COLUMBIA, USA: New Energy Technologies Inc. announced that researchers developing its SolarWindow technology, capable of generating electricity on see-through glass, have now successfully generated electricity on flexible plastic using the company's 'spray-on' coating methods - an important technical achievement necessary for the development of electricity-generating window films.
"Today's breakthrough supports a brand new commercial application for our core SolarWindow technology and is the direct result of numerous patent-pending methods, materials, and processes we have worked hard to invent and develop," explained John A. Conklin, president and CEO of New Energy Technologies.
"These important technology breakthroughs have already resulted in a successful public demonstration last year of our SolarWindow application on glass, able to generate electricity while remaining see-through. Since then, New Energy's product development group has worked aggressively to advance our SolarWindow application for glass windows towards commercial manufacturability. Concurrently, our research scientists have been working to create new and exciting SolarWindow products which reach beyond glass. The result is today's announcement regarding our ability to generate electricity on flexible plastics."
Scientists anticipate that commercially developed electricity-generating flexible plastic could be deployed as tinted window film, which remains see-through while generating electrical power. Traditionally, the prospect of creating see-through flexible plastic which generates electricity has been limited by numerous technical challenges, including the need for cumbersome temperature-specific, pressure sensitive, and expensive process methods for applying coatings to plastic surfaces.
New Energy researchers achieved today's breakthrough by spraying the company's electricity-generating coatings onto flexible, lightweight lab-scale plastic (polyethylene terephthalate or PET) at room temperature and at low pressure, which may result in reduced manufacturing costs. While developing the first working PET prototype, researchers also overcame conventional issues with surface preparation, considered vital to achieving maximum strength of the coatings' bond to the surface, and for optimizing product durability and lifespan.
Notably, researchers were able to maintain the working 'architecture' of New Energy's SolarWindow while achieving flexibility. The SolarWindow architecture enables various important functions such as generating electricity on the surface of plastic and distributing electricity to the circuit.
Currently under development for eventual commercial deployment in the estimated 85 million commercial buildings and homes in America, SolarWindow is the subject of ten new patent filings and is the world's first-of-its-kind technology capable of generating electricity on see-through glass windows.