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. This demonstration shows the ability of UE Power to be scaled uniformly to large sizes. This is critical for achieving high-performing devices while maintaining the aesthetics, function, and beauty of traditional low emissivity window glasses. 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 coating technology for solar glass. It is produced using vacuum physical vapordeposition (PVD), the same equipment used today to coat architectural glasses. UE Power organic semiconductor materials were deposited using a full-size prototype PVD coater. This allowed for near-perfect uniformity with a tolerance of 1-2% over 1.5-meters wide glass, which allows for coatings up to tens or hundreds 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.