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Innovations for solar power applications driven by high demand for green building materials

Innovations for solar power applications driven by high demand for green building materials

30-Jun-12

The drive to reduce energy consumption is one of the highest priorities in building and construction today. Based on average material costs, green building materials represented approximately US$14.5 bln in cumulative spending through 2010, and are expected to reach nearly US$120 bln by 2030. BIPV panels are increasingly being incorporated into the construction of new buildings as a principal or ancillary source of electrical power, although existing buildings may be retrofitted with BIPV modules as well.

SABIC's new Lexan BIPV panels comply with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) EN ISO/IEC 17025, EIC 61215 and IEC 61730-2 standard certifications and contribute to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification system. Highlighting the applications is the solar industry's first polycarbonate (PC) building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) panels for roofing, cladding and glazing. The new Lexan BIPV panels combine tough, transparent Lexan Thermoclear* PC sheet with photovoltaic cells into panels that come in a broad range of sizes, configurations and colors. These BIPV panels are an excellent alternative to traditional BIPV materials, particularly glass, because they deliver exceptional design freedom – including the ability to create dramatic curved shapes - and provide light weight, excellent thermal insulation, extreme durability and improved safety. In addition to Lexan BIPV panels, SABIC features an array of solar industry application- junction boxes and inverter housings on exhibit illustrate the advantages of Noryl resin for solar designers and manufacturers. This versatile material can enable the design of smaller components, provides the thermal performance needed to address the challenges of miniaturization and delivers excellent flame retardant properties. Storage battery housings molded from Noryl N190X resin demonstrate excellent chemical and high heat resistance. A micro PV tracking system uses SABIC's LNP* Thermocomp* PF00DS compound for the brackets and LNP Lubricomp* DL002 compound for the moving arm parts. Glass-filled LNP Thermocomp PF00DS compound allows for part integration and can provide the high stiffness needed for structural parts like brackets. LNP Lubricomp DL002 compound, a lubricated material for moving parts, may reduce maintenance costs by eliminating the need for external lubricants. SABIC offers a wide array of materials for solar and electrical systems, including Noryl, Lexan and Cycoloy resins and LNP Thermocomp and LNP Lubricomp specialty compounds, transparent Lexan CFR copolymer for solar collectors and other applications requiring flame retardance at very thin gauges. Lexan CFR copolymer meets the UL 945 VA standard at 0.3 mm. Cycoloy resins are excellent candidate materials when flame retardance, chemical resistance and good heat performance are needed for storage battery housings. LNP Thermocomp compounds, based on 25 different resins, contribute extremely high mechanical and ultraviolet performance in structural applications calling for high stiffness, part integration and weight-out. LNP Lubricomp compounds are lubricated materials specially developed to help reduce part wear and friction in applications such as bearings, sliders and nuts. This technology the need for external lubricants and can minimize maintenance costs.

Customers in the future will benefit from lighter weight, more efficient and lower cost solar thermal panels as a result of an exclusive, worldwide agreement between SABIC and VU University Amsterdam (VU). The objective of the collaboration is to develop and commercialize the university's technology invention to keep the temperature in solar energy collectors under control. As demand for solar energy rises, SABIC and the VU University are collaborating to develop a new, more efficient solar thermal technology to harness sunlight to collect heat. The energy from sunlight generates temperatures in solar energy collectors that often exceed the melting point of plastic materials, requiring the collectors to be constructed from expensive metals and glass that are heavy and restrictive in their design freedom. The concept developed and patented by VU University uses an "optical switch" by creating a prismatic structure of the thermoplastic panels made from Lexan polycarbonate sheet in such a way that, the sunlight can be reflected before the panels get too hot.

 
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IBC blow moulding line with frame machine

IBC blow moulding line with frame machine