Advanced carbon reinforced concrete technologies for façade elements of nearly zero-energy buildings

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleInvitedpeer-review



The building sector accounts for approx. 40% of total energy consumption and approx. 36% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Europe. As the EU climate targets for 2030 call for a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by more than half compared to the emissions of 1990 and also aim for climate neutrality by 2050, there is an urgent need to achieve a significant decrease in the energy use in buildings towards Nearly Zero-Energy Buildings (nZEBs). As the energy footprint of buildings includes the energy and greenhouse gas consumption both in the construction phase and during service life, nZEB solutions have to provide energy-efficient and less carbon-intensive building materials, specific thermal insulation solutions, and a corresponding design of the nZEB. Carbon reinforced concrete (CRC) materials have proven to be excellent candidate materials for concrete-based nZEBs since they are characterized by a significantly lower CO2 consumption during component production and much a longer lifecycle. The corresponding CRC technology has been successively implemented in the last two decades and first pure CRC-based buildings are currently being built. This article presents a novel material system that combines CRC technology and suitable multifunctional insulation materials as a sandwich system in order to meet future nZEB requirements. Because of its importance for the life cycle stage of production, cost-efficient carbon fibers (CF) from renewable resources like lignin are used as reinforcing material, and reinforcement systems based on such CF are developed. Cutting edge approaches to produce ultra-thin lightweight CF reinforced concrete panels are discussed with regard to their nZEB relevance. For the life cycle stage of the utilization phase, the thermal insulation properties of core materials are optimized. In this context, novel sandwich composites with thin CRC layers and a cellular lightweight concrete core are proposed as a promising solution for façade elements as the sandwich core can additionally be combined with an aerogel-based insulation. The concepts to realize such sandwich façade elements will be described here along with a fully automated manufacturing process to produce such structures. The findings of this study provide clear evidence on the promising capabilities of the CRC technology for nZEBs on the one hand and on the necessity for further research on optimizing the energy footprint of CRC-based structural elements on the other hand.


Original languageEnglish
Article number1619
Number of pages19
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 Feb 2022

External IDs

Mendeley f9a1b494-0d92-3d2c-8111-bda0c9e2dc99
Scopus 85125189619
ORCID /0000-0002-1596-7164/work/111044137



  • Carbon fibres, Carbon reinforced concrete, Concrete, Manufacturing, NZEB, Resource efficiency