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Research Projects

Ceramics in a FLASH: The new route for environmentally efficient ceramic processing

Research head: Luis A. Pérez Maqueda
Period: 01-01-2021 / 31-12-2022
Financial source: Junta de Andalucia
Code: P18-FR-1087
Research group: M. Jesús Diánez Millán, Pedro Enrique Sánchez Jiménez

Abstract [+]

The CeramFLASH project proposes the novel ceramic processing techniques Flash Sintering (FS) and Reaction Flash Sintering (RFS) for the synthesis and preparation of ceramics with technological interest such as solid electrolytes, piezoelectric or hard ceramics. These techniques allow the preparation of ceramic materials in mere seconds at significantly lower temperatures than required by conventional sintering techniques simply by circulating a small electric current under moderate electric fields. This advantage makes it possible to reduce the considerable energy consumption required current ceramic processing techniques. Additionally, it facilitates the preparation of ceramics difficult to obatin in dense and nanostructured form by conventional methods, such as compounds of low thermal stability or compounds that require very high sintering temperatures.
Finally, CeramFLASH aims to use alternating fields with oscillation frequency as well as intelligent control methods based on the sample response to improve the control of microstructural characteristics of resulting ceramics. Although the FS technique was first discovered only 8 years ago, and the RFS was first proposed in 2018 by our group, there is rising interest in this process due to its great scientific and technological potential.

Plasma technology for efficient and DURAble waterproof perovskite SOLar cells

Research head: Juan Ramón Sánchez Valencia y Maria del Carmen López Santos
Period: 01-06-2020 / 31-05-2023
Financial source: Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades
Code: PID2019-109603RA-I00
Research group: Juan Pedro Espinós Manzorro, Xabier García Casas, Víctor López Flores, Javier Castillo Seoane

Abstract [+]

Solar cells – devices that transform sunlight into electricity – are of vital interest for the sustainable future of the planet. During the last years and aware of this fact, the scientific community has made a great effort to improve the efficiency of these devices. A particular example of a solar cell that contains an organometallic halide perovskite as light absorber has focused the attention of the scientific community during the last decade due, above all, to its high efficiency and low cost. This solar cell technology is a promising alternative to currently existing ones (based on Si and chalcogenides), although they face a scientific and technological challenge that has not been solved in 10 years since its discovery: for the commercial realization of the perovskite cells possible, they need to achieve higher stability, durability and reproducibility. The main problem lies in the high sensitivity of these perovskites to oxygen and environmental humidity, which produce a rapid degradation of the cell’s behaviour in an extremely short time, making commercialization unfeasible.

DuraSol seeks to address this great scientific and technological challenge by manufacturing cell components using vacuum and plasma technology. These methodologies are industrially scalable and present great advantages over solution methods (the most used), among which are: their high versatility, control of composition and microstructure, low cost, environmentally friendly since they do not require solvents, do not produce pollutant emissions and are compatible with current semiconductor technology.
The main objective of DuraSol is the fabrication of waterproof perovskite solar cells by integrating components manufactured by vacuum and plasma methodologies in the form of thin films and nanostructures, which act as hydrophobic sealants. The viability of DuraSol is based on recent results that demonstrate that plasma-assisted synthesis of different components of the solar cell can be one of the most promising ways to increase its stability and durability, which is today the bottleneck that prevents their commercialization. It is worth to highlight that there is no example in the literature about this synthetic approach, and this opportunity is expected to demonstrate the advantages and versatility of this innovative methodology in a field of very high impact. The research proposed in DuraSol falls within the priority areas of the European Union Horizon 2021-2027 program and responds to several of the challenges proposed in this call for “Energía segura, eficiente y limpia” (Challenge 3) and “Cambio climático y utilización de recursos y materias primas” (Challenge 5).

Design and selection of novel materials for high performance Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Research head: Francisco José García García (US)
Period: 01-02-2020 / 31-01-2022
Financial source: Junta de Andalucía
Code: US-15382
Research group: Francisco J. Gotor Martínez

Abstract [+]

Solid oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) are one of the most promising and environmentally friendly technologies for the efficient generation of electricity from natural gas and other fossil fuels (hydrocarbons). SOFCs prevent direct fuel combustion, resulting in much higher conversion efficiencies than those obtained by thermomechanical methods. However, various technical difficulties such as the poisoning of the anodes by hydrocarbons, the chemical stability and mechanical integrity of the electrolytes and the high operating temperature, which reduces the selection of materials and makes the technology more expensive, have prevented their large-scale exploitation. A vital component in SOFCs is the anode, where the electrocatalytic reactions that convert the chemical energy of the fuel into electrical current take place. The main problems faced by anodes are related to (i) their durability, (ii) gas diffusion and electrical transport and (iii) resistance to chemical poisoning by carbon and sulfur present in hydrocarbons. Another critical component is the electrolyte, which allows the diffusion of oxide ions from the cathode to the anode. The main characteristics that the electrolyte must present are (i) high ionic conductivity, but negligible electronic conductivity, (ii) good mechanical properties and (iii) stability in reducing and oxidizing atmospheres. Therefore, the wide application and use of this clean technology requires the use of materials for anodes and electrolytes with physicochemical and mechanical properties that allow overcoming the current limitations. The present project aims to address some of the problems discussed above through the development of new anodes resistant to poisoning in the presence of hydrocarbons and the use of electrolytes with improved mechanical properties thanks to the design of new architectures. In this context, the cheap, versatile and simple synthesis by mechanochemical methods of new anodes based on double perovskites of composition PrBaMn2-jXjO5+δ (PBMXO), with X = Mn, Co, Ni, or Fe and 0 < j <0.5, and the design and manufacture of laminated electrolytes with mechanical reliability, without compromising their ionic conductivity, are proposed.

Formic acid as energy vector: feasability of hydrogen charge/discharge cycles

Research head: José Antonio Odriozola Gordón y Svetlana Ivanova
Period: 01-02-2020 / 31-01-2022
Financial source: Junta de Andalucía
Code: US-1263288
Research group: Anna Dimitrova Penkova, Ligia Amelia Luque Alvarez, Débora Álvarez Hernández

Abstract [+]

This project is part of the current trend for future technologies of Carbon dioxide Capture and Utilization (CCU). His interest lies in a direct use of atmospheric CO2 to store green hydrogen (produced with the help of renewable energies) as formic acid directly used as an energy vector. From an environmental point of view, the development of this technology would make possible the preservation of the CO2 footprint during the complete cycle of energy generation, storage and release, without generating more greenhouse gases. The possibility of storing hydrogen in this way would facilitate its transport and its use in diverse applications, both mobile and stationary. Indirectly, this technology would rationalize the storage of renewable energies, making them independent of climatic conditions. This project aims to study the feasibility of the technology based on the development of one unique stable and selective catalyst for both, hydrogen charge and discharge cycles (CO2 / HCOOH).

Plasma technology for the development of a new generation of hole transport layers in perovskite solar cells

Research head: Juan Ramón Sánchez Valencia (US)
Period: 01-01-2020 / 31-12-2022
Financial source: Junta de Andalucía
Code: US-1263142
Research group: Angel Barranco Quero, Juan Pedro Espinós Manzorro, Cristina Rojas Ruiz, José Cotrino Bautista

Abstract [+]

Third generation solar cells (SCs) are nanotechnological devices that directly convert sunlight into electricity and represent the paradigm of research in renewable energies, the use of which will depend on the energy future of the planet. Recently, a particular example of SCs containing an organometallic halide perovskite as a light absorber have attracted the attention of the scientific community due, above all, to their high efficiency and low cost. These characteristics make them a promising alternative to current cells (Si and chalcogenides). However, for the commercial realization of perovskite cells, it is necessary to achieve greater stability, durability and reproducibility. The most important advances have been achieved due to the intense research on the elements that integrate a SC: electron transport layer, perovskite and hole transport layer. Specifically, this latter element has been crucial for its evolution after the implementation of solid state hole conductors.

PlasmaCells pursuits to address for the first time the synthesis of a new family of hole transporters by vacuum and plasma techniques. These methodologies are industrially scalable and have great advantages over solution methodologies (the most used), among which stand out: their high versatility, composition and microstructural control, low cost, are environmental friendly since they do not require solvents, do not produce polluting emissions and are compatible with current semiconductor technology.

The main objective of PlasmaCells is the integration of these new plasma-processed hole transport layers into perovskite SCs. The importance of the project is based on recent results obtained by the Principal Investigator (PI) that demonstrate that the proposed approach may be one of the most promising ways to increase the stability, durability and reproducibility of these SCs, which currently represent the bottleneck that prevents their industrialization. It should be noted that there is no example in the literature of this synthetic approach for the development of hole transporters. It is expected that this opportunity will allow to demonstrate the advantages and versatility of this innovative methodology in a high-impact field, which is framed within the priority areas RIS3 Andalucia and in the PAIDI 2020 of sustainable growth, energy efficiency and renewable energies.

Sustainable Smart De-Icing by Surface Engineering of Acoustic Waves | SOUNDOFICE

Research head: Coordinador ICMS: Ana Isabel Borrás Martos
Period: 01-11-2020 / 31-10-2024
Financial source: European Commission Horizon 2020
Code: H2020-FET-OPEN/0717
Research group: Agustín R. González-Elipe, Juan Pedro Espinós, Francisco Yubero, Ángel Barranco, Víctor Rico, María del Carmen López Santos

Abstract [+]

Icing on surfaces is commonplace in nature and industry and too often causes catastrophic events. SOUNDofICE ultimate goal is to overcome costly and environmentally harmful de-icing methods with a pioneering strategy based on the surface engineering of MHz Acoustic Waves for a smart and sustainable removal of ice. This technology encompasses the autonomous detection and low-energy-consuming removal of accreted ice on any material and geometry. For the first time, both detection and de-icing will share the same operating principle. The visionary research program covers the modeling of surface wave atom excitation of ice aggregates, integration of acoustic transducers on large areas, and the development of surface engineering solutions to stack micron-size interdigitated electrodes together with different layers providing efficient wave propagation, anti-icing capacity, and aging resistance. We will demonstrate that this de-icing strategy surpasses existing methods in performance, multifunctionality, and capacity of integration on industrially relevant substrates as validated with proof of concept devices suited for the aeronautic and wind power industries. SOUNDofICE high-risks will be confronted by a strongly interdisciplinary team from five academic centers covering both the fundamental and applied aspects. Two SMEs with first-hand experience in icing will be in charge of testing this technology and its future transfer to key EU players in aeronautics, renewable energy, and household appliances. An Advisory Board incorporating relevant companies will contribute to effective dissemination and benchmarking. The flexibility of the R&D plan, multidisciplinarity, and assistance of the AdB guarantee the success of this proposal, bringing up a unique opportunity for young academia leaders and SMEs from five different countries to strengthen the EU position on a high fundamental and technological impact field, just on the moment when the climate issues are of maxima importance.

- INMA: Instituto de Nanociencia y Materiales de Aragón, Spain
-UNIZAR: Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain
-TECPAR: Fundacja Partnerstwa Technologicznego Technology Partners;  Poland
- IFW: Leibniz-Institut Fuer Festkoerper- Und Werkstoffforschung Dresden E.V.;  Germany
-TAU: Tampereen Korkeakoulusaatio SR;  Finland
- INTA: Instituto Nacional De Tecnica Aeroespacial Esteban Terradas; Spain
- Villinger: VILLINGER GMBH,  Austria
- EnerOcean: EnerOcean S.L.,  Spain

Adaptive multiresponsive nanostructures for integrated photonics, piezo/tribotronics and optofluidic monitoring | AdFunc

Research head: Angel Barranco Quero y Ana Isabel Borrás Martos
Period: 01-06-2020 / 31-05-2023
Financial source: Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades
Code: PID2019-110430GB-C21
Research group: José Cotrino Bautista, Victor J. Rico Gavira, Francisco Yubero Valencia, Juan Pedro Espinós Manzorro, Agustín R. González-Elipe

Abstract [+]

AdFUNC is a highly interdisciplinary project whose main objective is to achieve significant progress in two areas at the frontier of Materials Science: the development of multi-response sensors and light-activated energy systems. The common denominators of AdFUNC are the intelligent design of complex architectures at the nanoscale and the development of laboratory scale demonstrators.

We are convinced that the project opens a window of opportunity for us to carry out research that can be classified into four areas: i) Applications and devices: We will develop the recently discovered tribotronic and piezotronic effects to manufacture self-powered sensor devices. With these materials, in combination with several advanced photonic sensing and spectro-electrochemical technologies, we will expand the efficiency, multiactuation and multiresponse of optofluidic adaptive systems. These systems, maintaining a common architecture, will present a differentiated response to diverse and complex real scenarios, which will be simulated in the project (environmental alterations such as spills, accidents, chemical or explosive threats).

Another fundamental aspect of the project are the photovoltaic devices, which will be optimized to be able to work in low light conditions, and mechanical energy collectors and devices that are capable of coupling light and movement to the activation of the water electrochemical decomposition. ii) Nanomaterials: Adfunc is a project where a team of specialists in the development of supported nanostructures by different technologies come together. This will allow us, for the first time, to implement a set of 3D nanoarchitectures (nanowires, nanotubes, core@shell) and the design of materials with controlled nanoporous structures (sculptural layers, nanochannels, porosity associated in several scales, porous optical multilayers, pioneering developments of metalloorganic networks (MOFs) in porous photonic structures) directly to the improvement of the active components of the project devices. Iii) Strategy: The project gives us the opportunity to work simultaneously on new synthetic routes, advanced characterization of materials and properties, integration of materials into devices, and this while simultaneously obtaining modeling and simulation information. iv) Perspective of scalability: In all cases, methods and techniques compatible with established industrial processes will be used, such as plasma and vacuum, typical of the optoelectronic and microelectronic industry, and synthesis processes in solution. Another interesting aspect is the possibility of introducing plastics and polymers to manufacture devices, which may allow the valorization of waste from the plastic industry, in an effort of circular economy in which researchers of the project are committed.

AdFunc is only possible thanks to the joint effort of a large number of researchers, mostly from ICMS-CSIC and the Pablo de Olavide University, which is completed by a group of researchers from other national and international institutions with complementary experience and interest. It is precisely the coordination of such a large number of specialists (25 doctors in the two subprojects) that allows us to propose the development of such a complete and ambitious set of activities.

Magnetron Sputtered Innovative coatings for solar selective absorption

Research head: Juan Carlos Sánchez López y Ramón Escobar Galindo (Abengoa Solar New Tecnologies, S.A.)
Period: 01-06-2020 / 31-05-2024
Financial source: Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades
Code: PID2019-104256RB-I00
Research group: Cristina Rojas Ruiz, Belinda Sigüenza Carballo

Abstract [+]

The climatic change produced by the gas pollutants emissions and the greenhouse effect along to the short mid-terme depletion of the energy fosil fuels make necessary the search of alternative energy sources, clean and renewable. Among them, the solar energy is one the best options due to the mayor availability to generate heat and electricity.

The goal of the present project is the development of new solar multilayered absorber coatings based on chromium and aluminium nitride (CrAlN). The good oxidation resistance and thermal stability of CrAlN, together with a nanostructured design will ensure a good optical performance (high absorptance and low emissivity) and increase their durability at high temperature. The increment of the working temperature (T>550ºC) will improve the efficiency and reduce the costs of the solar thermal power plants, make them more competitive. The High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering technique (HiPIMS) will be used for the preparation of the coatings. This recent innovation of the conventional magnetron sputtering technology allows increasing the film density and compactness thanks to an increased ionization of the plasma. These properties are interesting for the improvement of the adhesion to the substrate and decrease the thermal degradation. In addition to abovementioned strategy, other alternative configurations changing the nature of the material absorber (metal oxynitrides and carbides nanocomposites) would be tried.

The project will comprise all the stages, from the synthesis of the material components of the solar selective structures, design and simulation of the optical behaviour, to the validation in conditions similar to the final application (both in lab and field tests). The structural and chemical characterization, the evaluation of the thermal stability and oxidation resistance will run simultaneously with the aim of optimizing the solar absorber selective coatings with the best performance and durability.

Three-dimensional nanoscale design for the all-in-one solution to environmental multisource energy scavenging | 3DSCAVENGERS

Research head: Ana Isabel Borrás Martos
Period: 01-03-2020 / 28-02-2025
Financial source: European Commission STARTING GRANT
Code: H2020-ERC-STG/0655
Research group:

Abstract [+]

Thermal and solar energy as well as body movement are all sources of energy. They can be exploited by advanced technology, obviating the need for battery recharging. These local ambient sources of energy can be captured and stored. However, their low intensity and intermittent nature reduces the recovery of energy by microscale instruments, highlighting the need for an integrated multisource energy harvester. Existing methods combine different single source scavengers in one instrument or use multifunctional materials to concurrently convert various energy sources into electricity.

The EU-funded 3DScavengers project proposes a compact solution based on the nanoscale architecture of multifunctional three-dimensional materials to fill the gap between the two existing methods. These nanoarchitectures will be able to simultaneous and individual harvesting from light, movement and temperature fluctuations. 3DScavengers ultimate goal is to apply a scalable and environmental friendly one-reactor plasma and vacuum approach for the synthesis of this advanced generation of nanomaterials.




CO2 valorization: obtaining hydrocarbons through catalytic hydrogenation processes

Research head: Alfonso Caballero Martínez y Juan Pedro Holgado Vázquez
Period: 01-02-2020 / 31-01-2022
Financial source: Junta de Andalucía
Code: US-1263455
Research group: Gerardo Colón Ibáñez, Rosa Pereñíguez Rodríguez, Andrew M. Beale (UCL), Angeles M. López Martín, Francisco Jesús Platero Moreno

Abstract [+]

This project will carry out several studies and developments related to the reduction of CO2 to valuable products, such as methane, light olefins, gasolines and other functionalized hydrocarbons, of economic, energetic and environmental interest. The use of hydrogen as a reducing agent, obtained from renewable sources, in addition to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, is a way to store energy from renewable sources, many of which are intermittent and therefore difficult to match with consumption needs.
    Therefore, this project proposes the development of new heterogeneous catalytic systems based on Ni, Fe, Co, Ru and In, among other metals, which have shown in recent years a great potential for this hydrogenation reaction. Given the bifunctional character of the reaction mechanisms involved in these reactions, micro and mesoporous supports of variable composition (zeolites, SBA-15, etc.) will be selected, as well as others based on ABO3 perovskite structure. For this purpose, a series of recently described preparation techniques (Microwave Crystallization, Self-Combustion Process, Mesostructuring by Nanocasting and Hierarchical Porosity) will be used to obtain systems with high specific surface area and controlled nanostructure. The combination of different elements in the A and B positions of the perovskite structure, acting both as promoting agents of the catalytic systems and as precursors of metallic alloys in the reduced catalytic systems, will allow obtaining materials with modulable, varied and versatile catalytic properties.

Modeling and implementation of the freeze casting technique: gradients of porosity with a tribo-mechanical equilibrium and electro-stimulated cellular behavior

Research head: Yadir Torres Hernández (US) y Juan Carlos Sánchez López
Period: 01-02-2020 / 31-01-2022
Financial source: Junta de Andalucía. Universidad de Sevilla
Code: US-1259771
Research group: Ana María Beltrán Custodio, Alberto Olmo Fernández, Paloma Trueba Muñoz, María de los Ángeles Vázquez Gámez

Abstract [+]

Commercial pure Titanium (c.p. Ti) and Ti6Al4V alloy are metal biomaterials with the best properties for clinical repair bone tissue. However, despite their advantages, 5-10 % of implants fail during the five years post-implantation. They are mainly associated with stress shielding (difference stiffness between bone and implant), the use of design criteria (fracture and fatigue) not suitable for biomaterials, the tribo-corrosion phenomena in service conditions and the interface problems (micro-movements and / or the presence of bacteria) that limit the capacity of osseointegration. This project proposes the manufacture and implementation of a simple and economical device to obtain cylinders with controlled (gradient) and elongated porosity by the freeze casting technique. Finite element models will be developed to estimate the geometric growth of the ice dendrites and the mechanical behaviour of the porous cylinders (distribution of stresses and deformations), using real-time radiographs of the directed freezing process, as well as the parameters that characterize the microstructure (amount, size and morphology of porosity) and compression behaviour (stiffness and yield strength). In addition, the generation of surface roughness patterns by ion sputtering is proposed, with the aim to improve the close bond between the implant and the bone tissue. Furthermore, suitable in-vitro protocols are proposed to evaluate cytotoxicity, adhesion, differentiation and proliferation cell. Finally, a bio-impedance measuring system will be developed in order to rationalize the influence of porosity, finished surface and electrical stimulus on the in-situ behaviour of osteoblasts. In this context, the main objective is to manufacture cylinders with a controlled porosity and modified surface, with enhanced biomechanical, tribo-corrosive and biofunctional balance (in-growth and osseointegration of the bone tissue and the implant).

New materials for energy storage of Concentrated Solar Power using Calcium-Looping (SOLACAL)

Research head: Antonio Perejón Pazo y José Manuel Valverde Millán (US)
Period: 01-02-2020 / 30-04-2022
Financial source: Junta de Andalucía
Code: US-1262507
Research group: María Jesús Diánez Millán, Luis A. Pérez Maqueda, Virginia Moreno García

Abstract [+]

This project is focused on the performance of new CaO-based materials during calcination/carbonation cycles (Ca-Looping) under realistic energy storage conditions in concentrated solar power plants (CSP).

In order to simulate realistic conditions, thermogravimetric instruments are used, which are able of employing high heating and cooling rates and different atmospheres of gases. In this way, the results obtained are truly representative and can be extrapolated to practical operating conditions in CSP plants. The multicycle reactivity of limestone and dolomite samples is studied. These samples are modified by mechanical and acetic acid treatments that can improve their reactivity. Moreover, it has been shown that the presence of MgO in calcined dolomite thermally stabilizes CaO. Synthetic dolomites with different MgO content are prepared by mechanical treatments and co-precipitation in order to find the optimal amount of MgO that improves the multicycle activity of CaO. Other materials in which the carbonation temperature can be increased, such as SrCO3 and BaCO3, are also studied, which would further increase the thermoelectric efficiency of CSP plants with thermochemical energy storage.

A relevant aspect of SOLACAL is that the results obtained will be transferred directly to the CSP-CaL demonstration plant that is being built in Seville within the H2020 SOCRATCES project, started in 2018 and coordinated by the University of Seville.

Development of light emitting devices based on nanostructured perovskite

Research head: Hernán R. Míguez García
Period: 01-01-2020 / 31-12-2022
Financial source: Junta de Andalucía
Code: P18-RT-2291
Research group: Juan Francisco Galisteo López, Mauricio E. Calvo Roggiani, Gabriel S. Lozano Barbero

Abstract [+]

The Nano-ABX LED project focuses on finding ways to solve the main challenges facing the field of perovskite-based light emission. These are the chemical and thermal instability of perovskites, as well as the difficulty of maintaining a high quantum efficiency regardless of the emission color, which makes it difficult to obtain both a varied color range and different shades of white (ie, different temperatures color).

The Nano-ABX LED project arises with the motivation to find solutions to these problems. Based on recent preliminary results of the Multifunctional Optical Materials Group, an attempt will be made to demonstrate that the integration of hybrid perovskite nanocrystals inside matrices with controlled porosity dramatically improves the environmental stability of these materials, an aspect that the group requesting this proposal has studied in depth, as well as it allows to increase the luminescent quantum efficiency at controlled emission wavelengths. In another aspect of the project, the increase in efficiency and performance (directionality, spectral control) of the devices will be explored through the integration of different photonic structures, taking as a starting point.

New nanostructured coatings for efficient absorption of solar radiation in concentrated devices

Research head: Juan Carlos Sánchez López
Period: 01-01-2020 / 31-12-2022
Financial source: Junta de Andalucia
Code: P18-RT-2641
Research group: T. Cristina Rojas Ruiz, Belinda Siguenza Carballo

Abstract [+]

The improvement of the materials employed in the devices used in the renewable energy sector will enable to increase the efficiency of these systems to become more competitive and profitable. The current project aims to develop new solar selective coatings able to operate at temperatures beyond the working temperature limits of the materials currently being used in concentrated solar systems (500ºC in vacuum- mid concentration; 800ºC in air –high concentration). The systems will be prepared in the form of multilayers using the novel technology of magnetron sputtering where the materials are evaporated by means of high energy pulses (HiPIMS - High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering). The developed materials should fulfill the optical requirements and thermal stability to withstand the high solar irradiance flux and working temperatures. This project will be carried out through the collaboration of two research groups belonging to the “Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Sevilla”, CSIC-ICMS (TEP958 group) and the “Plataforma Solar de Almería”, CIEMAT-PSA (TEP247 group). The ICMS-CSIC group will perform the design, preparation and characterization of the coatings. Meanwhile, the CIEMAT-PSA group will be in charge of designing the bench tests, validating the coatings in working conditions similar to the final application in terms of high incident solar flux and operation temperatures. Such tests will include both the determination of thermal and optical parameters in nominal operating conditions, as well as the thermal cycling at high frequency (thermal treatment and aging).

Smart thermochromic coatings for smart windows and environmental control (TOLERANCE)

Research head: Angel Barranco Quero y Alberto Palmero Acebedo
Period: 01-01-2020 / 31-12-2022
Financial source: Junta de Andalucia
Code: P18-RT-3480
Research group: Ana María Gómez Ramírez, Juan Ramón Sánchez Valencia, Victor J. Rico Gavira, Rafael Alvarez Molina, Francisco Yubero Valencia, Juan Pedro Espinós Manzorro, Ana Isabel Borrás Martos, Agustín R. González-Elipe

Abstract [+]

The International Energy Agency considers that the systematic use of autonomous procedures for environmental control is one of the best technological approaches to minimize the energy employed to cool down buildings and other urban structures (it represents more than 40% of the global energy use in developed countries, much above the use in transportation, for instance), thus reducing the environmental impact and improving human comfort. TOLERANCE aims at introducing and developing a technology based on thermochromic materials in Andalusia as a smart and autonomous element to control the penetration of solar radiation in buildings.  This project focusses on various applications such as smart windows in buildings and urban furniture, improvement of sanitary water systems or environmental control in greenhouses. While at low temperatures, a thermochromic coating transmits most solar spectrum, it selectively filters out the infrared region of this spectrum at high temperatures. In this research, TOLERANCE proposes several R+D actions to grow thin films with composition VO2, a thermochromic oxide with transition temperature near room temperature, on glass and plastic by means of industrial scalable techniques, as well as its nanostructuration, doping and integration in multilayer systems to improve its features and multifunctional properties.