Energy / Climate Change

August 31, 2006


'Smart Glass' Technology Moving toward Commercialization

Keywords: Environmental Technology Government Renewable Energy University / Research institute 

"Smart glass" technology is now in the process of commercialization in Japan. On October 27, 2004, the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) announced the development of new glass that can automatically control the transmission of solar energy according to the temperature of the surrounding environment. In May 2005, AIST launched a joint research with Nippon Sheet Glass Co. (NSG) to put this technology into practical use. By enlarging the size of the 25-square millimeter prototype, the research team aims to produce commercially viable window glass for residential use.
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The glass developed by AIST has a multilayer thin-film structure, with semiconducting, photocatalytic and other materials coated on the surface. The automatic adjusting of the transmission of solar energy was achieved by using thin films having optical properties that vary with temperature. The glass always transmits visible light, while blocking most of the ultraviolet light. For near-infrared radiation, which makes people feel warm, the glass automatically controls its transmission in response to changes in outside temperature. Due to high levels of far-infrared reflectance, the glass also provides thermal insulation.

Meeting the growing demand for energy-saving window glass, a variety of insulating glass products, e.g., multiple glazing or vacuum glazing units, have come onto the market, contributing to reductions in air-conditioning loads during summer and winter. These products are designed to reduce heat transfer between the inside and outside of a building. The newly developed glass, in contrast, automatically controls the amount of incoming solar energy. The combination of this functionality and high insulation properties is expected to achieve much higher energy-saving performance.

AIST and NSG aim to start selling new residential glass at prices competitive with conventional energy-saving glass by 2008.
- AIST Develops Next-generation Multifunctional Window Glass (Related JFS article)

Posted: 2006/08/31 06:45:29 AM
Japanese version