The Solar-Biomass Reversible project

Find out about SolBio-Rev: a renewable energy system integrated at the building scale.


The core objective of this project is to reduce the primary energy consumption of the whole building sector across the EU, with funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020. The aim is to develop a configuration that uses a combination of promising renewable energy technologies – solar, ambient and bioenergy – and, at the core, an innovative heat pump-based configuration, for heating, cooling and electricity that could reduce dependency on fossil fuels and lower C02 emissions, which will aid EU energy security. The system aims to cover a very high energy share in a variety of buildings in a cost-effective manner, and at the same time secure the needs of the users.


This project consists of three phases spread over 48 months.

  • Phase 1: Innovative components, configuration and control development
  • Phase 2: Prototype systems design, production, and commissioning
  • Phase 3: Prototype systems testing and technology validation

SPRU will be taking the lead in the social science research component, carrying out qualitative research into the perceptions and acceptance of existing renewable energy systems, as well as future acceptance/perceptions of the SolBio-Rev concept.

Case studies and in-depth interviews with various stakeholders groups will be supported with web-based surveys, the outcomes of which will help to gain a better understanding of user and installer needs and requirements, and input to the development and design process.

Impact and outreach

The SolBio-Rev solution could result in a reduction of the dependence on fossil fuels by up to 70%. On top of this, the technologies developed will have a lifetime expectancy of at least 20, potentially up to 40 years, creating a long lasting effect. Moreover, SolBio-Rev’s materials and components will be chosen to maximise their (re-)useability or recyclability, contributing to the circular economy.

Along with this, the SolBio-Rev solution could reduce air pollutants emitted for heating (e.g. from gas/oil boilers) and for electricity production (e.g. from power plants), including cooling production. The air pollutants from biomass will be minimised due to its high combustion efficiency and exhaust gas recirculation operation. A similar study for CO2 emissions has been also conducted. The calculations show that the SolBio-Rev could reduce these emissions by about 70%.


The key personnel involved in this project are Dr Mari Martiskainen, Mr Donal Brown, and Dr Paula Kivimaa all based in SPRU.


See the SolBio website for more information on the project.