Generating Electricity with a Flexible Glass Thinner than a Business Card
Colin Payne posted on February 01, 2017 | 3792 views
Corning’s Willow Glass is a key to SolarWindow’s bendable solar energy technology.
Corning’s Willow Glass is a key to SolarWindow’s bendable solar energy technology. (Image courtesy SolarWindow Technologies.)

SolarWindow Technologies recently announced plans to develop a transparent electricity-generating glass that’s as flexible as a business card for application to flat and curved surfaces.

The flexible glass comes as an addition to SolarWindow’s liquid solar coatings for rigid glass. The glass has been independently validated to generate 50 times the power of a conventional rooftop solar, providing a one-year payback when modeled on a 50-storey

building.

SolarWindow’s scientists developed the new flexible glass product by applying layers of liquid coatings to Corning’s Willow Glass and then laminating them under conditions that simulated the high pressure and temperatures of the manufacturing processes used by commercial glass and window producers.

What they created is a “bendable glass ‘veneer’”.


SolarWindow’s liquid coating can turn glass surfaces into transparent solar power generators. (Image courtesy SolarWindow Technologies.)
SolarWindow’s liquid coating can turn glass surfaces into transparent solar power generators. (Image courtesy SolarWindow Technologies.)

Potential uses for a product like this are seemingly endless, but SolarWindow sees them as particularly well-suited for installation over existing skyscraper windows – a process that effectively would turn these buildings into massive vertical solar power generators, greatly reducing their carbon footprint.

The same veneers could be applied to cars, trucks, buses, planes and boats to turn them into mobile power generators.

“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,” said SolarWindow president and CEO, John Conklin.

The company is developing their products in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement.

“While generating electricity on flexible glass presents obvious commercial opportunities, this approach is especially attractive to high-speed roll-to-roll manufacturing for maximizing output while lowering production costs,” said Dr. Maikel van Hest, a senior scientist in the Thin Film Material Science and Processing Group within the Material Science Center at NREL.

Check out SolarWindow’s website to learn more about their solar glass technology.

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