Spanish researchers have developed an innovative thermal conditioning panel made of a ceramic material that could replace conventional air-conditioning units.
Featuring an advanced capillary structure, the panel allows water to flow inside and heat or cool a room according to the temperature of the water.
"The system, based on fixed factory assembled panels, is made of several layers and can be easily installed in ceilings and walls,” said Victor Echarri Iribarren, director of the UA Research Group on Technology and Sustainability in Architecture of the University of Alicante who has led the research.
“It requires minimal maintenance and can be deployed across multiple designs and configurations, allowing the creation of panels of different sizes and formats,” he said.
The technology has been successfully tested and performed well as an alternative to conventional air-conditioning systems using forced or connective air. The team is now looking for investors who would be interested in developing the technology into a commercial product.
"This innovative form of air-conditioning is compatible for use in sustainable construction, as it is environmentally friendly for containing ceramic and polypropylene,” said Echarri Iberan.
“The system, working with moderate water temperatures, allows the use of renewable solar, geothermal and biomass energy, both in summer and winter. Also, the material provides other advantages such as a light weight, easy maintenance and the ability to set custom formats tailored to the needs of the architect,” he concluded.
The University of Alicante team has been cooperating on the project with the with the Spanish Association of Manufacturers of Ceramic Tiles and Pavements (ASCER) and the Institute for Ceramic Technology (ITC).