Ubiquitous Energy, a next-generation technology company developing transparent solar technology for architectural glass, has successfully demonstrated 1.5-meter-wide glass coated uniformly with the company’s UE Power transparent solar materials.
The company says this achievement shows the ability to scale UE Power to large sizes uniformly, which is critical in achieving high-performing solar devices while maintaining the aesthetics and function of traditional low-emissivity window glass. The company’s upcoming high-volume manufacturing line will produce 1.5×3-meter, floor-to-ceiling, transparent solar windows.
UE Power is a transparent solar glass coating technology that is manufactured using vacuum physical vapor deposition (PVD), the same equipment used by manufacturers to coat architectural glass today. UE Power organic semiconductor materials were deposited in a full-size PVD prototype coater, showing near-perfect uniformity within 1-2% tolerance over 1.5-meter-wide glass for coatings that are tens of nanometers thick.
“Achieving this milestone prepares us well as we move our transparent solar technology from the pilot phase into full-scale manufacturing,” says Miles Barr, Ubiquitous Energy’s co-founder and CTO. “Architectural glass isn’t actually flat; it’s slightly wavy. For this reason, achieving highly uniform, defect-free thin film electronics like transparent solar over large glass sheets has historically been difficult by other methods like solution printing.”
“Well-established PVD coating technology gives us tight control over thickness and optical appearance of our transparent solar organic semiconductor materials and allows us to piggyback on the equipment and process controls that has been enjoyed by the architectural glass industry for decades,” adds Barr.
The prototype coater will now be replicated for the deposition of transparent solar materials in the company’s first high-volume U.S. manufacturing line, which is expected to be operational in 2024. Each 1.5×3-meter piece of UE Power glass could generate up to 1 kWh of electricity every day.