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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/L010372/1
Title: SPECIFIC Tranche 2: Heat, Water, PV and Bio-inspiration
Principal Investigator: Worsley, Professor D
Other Investigators:
Claypole, Professor T Williams, Professor G McMurray, Professor HN
Sullivan, Professor JH Akid, Professor R
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: College of Engineering
Organisation: Swansea University
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 June 2013 Ends: 31 May 2016 Value (£): 1,626,979
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Manufacturing Construction
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
01 May 2013 Innovation and Knowledge Centres (24 months review) Swansea Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Every day more solar energy falls on the Earth's surface than the whole of human kind will use in 27 years. At this point we do little to harvest this energy. Buildings are major consumers of energy and yet they are often clad in metal and glass, both materials which can be capable of sophisticated engineering. In the UK annual production of metal and glass for construction of the outside faces of buildings is running at around 300 million square metres per annum. The aim of SPECIFIC as an Innovation and Knowledge Centre (IKC) is to rapidly adapt excellent small scale devices that have been demonstrated in UK universities, scale up their application and ensure their stability so that the outsides of building can become active surfaces, essentially converting buildings into power stations. The key feature will be to combine technologies such that the panels will generate, store and release energy. This will create a whole new manufacturing sector for the UK as well as making a serious contribution towards our renewable energy targets and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

In the first two years the SPECIFIC has developed a full pilot manufacturing facility to enable the manufacture of 1 square metre panels of functional coated materials on any substrate (glass, steel, aluminium, plasterboard, wood) which can be applied to buildings at demonstration scale. These production facilities build on the world class labs that were part of the 9 month start up phase for the IKC. Three principal concepts have developed considerable momentum and are the focus for the next phase of the project;

(1) the 'hot tile' concept is a functional coating that uses DC electricity to heat raised access floor panels common in most buildings such and offices, schools, hospitals and supermarkets built in the last 15 years. It allows for new build and retrofitting of a low energy electrical heating system that can eliminate the need for a gas connection and wet trades.

(2) a new heat treatment method has been applied to a titanium dioxide coating used as part of the photovoltaic development which is able to sinter the film (making it robust) whilst at the same time retaining the crystal structure and surface area required for high photoactivity. This has been used as a single coat solar water purification coating which has reduced the decolouration time of dyed water from 11 hours to 4 minutes. This has obvious applications in developing countries where UK textiles are manufactured.

(3) emerging PV technologies; the centre has developed an innovative solid state dye sensitised solar cell design in conjunction with BASF. Much of the learning in this project (in terms of electrode design and device optimisation) is directly transferable to other emerging solar cell types such as the earth abundant PV made of copper, zinc, tin and sulphur (attractive since it contains no rare or toxic elements) or the perovskite meso-scopic solar cell first reported in 2012. Much of this work will be conducted at the IKC funded by a recently announced £6m grant from the Welsh Government under the Ser Cymru (Welsh Stars) programme.

In addition, in a side project the team have developed a novel self cleaning surface based on hydrophobins which can be applied to provide an ultra-hydrophobic or hydrophilic surface. These have obvious applications in solar devices on buildings as well as a number of other areas and a fourth strand of work with Manchester University in a one year feasibility study entitled Bio-Coat.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.swan.ac.uk