Development of solar panes to heat or cool buildings

In the field of construction, more and more solutions are being sought to save energy. European researchers have developed multifunction windows made up of solar panes with the capacity to produce heating or air conditioning.

This European research project called Fluidglass is currently being carried out in Vaduz (Liechtenstein) in a test container. The panes making up the windows can collect the energy of the sun through their outer surface, while the inner surface is used to heat or cool the container.

These panes are filled with a circulating fluid capable of adopting different levels of tinting depending on the sunlight. These brand new windows give hope of a serious energy saving, but not only as indicated by Anne-Sophie Zapf, architect from the University of Liechtenstein and member of the project: “These windows are more or less opaque, so they protect against the sun’s rays. They cool or heat the building and they can be used as solar panels, they absorb the sun’s rays and transform them to supply the interior with energy. »

On days with strong sunlight, Fluidglass windows can produce a kilowatt per hour! You should know that the fluid they contain is very special since it is a mixture of water, antifreeze and magnetic particles. A second team located in Switzerland, at the Buchs Technical Institute (NTB), is working on the need to make this fluid stable over the long term. Researchers have recently achieved this, as Daniel Gstöhl, mechanical engineer at NTB, explains: “These particles must not clump together: in other words, they must not group together. They must not deposit on the glass over time, but remain in the form of a solution and if necessary, they must be easy to filter. »

Thus, the secret is the development of a good method of filling the window with the famous fluid in order to have a good homogeneity over the entire surface.

The system developed is intelligent, driven by an algorithm that takes into account factors such as the function of the room to be heated or cooled, the degree of sunshine, the weather forecast and the time. The test phase carried out in Liechtenstein this winter will give way to another test phase in the summer in Cyprus in order to be certain that the system works and can be the subject of industrial production intended for commercialization in four years in case of success.

“The main area of ​​application for our research could be office buildings that have a large proportion of glazed surfaces on their facades. But we need to find solutions, because with the wind, it’s difficult to install large glass surfaces there. “, she concedes.  » Large office buildings remain, despite everything, our preferred target because individual houses have less glazed surfaces and to be efficient, our system requires as much glazing as possible”, explains Anne-Sophie Zapf.

Sources: Euronews – Liechtensteiner Vaterland

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