Future Building Technologies Laboratory

The Future Building Technologies Laboratory is an experimental facility for testing advanced active technologies for the buildings and the neighbourhoods of the future operated by the Sustainable Built Environment (SBE) Group of the Energy Department . Originally funded by the European Horizon 2020 ZERO-PLUS Project (Grant Agreement No. 678407) it comprises two RES-powered systems, the freescoo and the FAE HCPV/T, which are hydraulically connected.

freescoo, developed by SolarInvent, is an innovative Desiccant and Evaporative Cooling technology fed by low-grade solar thermal energy. It offers space heating, cooling and dehumidification, air change, and heat recovery.

  • High global electrical efficiency (Typical EER > 10)
  • Energy savings and CO2 emission reduction (up to 80%) if fed by renewable heat
  • Favourable coupling with multifunctional heat pumps and better exploitation of solar thermal energy and waste heat
  • Possible free-cooling operation as an indirect evaporative cooler
  • High indoor air quality, thanks to the combination of air filtration and adsorption mechanisms
  • No use of dangerous substances and fluids harmful to the environment

FAE HCPV/T, developed by IDEA s.r.l., is a High-Concentration PhotoVoltaic and Thermal system. It is constituted by a primary and a

secondary optic, multi-junction solar cells, and an active cooling system connected to a water tank.

Solar light is concentrated by double curvature parabolic mirrors (45 x45cm) into a secondary optic with an area of 1 cm2. Its concentration factor is 2000 suns. At the end of the secondary optic, a multi-junction solar cell is located.

An active cooling system cools down the solar cells at a temperature where electrical efficiency is high (ηel > 30%) while bringing the heat transfer fluid (de-ionized water) up to an output temperature of 70-80°C (in nominal conditions), that is suitable for civil and industrial low-temperature applications.