The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has collaborated with industry partners to develop new solar thermal façade panels as part of its TABSOLAR III research project.
The TABSOLAR® panels, made of ultra-high performance concrete, can be used to create an aesthetic architectural façade and are available in a glazed or unglazed finish. Each panel is interspersed with channels containing a solar fluid that absorbs heat from the sun and ambient air, which is then transferred via a heat exchanger into the heat pump circuit.
The panel designs use the bionic FracTherm® process to create an evenly distributed network of channels across almost any shaped panel. The panels have been developed for suspended rear-ventilated façades (VHF), with the potential to adapt the concept for composite exterior insulation and finish systems or sandwich wall systems in the future.
The TABSOLAR® panels have the potential to provide a noiseless and attractive alternative to external air units for air-to-water heat pumps. The unglazed variant is intended as a heat source for heat pumps used for domestic hot water heating or swimming pools, while the glazed panels with spectrally selective coatings can generate higher temperatures and are therefore designed for domestic hot water heating and back-up heating. The TABSOLAR III project has involved the relevant building trades at every stage in the development and testing of the new façade panels. New software tools have also been developed for the planning phase, including an augmented reality app for visualizing the TABSOLAR® façades in-situ and an online configuration tool to aid the design process.
The TABSOLAR III research project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) and builds on its predecessor projects TABSOLAR and TABSOLAR II.