HomeNewsKick-off for the international research project FLUIDGLASS

Kick-off for the international research project FLUIDGLASS

Both a transparent solar collector and an innovative indoor air conditioning system – with the support of the European Commission, the FLUIDGLASS research project of the University of Liechtenstein is on the point of making an international breakthrough.

From the window to the intelligent façade

Both a transparent solar collector and an innovative indoor air conditioning system – with the support of the European Commission, the FLUIDGLASS research project of the University of Liechtenstein is on the point of making an international breakthrough.

It has the potential to revolutionise architecture and building utilities in a sustainable sense. FLUIDGLASS transforms passive glass façades into active, transparent solar collectors while at the same time regulating the flow of energy in the shell of the building. All this means very much greater comfort for the user. In comparison with other façade elements, FLUIDGLASS is notable for its neutral appearance, giving architects and planners a wide latitude of design. With financial support from the EU, the prototype should now be ready for launching on the market.

FLUIDGLASS-prototype at the TU München

The principle

Heating, cooling and shading are all provided by just one structural element – a glass façade incorporating liquid. The microparticles which are added to the water in keeping with current requirements absorb solar radiation in summer, and so reduce cooling needs in the interior significantly. In the transitional period, the circulating liquid transfers the heat it absorbs with systematic efficiency. And in winter, the transparent façade makes the best possible use of solar energy by functioning as a hot water carrier. The façade then heats the interior of the building, replacing the conventional radiator.

Summer, day

Summer, night
Transitional period

Winter, day

Further details about the principle

The inventor of this future-oriented façade system is Professor Dietrich Schwarz of the Institute of Architecture and Spatial Development at the University of Liechtenstein. ‘By contrast with traditional glazed fronts, FLUIDGLASS makes it possible for both the outer layer and the interior to be optically and thermally controlled. In effect, the entire window functions either as a radiator or as a cooling device. This raises the comfort level of the room and at the same time reduces the need of artificial lighting.’

Klaus Näscher, Rector of the University of Liechtenstein, Initiator Dipl.-Arch. Dietrich Schwarz and Dr. Erich Nägele of the European Commission.

The system makes the entire building more efficient. When used in building renovations it can result in energy savings of 50 to 70 percent, or 20 to 30 percent in the new build of low energy houses.

A European project  

As well as internationally successful industrial companies, other organisations contributing to the development of FLUIDGLASS include the Buchs NTB Interstate University of Applied Sciences in Switzerland, the Technical University of Munich and the University of Stuttgart in Germany and the National Institute of Solar Energy in Chambéry, France.

Representatives of the 11 project partners:  

ALCOA, Amires, CEA-INES, Cyprus Research and Innovation Center (CyRIC), GLASSX, Hoval, ILEK/University of Stuttgart, MGT, Buchs NTB Interstate University of Applied Sciences, the Technical University of Munich 

and University of Liechtenstein.


Klaus Näscher, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liechtenstein, comments: ‘FLUIDGLASS is an opportunity for the university and for the entire Rhine valley as a research theatre. As a result of our partnership with highly regarded European research institutes and our role as the initiator and director of the FLUIDGLASS project, we have the chance of positioning ourselves as a crucial centre of expertise in the professional world.’

Frank Heeb, Leiter der Abteilung Technologie/Innovation und Energie, Amt für Volkswirtschaft Liechtenstein, Klaus Näscher, Rektor der Universität Liechtenstein, Initiator Dipl.-Arch. Dietrich Schwarz und Dr. Erich Nägele von der Europäischen Kommision.

Based on its Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technical Development, the support of the EU testifies to the future prospects and significance of the Liechtenstein project. Speaking for the European Commission, Dr Erich Naegele justified the subsidy awarded to the university in the following terms: ‘This project presents new and innovative solutions which can make a significant difference to the comfort and energy performance of a building. The mix of research institutes, small to medium businesses and industrial specialists is outstanding. We are confident that the project will meet with considerable interest in European industrial and architectural circles.’ In this case, the words were immediately backed up by deeds. The university’s application has been granted to the full amount, with a subsidy amounting to more than 3.8 million euros.

Further information

European Commission  and University of Liechtenstein