Swansea University has introduced an active classroom that will generate, store and release its own solar energy.
Developed at the universityâs SPECIFIC Innovation and Knowledge Centre, the electricity in the classroom is generated by a steel roof with integrated solar cells.
It is connected to two Aquion Energy saltwater batteries, which are being used in the UK for the first time and have the capacity to store enough energy to power the building for two days.
As well as being long lasting, the batteries are also non-flammable, non-hazardous, non-explosive, and contain no heavy metals or toxic chemicals.
The classroom also uses Tata Steelâs perforated steel cladding to generate solar heat energy, which can be stored in a water based system, and an electrically heated floor coating that has been developed by SPECIFIC researchers.
The classroomâs control system will combine technical performance data from every component with occupancy and seasonal weather variations to manage the energy use of the building and provide a comfortable environment for students.
An architect on the project, Jo Morgan, commented: While each product is in itself important, the real innovation is in the way they work together to generate, store and release energy.
For us this project wasnât just about showing that it works technically, it was also about working closely with our construction industry partners on a real project, developing skills and helping to bring low carbon buildings like this closer to market.
The classroom will provide teaching space and a laboratory for the universityâs students, along with a building scale development facility for SPECIFIC and its industry partners.
SPECIFIC is led by Swansea University and works with over 50 partners from academia, industry and the government to develop buildings as power stations.
Among its strategic partners are Tata Steel and Cardiff University as well as several others, and it is part-funded by Innovate UK, EPSRC, and the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh government.