by Kathrine Nitter, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
A new product based on concrete slab elements with built-in, liquid-filled heating pipes makes construction projects able to heat themselves. The source of the heat is fossil-fuel free energy, making this a green concept.
This means that heat is also supplied during the building process, which turns out to be a positive side effect. They replace other temporary heating systems and can function throughout the lifetime of the building.
The product has been developed in collaboration between research scientists from SINTEF and the Norwegian contractor Betong & Entreprenør AS.
No fossil fuel
Originally, the energy for the heating pipes was to be supplied by high-efficiency, diesel-powered industrial heating systems. However, new national regulations in force from January 2022 ban fossil-fuel based fuel systems in buildings under construction.
“We have assessed green heat sources and found that the system can potentially be combined with heating systems powered by biodiesel, hydrogen and ammonia, as well as electric systems such as heat pumps, and district heating,” says Betong & Entreprenor’s project manager, Tommy Holan.
HeatWork in Narvik, a supplier of high-efficiency diesel-powered heating, has taken this seriously. They’ve developed a substation for district heating systems. The project is now ready to be tested when an opportunity arises. The same applies to their electric mobile heating plant, which will be ready for launching in the autumn of 2022.
All that remains is for the project owner to arrange supplies of electricity and district heat to the site from the outset.
Improving the quality of concrete
Used as intended, the new system raises the quality of concrete and reduces curing time. Studying and using this concept makes progress towards a sustainable future for concrete casting in Arctic climates more straightforward.
This spring, Norwegian company PEAB Bjørn Bygg AS demonstrated the concept at a quay construction project belonging to Hotel Richard With in Stokmarknes.
“We are very pleased with the process and the result after completing the construction of the quay’s deck. The method has demonstrated clear gains with regard to quality control and the progress of the project. The potential of this method for winter work on concrete structures is clearly enormous,” says Tore H. Strand, Production Manager at PEAB Bjørn Bygg.
“The fact that the precast pipes can be used as a basis for heating and drying in the subsequent building process is a clear time-saver and results in a tidier building site with less need for such things as cables and heaters. A large part of the rigging work will also be completed in an early phase of the project,” says Strand.
The system, named “VIP,” which stands for “Væskebåren varme i prefabrikkerte betongelement” (liquid-borne heat in prefabricated concrete elements), can also be useful in regions where high temperatures are a problem, since it can also transport cool liquid.