The new Innovative Materials (2023 volume 3) has just been released

Façade panels as heat sources for heat pumps

Heat pumps are currently seeing something of a boom in the heating technology market. However, not every property has sufficient space to accommodate the external air unit needed for an air-to-water heat pump. Where space is limited, new solar thermal façade panels could provide a noiseless and space-saving alternative, as well as an attractive architectural feature. As part of its ongoing TABSOLAR III research project, the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE is developing and testing just such a solution in collaboration with industry partners. The TABSOLAR demonstration panel was presented at the BAU trade fair from 17 to 22 April in Messe München.

‘Renewable Material of the Year 2023’ Innovation Award

With the ‘Renewable Material of the Year 2023’ innovation award, the nova-Institute (organiser) and Covestro (sponsor) recognise three particular and promising solutions that contribute to replacing fossil carbon from the ground. Thirty companies responded to the call for entries, six nominees presented their innovations at the conference and three were selected by the participants of the Renewable Materials Conference.


On the grounds of the University of Maine’s Advanced Structures and Composites Center BioHome3D was opened: the nation’s first additively manufactured home made entirely from biobased materials. The 600-square-foot home is the result of a collaboration between Oak Ridge National Laboratory and (UMaine, Advanced Structures & Composites Center). This demonstration project is meant to show how the materials perform over time in the local climate. If environmental analysis, weather testing and energy data collection are beneficial, the project could lead to thousands of similar, efficiently built and environmentally friendly homes.

Knit to find the perfect fit

The bearing structure of a building made out of knitted material? Mariana Popescu, Assistant Professor of Parametric Structural Design and Digital Fabrication shows that unusual building structures can be created more efficiently and more sustainably using 3D knitted textiles. She hopes her innovative approach will inspire new generations of designers and engineers to think outside the box.

Translucent aerogel bricks

Glass bricks have long been popular in architecture for bringing light into buildings. Until now, however, they have not been suitable for load-bearing walls and have not insulated well. An Empa team has now developed a translucent glass brick with good insulation properties thanks to aerogel, which can even be used for load-bearing elements. This makes it possible to build aesthetic, translucent walls that reduce the need for artificial lighting inside the building.

JEC Innovation Award 2023

Each year, JEC Group rewards groundbreaking, creative projects that

demonstrate the capabilities of composite materials through the JEC Composites Innovation Awards. The innovation prize aims to stimulate innovations in composite materials and to bring the industry’s progress to the attention of the public. Prior to JEC World (April 25 – 27 in Paris), the winners of this year’s Innovation Award were announced.