SBIR Phase I: Manufacturing Low-Cost Metal-to-Glass Seals for Insulating Glazing
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
W265 N3011 Peterson Drive, Pewaukee, WI, 53072-4431
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) phase I aims to demonstrate the feasibility of constructing a novel machine for manufacturing low-cost glass-to-metal seals for insulating window glazing. Applications include vacuum glazing which insulates as well as a wall (R11 to R20), representing a major improvement in window technology. It will also provide an opportunity to improve existing window technology. The one remaining barrier to economic viability is a low-cost process to metallize the perimeter edges of glass panes. The current state of the art requires a vacuum chamber large enough to hold glass as large as 2 meters x 3 meters. The large chamber and associated vacuum pumps are capital- and operating-cost intensive, largely wasted on smaller panes. This project involves building and operating an innovative vacuum deposition device which can metalize the edges of glass panes of virtually any size. The capital cost and operating cost of this device will scale up based on pane perimeter, not pane area. The proposed activity will leverage accumulated knowledge in plasma-aided manufacturing, and advance it, to overcome longstanding technical barriers to provide a major advance in glazing technology. It will improve the understanding of how closely vacuum glazing approaches its potential. The commercial potential of this project will be accrue primarily to the retrofitting of residential buildings. By 2050, if 2 trillion square feet of glazing can be retrofitted with this technology, the avoided energy loss would amount to 12% of residential heating and cooling energy, or 1% of U.S. energy use. Avoided greenhouse gas emissions for the entire U.S. would also be 1%.This project arises from the goal of achieving cost parity, that is, vacuum windows that cost no more to manufacture than conventional argon-filled Insulating Glass units. If cost parity is achieved, the avoided costs of drilling natural gas wells equivalent to this energy savings will more than pay for the required installed glazing capacity. Successful development of this machine will lead to achieving cost parity, enabling rapid market penetration through retrofit of existing buildings as well as new construction.
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