Research project

Minimization of the cooling energy demand of non-residential buildings and transition to a flexible load by using heat pipes in combination with renewable energies

Brief description

In the research project, the energetic and economical potential is investigated regarding the use of heat pipes in combination with renewable energies for the minimization of the cooling energy demand of non-residential buildings and an appropriate transition to a flexible load. A passive heat removal shall be achieved by using heat pipes as thermal component activation. The carbon dioxide savings, resulting from the coupling of the passive cooling with further elements for the supply of the building, depend significantly on the technology and on the systems integration and therefore are a focus in the research project.

On the basis of computational fluid dynamics (CFD), the influence of a an enclosing surface (ceiling, wall, floor) on the indoor air flow, the temperature distribution and the thermal comfort in the room are evaluated. The enclosing surface is equipped with a heat pipe. In addition, the indoor air flow model is coupled with a (CSM) model for the thermal and mechanical behavior of the support structures. Thus, it is possible to investigate and to optimize the heat transport and the heat storage in support structures, depending on the indoor climate and the thermal impact of the heat pipes.

In a further model for the use of waste heat, different technologies are analyzed depending on the return flow temperatures in the condensation zone of the heat pipes. Furthermore, experimental investigations are planned for the performance test of the heat pipes, for interactions between a ceiling element and the adjacent indoor volume as well as for the parameter identification of the numerical models. On the basis of the tests, the impact of the ceiling elements on the indoor conditions and thus on the thermal comfort of the persons can be investigated. For the tests, a type room with heat pipes, integrated in the ceiling elements, is designed, built and provided with measuring equipment.



The use of component-integrated heat pipes for the passive cooling of rooms allows for a reduction of the cooling energy demand and thus for a decrease in the investment costs and operating expenses for building services. Construction companies, building owners, operating companies of buildings as well as the building users can benefit. Due to the increasing cold demand especially in non-residential buildings (e.g. office buildings or industrial buildings), there is a broad range of application with suitable heat pipes.

With this project, first practical experience can be gained with heat pipes for passive indoor cooling. Furthermore, due to the numerical investigations, a variety of application fields and configurations for the component-integrated heat pipes can be considered and their application potentials can be determined. Due to the cooperation with industrial project partners, the joint work on solutions allows both the scientific use of the findings and their fast realization in practice.


Project duration

02/2021 – 01/2024



Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, via Project Management Jülich (PtJ) under grant number 03ETW025A


Project partners

Institute for Modelling Hydraulic and Environmental Systems (IWS), University of Stuttgart, Germany
Institute of Nuclear Technology and Energy Systems (IKE), University of Stuttgart, Germany
HTWG Hochschule Konstanz, University of Applied Sciences, Konstanz, Germany
Herrenbauer & Kurz Ingenieurgesellschaft mbH, Heilbronn, Germany
MPG Wärmetechnik GmbH, Menden, Germany


This image shows Dr.-Ing. Tobias Henzler

Dr.-Ing. Tobias Henzler


Coordinator of Teaching; Team Lead

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