Making Smart Glass Even Smarter
Crown Electrokinetics is a technology manufacturing company poised to disrupt the $10B smart-glass industry. Using pigment-based film called DynamicTint™, their product allows a glass surface to transition between clear and dark in seconds without external power.
In 2007 Hewlett-Packard, a company renown for innovation, began the development of electrokinetic technology with electronic inks. The technology showed great promise, however, it didn’t fit within any of the company’s existing business units. So after nearly a decade of development, HP sold the business including the IP, Research and Development lab, and the engineering team spearheading the project to Crown Electrokinetics.
The executive team at Crown was convinced electrokinetic inks were a disruptive technology that could finally make smart glass easy to install and affordable with greatly improved performance. So they went to work.
Partnering with leading thin film producers, glass manufacturers, and real estate companies, Crown Electrokinetics was quickly able to create prototypes, deploy them in existing commercial real estate properties, and prove the concept.
Dubbed DynamicTint, this revolutionary product sandwiches electrokinetic ink solution between two thin film layers with a transparent conductor. When ultra-low voltage is applied to the conductor it activates nanoparticles suspended in the ink to change it from clear to tinted. Energy usage is so low (.01 W/M2) each panel can be powered by small solar strip applied to the unit. This eliminates the need to hard wire each window which simplifies installation on new construction and makes it possible to retrofit existing windows with DynamicTint.
Crown has 10 patents and seven applications in place providing Global protection preventing competitors from making, using, or selling electrokinetic technology.
In addition to easier and less expensive installation, DynamicTint offers several other benefits over current smart glass products.
- DynamicTint is color neutral so it doesn’t affect the view through the window in its clear state
- In its clear state, DynamicTint lets more light through (greater than 70%)
- In its dark state, DynamicTint blocks more light effectively (greater than 96%)
- It transitions from light to dark in seconds, not minutes
- It is manufactured using industry standard, roll-to-roll processing equipment
- Materials are ubiquitous and inexpensive
Based on a pilot program Crown Electrokinetics completed in Los Angeles, DynamicTint pays for itself in energy savings in 12-18 months. It eliminates the need for developers to convert buildings to double pane glass to meet energy goals. It also eliminates the need for blinds that are expensive and require significant routine cleaning and maintenance.
Thanks to its affordability and ease of installation, DynamicTint can help significantly lower green house gas emissions from both commercial and residential structures. This is the single largest source of energy consumption and a focus of governments looking to reduce carbon emissions to combat climate change. With 5.6 million existing office buildings in the United States, and more being built, the market for DynamicTint is expansive. Crown already has a partnership with a leading real estate firm with 110 buildings and will initially focus on the retrofit market. This is the largest opportunity with very little competition. Other potential markets include residential skylights, automotive aftermarket sunroofs, and partnerships with OEM glass manufacturers.
Crown Electrokinetics is led by Doug Croxall, Chief Executive Officer / Chairman of the Board, who has invested in patents and technology-related companies since 1998, and Eddie Kovalik, President / Chief Operating Officer, founder of a number of companies including Rosehill Resources, Seawolf Water, and Prairie Partners, covering the oil & gas, water, and renewables spaces. Ed has over 24 years experience in the Energy sector. Their team also includes experience finance, marketing, technology, and engineering professionals with experience at HP, Edison Nation and others.
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