Project - New energy efficient concrete prepared for industrialized production

Thomas Juul Andersen

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Project - New energy efficient concrete prepared for industrialized production

Phase Change Materials (PCM) in precast concrete

Project start September 2009 and anticipated end August 2012.

The project is completed.

Future tightening of the energy legislation calls for better and multi functional solutions. By utilizing the combined effect of phase change materials and concrete as a heavy construction material, this project will help Denmark reduce its annual CO2-emission with approximately 200.000 tons over a 30-year period. It is the goal of the project to develop and market the tools for industrial production of a new generation building materials optimized for energy. Phase change materials have the potential to generate the so far largest leap concerning energy technology within the building industry provided competencies comprising rheology, concrete technology, polymer chemistry, energy design, and industrial production technology are combined intelligently. This combined knowledge, necessary to overcome scientific and technical challenges hampering the development, is gathered by the partners of this project and through a successful project, the partners will strengthen both their position on the market and their company profile.

Project Objectives
The scientific objectives are:

  • To develop a thorough understanding of the interfacial properties of Micronal® PCM-particles in cement-based suspensions and be able to tailor polycarboxylate dispersants to match these,
  • To develop an understanding of the complicated heat transfer mechanisms in a PCM-concrete mixture to be able to optimize PCM-concrete element composition, and
  • To investigate significant requirements for optimum integration in whole building energy systems.

The technological objectives are:

  • To develop and optimize this new composite material to meet legislative standards for e.g. durability and strength,
  • To develop system solutions for energy design, and
  • To ensure a robust industrialized production process.

The three primary success criteria are:

  • To solve the scientific and technological challenges impeding commercial use of PCM-capsules in concrete.
  • To enable production at competitive prices, using the existing production platform.
  • To offer system solutions that encompass the entire building structure, thus facilitating the subsequent commercialization through return-on-investment considerations.

The overall expected results are:

  • To have developed new energy efficient system solutions based on the optimal use of PCM in concrete and optimal use of PCM-concrete elements in the structure.
  • To be able to offer a robust and cost effective solution for fulfilling future energy legislation.
  • Developing the technology to a point where the participating companies have the necessary scientific knowledge to support the pull-push strategy and enable a commercial roll-out.


  • Danish Technological Institute (has project management)
  • BASF Construction Chemicals Denmark A/S
    Hans-Henrik Poulsen, Business Developer, Admixture Systems Nordic
  • Aalborg University, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Architectural Engineering
    Per Heiselberg, Head of Division of Arch. Engineering
  • Spæncom A/S
    René Kjærsgaard-Nielsen, Director

The project is supported by the Danish National Advanced Technology Foundation

The project consists of 7 parts as described below:

  1. Functionalizing polymers, capsules, and mix design optimization
    Investigate the influence of various structural parameters of high-performance PCE dispersants on the rheological properties and assess the necessity to include additional.
  2. Capsule durability and hardened interfacial properties
    To investigate the chemical and mechanical stability of the capsules and to study the PCM/matrix-interfacial properties regarding thermal volume change during phase transitions and the related thermal conductivity.
  3. Optimization of PCM-concrete element configuration and whole system energy performance
    To optimize the PCM-concrete element configuration (minimize the amount of PCM needed) and the whole system energy performance, to ensure the development of a cost effective and competitive technology.
  4. Thermal, physical, and mechanical performance of PCM-concrete
    To determine and optimize the thermal, physical, and mechanical properties of PCM-concrete.
  5. Factory implementation
    To demonstrate applicability of developed materials and procedures in large scale and to develop robust full-scale casting techniques ensuring consistent material performance.
  6. Full scale structure applications
    To experimentally verify the developed whole energy system solutions using the test facility EnergyFlexHouse at DTI.
  7. Preparing for market implementation
    Incorporation of project results into the market implementation strategy.