Major EU funding for energy-harvesting project

3 August 2017

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Consortium involving Cardiff University academics will develop energy-harvesting façade to retrofit existing buildings as part of €6m Horizon 2020 project

An international consortium of researchers from across Europe, including academics at Cardiff University, have received €6m in funding from the European Commission to develop a next-generation, energy-harvesting façade to retrofit existing buildings.

The aim of the four-year ‘PLUG-N-HARVEST’ project will be to create an energy efficient building façade with the ability to harvest solar energy and convert it into either electricity or heat, for use in the building itself or nearby buildings.

By harvesting renewable energy, it is hoped the technology will help to significantly reduce our reliance on traditional energy resources, such as coal and gas, and also help to lower energy bills.

Researchers from Cardiff University’s Welsh School of Architecture have been awarded €399,085 as part of the project, and will work on a range of research tasks including system performance optimisation and evaluation, and modelling different façade configuration scenarios to figure out how it can be used most efficiently in different climates across Europe.

Once the façade has been developed, it will be tested in four different multi-building pilots in Germany, Spain, Greece and the UK.

The Horizon 2020 project will bring together 13 partners in Greece, Germany, Spain, Romania and UK, including universities, industry partners and local authorities – including Cardiff City Council.

Dr. Hu Du, Principal Investigator from Cardiff University and Sêr Cymru Research Fellow, said: “Cardiff University will play a significant role in enhancing the PLUG-N-HARVEST module development and its application.

“The project will tackle the challenge of integrating energy-harvesting technologies into existing buildings, and will provide an excellent platform to enhance our relationships with world-leading industrial partners.”

Cardiff University’s Welsh School of Architecture has a long track record of providing world-leading research aimed at developing low carbon generation, storage, distribution and end-use technologies and practices, and to provide policy analysis and advice.