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Researchers develop SolarWindow with faster, rapid scale-up process for applying solution-based coatings

Published December 13, 2011
New Energy Technologies announced that researchers developing SolarWindow, capable of generating electricity on see-through glass, have successfully fabricated its latest working window prototype using a faster, rapid scale-up process for applying solution-based coatings. The prospect of rapidly scaling up the size of SolarWindow while applying the company's electricity-generating coatings onto glass at faster speeds, are important technical advancements in New Energy's drive to aggressively advance the world's first-of-its-kind technology towards commercial launch said the company.

"Today's faster and improved scale-up application breakthrough marks a significant leap forward in our SolarWindow evolution from advanced research towards commercial product development," said John Conklin, president and CEO of New Energy Technologies, Inc.

"Importantly, this new and improved processing method still allows for the application of our novel electricity-generating coatings to be applied at room temperature and pressure," said Conklin. "We're not at the mercy of cumbersome and expensive temperature and pressure sensitive systems often utilized in the manufacture of conventional and thin-film solar photovoltaic products."

Among other commercial considerations, researchers developing New Energy's SolarWindow have been vigilant in their efforts to improve transparency and keep manufacturing costs low. For example, last year, scientists undertaking advanced SolarWindow research achieved the ability to 'spray' the company's electricity-generating coatings onto glass—also, at room temperature and pressure.

The new solution-coating method provides an alternative to spray and allows for rapid scale-up to larger glass surface areas. This improved process also generally provides for more uniform application of SolarWindow electricity-generating coatings than conventional methods.

Notably, the company's new solution-coating technique has already been demonstrated as compatible with roll-to-roll (R2R) high-speed and high-volume fabrication methods, potentially providing for very-large scale manufacturing. Compared to manufacturing of first-generation solar products, room temperature and ambient pressure R2R manufacturing promises: low labor costs; decreased capital equipment expenditure; higher product quality, reduced cost of energy required for production; and improved environmental and occupational control.

Critical to successful R2R manufacturing is the ability to apply coatings onto flexible substrate materials. Earlier this year, New Energy researchers successfully applied the Company's electricity-generating coatings onto flexible plastic (PET) - an important technical achievement necessary for the development of electricity-generating window films. Scientists anticipate that commercially developed electricity-generating flexible plastic could be deployed as tinted window film, which remains see-through while generating electrical power.

Currently under development for eventual commercial deployment 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.

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