Universitat de Lleida

A dynamic thermal system for reducing energy demands in buildings

Posted by Unitat from Universitat de LleidaResponsive · Patents for licensing · Spain

Summary of the technology

The invention DARWIN-PCM is a new dynamic thermal system to be used in buildings to minimize their energy consumption for space heating and cooling.

The University of Lleida seeks an industrial partner willing to adopt this new technology. The type of partner sought is for the production and commercialization of this protected technology under a license agreement. Other types of business relationships could be discussed.

Universitat de Lleida

Description of the technology

The invention DARWIN-PCM is a new dynamic thermal system to be used in buildings to minimize their energy consumption for space heating and cooling.

The invention can be implemented in any sort of building envelope including walls, floors, roofs, fenestrations, and doors. It is composed of several layers of materials, one of them is mobile and contains a material with the capacity to absorb and release a high amount of heat - such as phase-change materials (PCM).

An example is the use of the DARWIN-PCM system as a façade structure. During the day, the PCM layer is exposed outdoors to capture and store solar radiation whilst by night, it is placed indoors to release the absorbed energy to provide comfort to occupants. This system works cyclically and allows the building to optimize its bioclimatic behaviour.

The need

The world’s buildings accounted for 40% of global final energy use and 33% of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Under business-as-usual projections, use of energy in buildings globally could double or even triple by 2050. In the Energy Roadmap 2050, the EU has set itself a long-term goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95%, when compared to 1990 levels, by 2050.

There are several disadvantages linked to the fixed position of the PCM inside the construction structure. Therefore, the current solutions based on PCM do not work properly, and there only exist prototypes.


> Significant energy savings: When compared against conventional static systems with or without PCM, the DARWIN-PCM reduces dramatically the energy demand both in winter and summer.

> Envelope as space heating and cooling supplier:DARWIN-PCM changes the age-old concept that building envelopes have to be designed to act as a thermal barrier and protect indoor spaces from outdoor conditions.

> Offers unique aesthetic and commercial options:When implemented in glazed systems, the movable layers can be coloured and distinguished between parts with and without PCM.


This structure is ideally a physical separator between the interior and exterior of the building. However, this building envelope structure could be used totally or partially in walls, floors, roofs, fenestrations, and doors.

Level of development

This structure was tested by computer modelling in two different environments: winter and summer conditions, using an increasing percentage of PCM in the thermal structure. The numerical proof of concept showed the high potential of this technology to reduce energy consumption for both space heating and cooling applications

Operating principle ">https://youtu.be/lbSkvUKIaxs

Outdoors ">https://youtu.be/ILS_yJkXpLU

Indoors ">https://youtu.be/I9JlkbUpQLk

Intellectual property status

Patent already applied for

Technology Owner

Universitat de Lleida

Research & Technology Organization

Related keywords

  • Construction Technology
  • Construction engineering (design, simulation)
  • Materials, components and systems for construction
  • Construction maintenance and monitoring methods & equipment
  • Construction methods and equipment
  • Installations related to construction (energy, lighting, …)
  • Materials Technology
  • Building materials
  • Thermal insulation for space applications
  • Industrial Technologies
  • Clean Industrial Technologies
  • Energy Technology
  • Solar / Thermal Energy Technology
  • Thermal Insulation Technology
  • Energy efficiency
  • Protecting Man and Environment
  • Environment
  • Clean Production / Green Technologies
  • Energy Market
  • Alternative Energy
  • Solar / Thermal Energy Market
  • Thermal Insulation Market
  • Power generation
  • Energy for private/domestic housing
  • Energy Distribution
  • Energy Storage
  • Consumer related
  • Construction and Building Products

About Universitat de Lleida

Research & Technology Organization from Spain

The Valorisation and Technology Transfer Unit (UViT) is the specialized unit for handling the IPR portfolio in the University of Lleida. The UViT works close to researchers in the fields of Agrifood, Biomedicine, Technology and Sustainability and Social Development to identify research results with market potential, to assess the community on the best IP protection strategy and to commercialise technologies through licensing-out agreements and the creation of technology-based companies.

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