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PPG Earns DOE Funding to Develop Dynamically Responsive IR Window Coating

February 27, 2014

PPG Industries’ flat glass business has received $312,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to develop a dynamically responsive infrared (IR) window coating that will block heat in the summer to reduce air-conditioning costs and transmit solar heat in the winter to reduce heating costs.

The funding is part of an award of up to $750,000 being shared with project leader Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). PPG and PNNL are designing a coating that can “switch” from a solar IR-reflecting state to a solar IR-transmitting state while maintaining high levels of daylight transmittance in either condition. PPG will provide an additional $78,000 in cost-sharing.

The development of such a coating would represent a major advance compared to current thermochromic window technology, which involves coatings that darken and block visible light when exposed to high volumes of IR energy, and existing electrochromic window technology, which relies on external power sources such as electricity to balance tinting and light transmittance.

The new PPG/PNNL coating technology also has the potential to be inexpensive, which will help ensure that dynamically responsive IR windows are an economical option for use in residential and commercial retrofit applications.

Mehran Arbab, PPG director of glass science and technology, said PPG appreciates the DOE’s continuing support of its work to investigate cutting-edge energy-efficient glass and window technologies. “PPG’s glass business is tightly focused on energy-efficiency research and development for windows and more,” he said. “Not only is it a market driver for our company, we believe it is simply the right thing to do.”

The two-year project is designed to develop dynamically responsive IR window coatings on a laboratory scale. If development is successful, the product could be scaled up and potentially commercialized within several years. PPG also collaborated recently with PNNL to develop and study waste-heat recovery technologies to save energy in the glass manufacturing process.

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