Project to Harness Solar Absorbed by Buildings

MONDAY, APRIL 22, 2019

Launched by a consortium of 13 partners—including AkzoNobel (Amsterdam)—is a new research project aiming to collect wasted solar energy absorbed by buildings.

With plans to go beyond roof-based solar panels, the ENVISION initiative plans to harvest energy from all building surfaces (both transparent and opaque), without making changes to the building’s aesthetics.

Horizon 2020

The ENVISION project is also a part of the largest Europe-based research and innovation program to date, Horizon 2020. Started in 2014, the program has been able to raise 80 billion euros ($90 million) —not including money from private investors—in funding for projects slated to take place between 2014 and 2020.

By combining research and innovation, the larger program plans to tackle various challenges in an effort to invest in the smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs of the future.


Currently, AkzoNobel, along with Dutch company BAM and research organization TNO as partners, are searching for a solution to absorb near-infrared light through special panels. But, instead of just using the plain black-colored panels that already exist, coatings experts are working on developing a technology that could still capture heat using lighter and brighter colors.

“Black facades aren’t attractive to most people, so we’ve come up with an innovative solution which allows heat to be captured by colors that traditionally reflect NIR,” explains Anthonie Stuiver, the AkzoNobel senior scientist who is working on the project.

“It’s a practical and sustainable solution for making buildings energy positive—and existing houses more climate-friendly—which also gives consumers freedom of color choice.”

Already, AkzoNobel’s focus on sustainable innovations have produced several climate-friendly products. Many of which include KeepCool technologies, a product used in exterior paints which has been reported to reflect up to 85 percent more infrared radiation than its competitors.

The company has also made strides in developing these new products by launching its own innovative challenge, “Paint the Future.” The project was first announced in November 2018 and focused on predictable performance, smart applications, circular solutions, functionality and life science infusion. Just this week, the AkzoNobel announced the shortlist of companies who had been accepted.

However, the ENVISION project is designed to do just the opposite: absorbing energy verses reflecting it. Researcher and project coordinator for TNO Bart Erich said, “This is the first time that a concept of this kind has been developed.

“Theoretically the concept is very simple. The challenge has been how to convert and store the energy so that it can be used efficiently.”

Earlier this month, Stuvier presented more on AkzoNobel’s involvement in the ENVISION program at the Building Holland tradeshow, which took place in Amsterdam. He concluded that: “Innovation is part of our DNA. Projects such as ENVISION enable us to demonstrate our passion for paint and prove the depth of our expertise. We’re proud to be involved.”


Tagged categories: AkzoNobel; Asia Pacific; Coatings; Coatings Technology; Coatings technology; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Energy efficiency; Good Technical Practice; Latin America; North America; PaintSquare App - Commercial; Research; Research and development; Solar energy; Technology; Z-Continents

Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.