STTR Phase I: Nano-sphere Modified Fibers for Super Insulating Window Coverings

Award Information
National Science Foundation
Award Year:
Phase I
Agency Tracking Number:
Solicitation Year:
Solicitation Topic Code:
Solicitation Number:
Small Business Information
The Mackinac Technology Center
1763 Watermark Drive SE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49546
Hubzone Owned:
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
Woman Owned:
Principal Investigator:
John Slagter
(616) 915-5715
Business Contact:
John Slagter
(616) 915-5715
Research Institution:
Fraunhofer USA, Ctr for Coatings & Laser Applications
Thomas Schuelke
B100 Engineering Research Complex
East Lansing, MI, 48824 1226
(517) 432-8173
Federally funded R&D center (FFRDC)
This award is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). This Small Business Technology Transfer Phase I project will demonstrate the effectiveness of a new window insulation technology with thermal performance properties comparable to a well insulated wall. In the United States, buildings account for more than 40% of total energy consumption. Because windows are between 20-40% of the vertical surface area of an average building, they consume 30-60% of heating and cooling energy, representing an annual impact of more than 4.1 quadrillion BTU of primary energy, costing building owners over $40 billion/year. Our innovation is to use nanometer sized spherically shaped silica particles attached to glass fibers to create an insulation material with extremely small points of contact that can be used to make thin vacuum insulation panels. This Phase I project will determine the feasibility of incorporating these nanoparticle-modified fibers into innovative Multilayer Vacuum Insulation Panels to achieve target thermal insulation properties in a commercially viable, dynamic window covering. This technology will exceed the US DOE's target window insulation properties in a commercially viable product that will serve as a cost effective solution for net-zero energy new construction as well as a retrofit product to improve the energy efficiency of existing buildings. By facilitating the development and commercialization of a product that will substantially reduce unwanted heat transfer through fenestration, the research in this Phase I STTR project will contribute a partial solution to global energy and environmental challenges. The development of new core materials for vacuum insulation panels offers enormous opportunities for the improvement of the energy efficiency of buildings while also contributing a substantial financial savings over time. The educational impact of this research will be significant on two levels: 1) a substantial amount of the work will be performed by students under the direct supervision of recognized experts and 2) the research will significantly advance the state of the art in thermal insulation technology.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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