4) with promising short- and long-term performance. A heat transfer system suitable for exchanging energy between building façade/ building interior and a Li-ion cell energy storage approach has been considered.
Active vacuum insulation system (AVIP) development focused on investigating and analysing the feasibility of different design solutions. Preliminary design and simulation showed important conclusions about the influence of the different variables on the system behaviour (WP4).
Production and integration (WP5) have been initiated for PS+ systems based on material and modules designs and experimental results from WP2/3/4 (including novel framing design). In parallel, the preliminary simulations have been carried out (WP2/6), and a safe and sustainable design approach based on LCA tools (e.g.VIP development) has been used in WP7, providing preliminary insights to optimise design decisions in WP2 to 5. Along with ethics considerations (WP10), it offered recommended workflows for the implementation (installation and disassembly) of PS+ systems in WP8, for which the demo pilot sites and boundary conditions have been investigated in preparation for initial baseline evaluations.
Finally, the whole consortium has been committed to clustering actions and dissemination, communication and exploitation activities, mostly online events due to the pandemic outbreak.
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.
Glass lamination
Demosites evaluation
PS+ consortium
Dissemination & exploitation
Preliminary LCA
Batteries testing
Opaque system module
BiPV lamination optimization
Transparent system module
Mock-up and demo at IPN
PS+ concept and validation
Skin and foam development
Coating's development
BiPV testing
Opaque skin development