The Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer’s (FLC) Mid-Continent Region recently recognized the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and its partners with three awards for excellence in technology transfer.
Innovalight Silicon Ink Process
Silicon Ink Boosts Quality and Cost Savings. NREL’s Photovoltaic (PV) Technology Incubator, created by DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Program, focuses on developing prototype PV components and systems and reducing market barriers for 2012 commercialization. Under the incubator program, NREL scientists teamed with Innovalight, Inc., to adapt Silicon Ink, a liquid form of silicon, and develop its use in solar cells.
This marks the first time that silicon has been sold as a liquid. The new product can boost the bottom line of a typical solar production plant by 20 percent, which for an average-size factory is $100 million. It also can boost the efficiency of the cells by 6 percent. Five of the world's leading solar cell producers have signed licenses to use Silicon Ink in their production lines. Innovalight Silicon Ink was recently named among this year’s most significant innovations by R&D Magazine with the prestigious 2011 R&D 100 Award.
NREL’s electrochromic window technology stands apart from other window options by reflecting sunlight, reducing heat gain, and ultimately keeping buildings cooler. The technology inspired entrepreneur Loren Burnett to form a new company called US e-Chromic, LLC, in Boulder, Colorado to further advance the technology. As licensing discussions progressed with Burnett, an opportunity arose that the new project fit perfectly — The Department of Energy's America's Next Top Energy Innovator program.
The America's Next Top Energy Innovator program allowed NREL to give Burnett a reduced price on an option agreement for the electrochromic technologies and helped reduce paperwork. Within a month, the deal was closed. It was the first in the country under the new DOE program. This innovative technology transfer drew attention from the White House. Vice President Joe Biden announced the finalized e-Chromic agreement during a May visit at NREL.
Watch the 2 minute explanation of electrochromic windows on YouTube: