David Abram (PhD, ChemE) and Toby Sachs-Quintana (PhD, MatSci), with Prof. Michael McGehee (MatSci).
NexTint invented an inexpensive film for windows that can be lightened or darkened by a small electric current. This electrochromic effect can save on air conditioning when the sun is strong. Modern houses and office buildings typically have many large windows, so the market for this is large. The standard solutions—reflective windows or glass embedded with electrochromic chemicals—are very expensive. Toby Sachs-Quintana and David Abram figured that applying the films to windows for controllable tinting would cost a small fraction of retrofitting with embedded electrochromic glass.
The team's Innovation Transfer grant enabled them to work on a large prototype, demonstrate their product’s long-term stability, contact initial customers, and talk with companies like Kodak Corp. about manufacturing. NexTint built on the TomKat support by winning a small business innovation research grant from the National Science Foundation, the second-place prize in the 2015 First Look West (FLOW) competiton, and the energy-efficiency prize at the MIT Clean Energy Prize competition.
“If we retrofitted just 3 percent of all windows in the United States,” said Sachs-Quintana, “that would be a $40-billion business.”
Read the Innovation Spotlight about NexTint