Concrete facades could soon capture solar energy to strength builds, applying a prototype photovoltaic garmenting developed under materials corporation LafargeHolcim and electronics producer Heliatek.
The companies recently tested the hybrid product in a pilot project at the LafargeHolcim Research Center in Lyon, and they plan to take it to market in 2019.
According to LafargeHolcim, it has the potential to doubled the energy generation that a build can achieved by traditional roof-based photovoltaics, because facades take up a greater surface area.
“A ten-storey commercial-grade house are covered under 60 percentage of its facade with the Ductal/ HeliaFilm clothing structure could generate approximately 30 percent of its annual vigor requirement, ” said LafargeHolcim, which firstly unveiled the prototype last year.
“Our HeliaFilm is the active ingredient which transforms build cladding into a power station, ” added Heliatek CEO Thibaud Le Seguillon. “This is the path to green, localised electricity.”
Weighing less than five per cent of a traditional solar panel, HeliaFilm is made to be integrated into construction materials by building factor manufacturers. Beyond LafargeHolcim’s concrete cladding, it could be used with sword or glass.
Heliatek likewise make a related product called HeliaSol, a stand-alone stick-on solar movie that can be used on existing structures. It comes in a range of colourings, including a transparent option.
The corporations have rendered 40 sq. metres of Ductal/ Heliatek facade to date, including 25 square metres as part of the first pilot project in September. A further 200 square metres will be built as an installation in early 2019.
The companies are not the only ones trying to redesign the solar panel so it blends in with its surrounding architecture. Two years ago, Tesla started making the Solar Roof, solar panels disguised like standard roof tiles.
A second recent photovoltaic cement programme came from the Block Research Group at the university ETH Zurich, which installed thin solar cells on the exterior stratum of concrete on a sinuous prototype roof.
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