Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Helping the sun to help the environment

The use of alternative and renewable forms of energy not reliant on petrol-based products is becoming a key focus for many governments and individuals. The sun-bathed Mediterranean region is particularly suited to utilising solar energy and demand is steadily growing.
Helping the sun to help the environment
The most critical consideration in solar energy is maximum energy absorption with minimal energy loss (in the form of heat). Conventional absorbing surfaces are typically expensive and based on the use of heavy metals, which are increasing coming under restriction given the hazards posed to humans and the environment.

More modern options include painting of relevant materials onto the surface of solar panels, a method more cost effective in production but with significant drawbacks related to high energy loss in the form of heat (high emissivity-low energy efficiency) in combination with relatively low durability.

The ‘New low-emissivity and long lasting paints for cost-effective solar collectors’ (Termisol) project developed selective paints with high photo-thermal performance to coat solar collectors.

In comparison to conventional black solar paints, the new paints were more durable. The coatings demonstrated high solar absorption in combination with low emissivity, thus increasing efficiency. In addition, they were more easily applied, heavy metal-free and with less energy and money required for manufacturing.

Thus, the Termisol project resulted in development of novel paints for solar collectors demonstrating enhanced performance, lower cost and lower environmental impact. Application of the technology in regions with many hours of sunlight per year such as the Mediterranean should help these countries make good use of their temperate climates and protect the environment at the same time.

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