A new photovoltaic hybrid material has been developed which would allow the entire surface area of of buildings to capture and convert solar energy, and HEKKTA believes that very soon it will be everywhere.
Weighing less than five percent of your average solar panel, this new material is making big leaps in green energy development. It is a combination of a photovoltaic concrete cladding developed by LafargeHolcim and a flexible solar film that is just one millimetre thick, developed by Heliatek.
Due to it’s lightness, new builds could cover the entirety of the building in photovoltaic material, and this would double the energy generation that a building can achieve by traditional roof-based photovoltaics, because facades take up a greater surface area.
The new product was recently tested at the LafargeHolcim Research Center in Lyon which proved successful, and the potential of the photovoltaic material has not gone unnoticed.
Lasrt week Foster + Partners announced their new big project for the City of London; The Tulip. Within their plans for the skyscarper was the same photovoltaic material, showing the architecture giant clearly recognises it’s value in assuring a far more eco-friendly building.
“A ten-storey commercial building covered with 60 percent of its facade with the Ductal/HeliaFilm cladding system could generate approximately 30 percent of its annual energy requirement,” said LafargeHolcim, which first unveiled the prototype last year.
“Our HeliaFilm is the active element which transforms building cladding into a power station,” added Heliatek CEO Thibaud Le Séguillon. “This is the path to green, localised electricity.”
The Heliafilm product was designed to be incorporated into several construction materials, such as steel or glass and can also come in several colours or can be transparent – so the risk of architects and designers wanting to avoid the material for aesthetic purposes is not an issue.
With increasing importance of green energy in today’s problem of global warming and climate change, new developments like these are imperative so that architecture and design maintains an eco-friendly standard for the future.
The two companies are joined by a Block Research Group at the ETH Zurich university in searching for new ways to capture sustainable energy for our buildings. The group installed thin solar cells into the exterior of concrete in a prototype, attempting to find new ways to power buildings sustainably.
HEKKTA hopes that we see more companies developing photovoltaic materials such as these and more architects and designers incorporating them into their ideas. Also, the technology allows ordinary citizens to put them of the facade of their houses, hugely increasing the impact that this new development can have on cities’ energy consumption.