Lead Performer: V-Glass LCC – Pewaukee, WI
DOE Total Funding: $1,007,593
Project Term: August 27, 2018 – August 26, 2020
Funding Type: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II Release 2

Project Objective

The project objectives are 1) to construct a prototype R-10 capable foil-sealed vacuum insulating glass unit for windows, 2) demonstrate its potential for 50-year life, and 3) demonstrate its potential to reduce commercial-scale manufacturing cost below that of dual-pane glazing. This project builds off a successful Phase 1 project, where the team developed advanced “spacerettes” for maintaining the gap between glass panes. During Phase I, an optimized design for a vacuum window incorporating such spacerettes was developed, using a state-of-the-art model integrating both heat loss and contact stress. The model indicated that whole window performance exceeding R-10 (Imperial units) is achievable using not only tempered glass (done before) but also annealed glass (a first). This Phase II project intends to validate the model prediction by building the first R-10 capable vacuum insulating glass unit using an innovative cold-welding technique to produce metal-to-glass seals. The use of a manufacturing process that is entirely “oven-free” will enable substantially reduced cycle time, with the potential to lower manufacturing cost below that of conventional dual pane glazing.

Project Impact

Vacuum glass, a flat thermos bottle for windows, can enable the production of an R-10 window, three times more efficient than the ENERGY STAR® standard, and marketable without incentives. This project will position the U.S. at the forefront in a global market totaling more than $40 billion per year. This is high-risk, high-reward research. If successful, the impact of this project is significant since it could develop a highly insulating vacuum glass unit that is cost-effective and thin enough to fit all existing frames with minimal impacts and cost increases. Full deployment in the U.S. would save 2% of the country’s entire energy use, more than twice the amount of solar energy produced in 2017.

Contacts

DOE Technology Manager: Marc LaFrance
Lead Performer: Peter Petit, V-Glass LLC