SolarWindow made headlines for their business-card thin solar coating for curved glass surfaces in late 2016, and now they’re going a step further with a new kind of flexible glass capable of generating clean energy. The firm created a super thin, bendable “glass ‘veneer’” that if applied to skyscrapers, cars, or even planes, could totally transform the way we produce and obtain solar power.
SolarWindow created the revolutionary flexible glass by applying layers of their liquid Electricity Generating Coating to Corning Willow Glass and laminating the product, simulating the temperatures and high pressures commercial producers utilize when they manufacture regular old stiff glass. This time they were able to produce what they call a veneer that’s again as thin as a business card, but can still generate electricity.
SolarWindow CEO John Conklin said in a statement, “Along with our SolarWindow liquid coatings for rigid glass, we’re excited to expand our capabilities with brand new ways of generating clean electricity on almost any surface imaginable by using flexible Corning Willow Glass. As leaders in the sector, we’re setting out a clear vision for the future with this new, innovative technology.”
SolarWindow’s vision for the glass is to refashion skyscrapers into super green “vertical power generators,” allowing buildings to generate renewable energy just by standing in the sun. But it’s not only buildings that can benefit from their new glass; as it’s bendable and flexible, the glass could be applied to cars, boats, trucks, buses, or airplanes.
The SolarWindow glass isn’t ready for the market yet, but that’s the ultimate goal. They’re developing their products under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the United States government’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and say the primary goal of a CRADA is commercialization. When the glass is finally ready, it could radically help companies and families reduce their carbon footprint.