Project to cut energy consumption

A research project to develop polyolefin-based heat absorbers to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions and suppress the amount of plastic waste is being conducted by Qatar University Centre for Advanced Materials (QU-CAM).

  
09 February 2016
DOHA: A research project to develop polyolefin-based heat absorbers to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions and suppress the amount of plastic waste is being conducted by Qatar University Centre for Advanced Materials (QU-CAM). 

'Development of Polyolefin-based Heat Absorbers for Effective Energy Management in Bioclimatic Buildings' has been continuing for four years. 

It is being conducted by a team of researchers, including  QU Qatar Petrochemical Company (Qapco) Polymer Chair Prof Igor Krupa, CAM Director Prof Mariam Al Maadeed, Post-doctoral Researcher Dr Patrik Sobolciak and Master's student from QU's Materials Science and Technology Programme at College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Haneen Abdelrazeq, in collaboration with Qapco Head of Research and Development Dr Mabrouk Ouederni.

According to Prof Al Maadeed, in Qatar, the harsh climate can produce temperatures up to 45 degrees Celsius during summer, and lower than five degrees during winter, which leads to an intense consumption of energy, particularly for air conditioning. 

In general, it is estimated that buildings consume up to 40 percent of total energy. 

"The project is focused on the development of plastic heat absorbers called 'Phase Change Materials' (PCM) based on recycled polyethylene and paraffin wax which can be used as components that improve the passive heating or cooling of buildings to save electrical energy and reduce carbon dioxide emissions," she said. 

Dr Krupa said, "In addition to being one of the key producers of oil and gas in the Middle East, Qatar is one of the world's leading producers of plastics, particularly low-density polyethylene. 

"It is estimated that plastics waste represents almost 14 percent of all solid waste in the country. 

"Except a designing of effective heat absorbers, the second key impact of the project is a utilisation of plastic waste, particularly polyethylene for this purpose instead of neat polymers, which not only reduces production costs but also suppresses amount of waste plastic." 

Dr Sobolciak said: "Sun is the most common source of energy for energetic requirements in bioclimatic buildings. We are developing compact composite sheets based on polyethylene, paraffin wax, graphite and special PCM foams. 

"PCM foams have a double functionality serving as common insulators on the one hand and during the phase transition when they effectively absorb and release thermal energy from the sun which improves thermal comfort with a minimal use of electrical energy," he added. 

© The Peninsula 2016

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