“We are very excited to develop new products based on Sandia’s advanced research; products that will have significant impact in a variety of markets, and benefit the environment.”

William Kurtz President and COO IR Dynamics, LLC

CHALLENGE

According to the DOE, doubling the efficiency of single-pane windows can save roughly the amount of energy needed to power 32 million U.S. homes for a year. The associated investments in energy efficient window films could return about $12 billion/year to energy consumers. Yet this would require breakthrough thermal management materials that are low-cost and easy to apply.

COLLABORATION

The Materials Science Center and Physical, Chemical and Nano Science Center at Sandia National Laboratories are working with IR Dynamics (IRD) on thermochromic materials. Together, they’re developing nanoparticles that are tunable and triggered by the environment. These nanomaterials transition to let the heat through when it’s cold outside and reflect heat when it’s warm. The technology can be incorporated into a variety of products where controlling solar heat gain and infrared reflectivity is a significant advantage.

IRD brings industry experience to the partnership, particularly with energy efficient products for the building industry. Sandia brings experience in materials science and the physics of optical materials. The company is now licensing two technologies from Sandia and has developed joint intellectual property with the Labs.

SOLUTION

After working with Sandia under two New Mexico Business Assistance (NMSBA) Program projects to test the feasibility of creating products based on thermally dynamic materials invented at the Labs, work continues under a CRADA to further develop these materials for applications including window films, architectural membranes, and performance clothing. For windows, this new technology may double the energy efficiency of single pane glass. The new window film contains technologies developed at Sandia, including thermochromic pigments which reject >50% of infrared radiation above 85°F.

IMPACT

IRD was awarded $1.95 million from the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) in 2016 to fund further development of the window film application of the nanomaterial technology. Currently the company is raising $2 million in A-round funding and building out new offices and laboratories in Albuquerque, NM.

Madico, one of the largest providers of window films worldwide, is working with IRD to develop window film products and laminated ETFE structural film (an architectural membrane). The company also has a joint development agreement with HeiQ, a fabric finishing company that provides modified performance materials to major apparel brands.

This partnership between Sandia and IRD can help improve the performance of products in industries from apparel to aerospace, and increase energy efficiency in structures from greenhouses to skyscrapers by bringing new technology to market.

PARTNERSHIP TYPE: Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CR ADA) and Licenses

GOAL: Developing thermally dynamic materials that will be incorporated into new energy-saving products for individuals and industry