Merck, Polysolar, CPI Partner on Smart Windows
DARMSTADT, Germany, March 24, 2016 — Merck KGaA has announced an Innovate U.K. collaboration with Polysolar, a building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) producer, and the Centre for Processing Innovation (CPI) to enable windows of the future to generate their own solar power, as well as provide greater thermal control.
The project addresses the construction industry’s need for “zero carbon buildings” by developing a transparent BIPV window capable of both generating power and controlling temperature. The commercialization of such a device will reduce building energy costs while offering architects greater freedom in structural design, Merck said.
Transparent solar glazing panels are easy to install in conventional framing, making them ideal also for surface applications such as windows, skylights, facades and roofing. Organic photovoltaics (OPV) is adaptable, lightweight, transparent and low-cost.
The project builds upon the partners’ existing early-stage research to develop a commercially viable power-generating window at demonstration scale based on organic photovoltaic technology. An upgraded version of the recently launched semitransparent gray-colored lisicon formulation from Merck is a key element that will be further improved to help take this technology from a prototype to the market, the companies said.
The OPV window demonstrator will seek to achieve similar installation costs, transparency, performance and lifetime to that of high-performance glazing currently used in industry, while delivering energy yields comparable to those obtained by conventional photovoltaics in a vertical orientation.
“The output of the project will be to produce large-scale organic photovoltaic devices using sustainable, low-cost manufacturing processes. Once concluded, the project will provide the industry with the required lifetimes, dimensions and price points needed to evaluate how to take this emerging technology to market,” said Dave Barwick, principal scientist at CPI.