How concrete facades can be used as energy-generating
In cooperation with the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (Helmholtz Center Berlin for Materials and Energy) and six industrial partners, the research platform BAU KUNST ERFINDEN is developing façade elements that are capable of accommodating solar modules of different types and generations, including future generations that are not yet known.
The sun is already an important source of energy and photovoltaics will become one of the most important power supply technologies in the future. Buildings play an important role in this. They increasingly interact with the energy system and have the potential to become decentralized energy centers. The dominant material in building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) today is the silicon solar cell. Well-known here are panels, which have become largely established as rooftop solar power systems. Such systems require space, which is limited in urban areas. Further, silicon-based photovoltaics must face south to effectively use sunlight. Since building and panel geometry are often not coordinated, silicon-based building-integrated photovoltaics are widely perceived as a structural add-on with no aesthetic value.
BIPV offers great potential to provide significant amounts of renewable energy close to consumption even in urban areas. At the same time, it has barely been able to gain a foothold to date. Since 2020, new EU regulations have required a higher use of PV on buildings. This development has been translated into Directive 2010/31/EU, which targets near-zero energy buildings (NZEBs) by 2020 in terms of building efficiency. This will not be possible with conventional PV systems on roofs alone, due to the unfavorable relationship between building energy demand and the available roof area. In contrast, facades offer enormous areas for potential energy generation. They are suitable for decentralized PV power generation in residential and urban areas.
Therefore, fundamental development work is needed on how to combine PV technology with its rapid development cycles with sustainable building materials of long service life to unlock the great potential of BIPV. The development of PV cells has a rapid pace, and concrete is one of the most widely used building materials worldwide, especially in urban areas. Thus, the building envelope is being tapped as an important energy-generating surface.
Based on the foundations of "DysCrete / DssCrete", the basic idea has meanwhile been decisively developed on its way from basic research to applied research to architectural implementation. In response to the rapid proliferation of new solar cell systems (such as DSSC, ssDSC, OPV, CIGS, perovskite, tandem, and modifed silicon), as well as the relatively long development cycles in construction and related industries, Bau Kunst Erfnden is currently collaborating on a new system called SolarChip with the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie and a consortium of partners from industry (Schwab-Stein GmbH, RECKLI GmbH, fscherwerke GmbH & Co. KG, AEconversion GmbH & Co. KG, GES Gebäude- Energiesysteme GmbH).
SolarChip attempts to constructively synchronize these two trends by building innovative concrete-based facade components that can accommodate solar elements of any type or generation, including future generations that have yet to be developed.
research & project funding
- Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie
- Reckli GmbH
- Schwab-Stein GmbH
- fischerwerke GmbH & Co. KG
- AEconversion GmbH & Co. KG