We are developing ground-breaking coatings for building materials that can be manufactured on an industrial scale in the UK. Once developed, these products will form the roofs, walls and windows of buildings to generate, store and release safe, clean renewable energy.
These coatings can be applied to buildings on a large scale, using cost-effective, earth-abundant and safe materials. The coatings can be applied to new building materials, such as steel and glass, at the point of manufacture or they can be fitted to existing buildings.
This work takes place in the pilot production plant, which is unique in the world. It is a vital stepping-stone in the development of our novel coatings, as they mature from lab samples into real products, and it is also a proving ground for the new industry and the manufacturing systems that will drive their commercial success. With academics and product development specialists working closely together, on one site, ideas can move quickly between the lab and factory floor. We are able to work at any stage in the coating development process, from raw material manufacture through optimisation of the application process and product durability.
In addition to the pilot manufacturing facilities, our labs and engineering workshops support product integration and system development and allow us to build demonstrators and bespoke equipment in-house. Coating durability, corrosion potential and physical characteristics can be tested with range of industry standards, complementing our extensive scientific investigative capability.
One example where we have developed a coating, process and building application from scratch is our electrically heated raised access floor system. This has been developed by SPECIFIC and is designed to operate at low voltage to work in combination with locally generated and stored renewable electricity (however could equally well be tailored to operate at higher voltage).
The floor has been demonstrated in an evolution of the underfloor heating product, which has been operational in the Active Classroom for over two years.
Research Lead: Dr Eifion Jewell