Small Business Technology Transfer Program Provides Seed Funding for R&D
Andluca Technologies has been awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) grant for $225,000 to conduct research and development (R&D) work on its transparent photovoltaic technology that selectively absorbs near-ultraviolet (NUV) light - energy that is otherwise wasted - and efficiently converts it into high-voltage power.
Energy use in buildings represents roughly 40% of US energy demand, with inefficient glass facades a key culprit of building inefficiency and occupant discomfort. Transparent NUV solar cells have the ability to provide local power to IoT devices/sensors by transforming everyday objects such as windows, walls, and doors into power-generating surfaces – uniquely, without altering their appearance.
It is projected that over half the buildings that will be in use in 2050 are already built. Retrofitting existing buildings with dynamic smart windows that include solar cells harvesting NUV photons also satisfies the unmet need of powering smart windows within the same form factor monolithically without competing for visible or near-infrared photons that the windows seek to regulate or imposing design constraints on window aesthetics. This will streamline smart window retrofitting by obviating the need for external wiring and associated labor, thereby catalyzing widespread deployment of smart windows in existing buildings – a $7.3B market for just existing office buildings.
This Phase I project aims to explore second-generation materials and devices having key properties necessary to achieve a manufacturable transparent NUV solar cell. These elements include: 1) developing second-generation active layers having improved visible and near-infrared light transparency, 2) improving wavelength-specific power conversion efficiency in the near-ultraviolet, and 3) identifying complementary transparent anode and cathode layers that result in NUV solar cells with best-in-class visible transmittance and color neutrality metrics. These breakthroughs will allow for facile integration of NUV solar cells with smart windows for wireless operation, enabling intelligent management of the solar spectrum, with NUV photons powering the regulation of visible and near-infrared photons for natural lighting and heating purposes.
“The National Science Foundation supports small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts,” said Barry Johnson, Director of the NSF’s Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships. “We hope that this seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology.”
Once a small business is awarded a Phase I SBIR/STTR grant (up to $225,000), it becomes eligible to apply for a Phase II grant (up to $1,000,000). Small businesses with Phase II grants are eligible to receive up to $500,000 in additional matching funds with qualifying third-party investment or sales.
About Andluca Technologies, Inc.:
Andluca, a Princeton University spin-out, has developed UV-solar-powered smart glass for improving the energy efficiency of buildings. Andluca’s patented technologies can reduce building energy use by up to 40% while significantly enhancing occupant comfort and productivity. Unlike available wired smart glass products – which require major renovation and installation by an electrician – Andluca’s wireless smart glass can be installed quickly and non-disruptively.
About the National Science Foundation's Small Business Programs: America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF awards $200 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.5 million in non-dilutive funds to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $7.8 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.
To learn more about America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF, visit: https://seedfund.nsf.gov/
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