PARC, A Xerox company, announced it is currently negotiating a $3 million award from the Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) as part of the organization’s Single-Pane Highly Insulating Efficient Lucid Design (SHIELD) program. For this project, PARC is partnering with Blueshift and Pilkington North America to develop an innovative window coating that significantly improves the energy efficiency of existing single-pane windows in commercial and residential buildings.
“The SHIELD program illustrates ARPA-E’s commitment to supporting transformational technologies,” said ARPA-E Director Dr. Ellen D. Williams in the agency’s announcement of program awardees. “By creating novel materials to retrofit existing single-pane windows, SHIELD technologies can dramatically improve building efficiency and save energy costs for building owners and occupants.”
Under the SHIELD Program, PARC is developing a new windowpane that incorporates a transparent aerogel polymer material to prevent thermal losses. PARC’s aerogel exhibits lower thermal conductivity and greater mechanical flexibility than silica aerogels. As part of the project, PARC partner Blueshift, manufacturer of award-winning polyimide aerogels in roll-to-roll format, will develop a pilot roll-to-roll manufacturing process demonstrating the ability to produce aerogel at sizes relevant to windowpanes. The new windowpane will be of similar weight and thickness as existing single panes and could replace existing windowpanes in single-pane units. Pilkington North America, a leading manufacturer of architectural glazings, will perform extensive windowpane testing.
“Aerogels have been around for several decades, and their thermal insulation properties are outstanding, but their integration into windowpanes is problematic because of visual appearance and weak mechanical robustness,” said Quentin Van Overmeere, PARC’s principal investigator on the project. “PARC’s polymer aerogel technology will overcome these drawbacks to enable single pane window retrofits and other high-performance insulation applications.”
The need for innovation in the cleantech space is critical, driven by factors like climate change, global population growth, improving lifestyles in the developing world, and commodity shortages. Starting in 2000, PARC’s cleantech innovation program has focused on delivering scalable, cost-effective solutions that draw on a unique combination of multi-disciplinary competencies and technologies. PARC is diligently working on a wide range of initiatives, from energy storage to energy efficiency and renewable energy. For more information, please visit the PARC cleantech innovation website.
Technologies created through the SHIELD program seek to cut in half the amount of heat lost through single-pane windows in cold weather. These materials would improve insulation, reduce cold weather condensation, and enhance occupant comfort. The technologies could also produce secondary benefits, such as improved soundproofing, that will make retrofits more desirable to building occupants and owners. The program focuses on three technical categories: products that can be applied onto existing windowpanes; manufactured windowpanes that can be installed into the existing window sash that holds the windowpane in place; and other early-stage, highly innovative technologies that can enable products in the first two technical categories.
PARC, A Xerox company, is in the Business of Breakthroughs®. Practicing open innovation, we provide custom R&D services, technology, expertise, best practices, and intellectual property to Fortune 500 and Global 1000 companies, startups, and government agencies and partners. We create new business options, accelerate time to market, augment internal capabilities, and reduce risk for our clients. Since its inception, PARC has pioneered many technology platforms – from the Ethernet and laser printing to the GUI and ubiquitous computing – and has enabled the creation of many industries. Incorporated as an independent, wholly owned subsidiary of Xerox in 2002, PARC today continues the research that enables breakthroughs for our clients' businesses.