Intelligent Coatings for Energy-Efficient Glazing (ICE Glazing)

Lead Research Organisation: University College London
Department Name: Chemistry


We will form a collaboration between leading UK and China universities to investigate and optimise synthesis methods for energy efficient intelligent window coatings. These coatings actively change their properties to let the optimum amount of light and heat into a building, dramatically reducing the energy required for heating and cooling. Heating and cooling buildings can use a large proportion (>30%) of a nation's energy requirements, so improvements in this area offer real benefits, and will assist meeting national and international carbon emission targets.

We will deposit vanadium dioxide films using a variety of industrially scalable techniques, and characterise the films with state of the art apparatus. We will undertake quantitative energy efficiency modelling to accurately predict the energy saving that might be expected when these materials are used in real buildings.

Planned Impact

The project will have impact in a number of areas through development of new science and clear routes to implementation of important energy saving technology. The following beneficiaries can be identified:

*The UK and Chinese economy through the design and development of new sustainable and scalable manufacturing methods for forming thermochromic coatings. Commercial and economic benefits will occur through development into the processing methods for the upscale manufacture of these materials ensuring the UK and CN maintain a world-leading capability in the manufacturing of ground-breaking energy saving technologies.

*People will benefit through the technical expertise developed throughout the project by the research team, including the training received and the range of transferable skills developed via interaction with industry, academics, engagement with the media, the general public, policy makers and legislators.

*Academic and industrial research community will benefit since significant advances in alternative precursor strategies, film deposition, modelling and scale up will be delivered during the project.

*Society will benefit by developing science and technology to improve energy efficiency, help meet national and internation carbon emission targets through implementation of energy efficient technologies.


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Description We have investigated a range of synthetic methods and identified key parameters for the optimum synthesis of VO2 materials in film and powder form. This material has been chemically modified (addition of dopants) or designed as part of an array of semiconductors for optimum functionality (optical properties, thermochromic transition temperature, etc.). In particular, we have successfully developed a robust multilayered VO2/SiO2/TiO2 film with ideal properties (solar modulation, transparency, self-cleaning properties) for energy efficient intelligent window applications. This work has now been published in a renowned international journal (Chemistry of Materials). In addition, we have been successful (peer reviewed application in a competitive environment) in obtaining 5 days of Synchrotron beam time at the European Synchrotron research facility (ESRF), France, to conduct in-situ X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) combined with high resolution powder diffraction (XRD) measurements of the samples prepared in this project. The monetary value of the obtained beam time is ca 50,000 Euros (10,000 Euros per day). We have obtained additional beam time for further studies using the XAS technique at Diamond Light Source and the work was published in J. Phys. Chem..
Since the commencement of the joint project (October, 2014), we had a first video conference with our partner at Wuhan University of Technology (WUT), China. Subsequently, the UK scientists (three named investigators and the PDRA working in this project) visited Wuhan University (April, 2015) in order to establish further interaction and share knowledge of our preliminary findings. Recently, scientists and students from WUT visited us (November, 2015) and one of them (Dr Baushun Liu) extended his stay for a month to strengthen the collaboration. Subsequently, PRof Sankar visited Wuhan in 2016 and 2017. Similarly, WUT group visited UCL for discussions. Dr Baoshun Liu extended his stay for further Disucsions. In addition, Dr Shouqin from WUT obtained a fellowship from Chinese Academy of Sciences and spent a year here. We published a new synthetic method of producing porous VO2 based on the work he did during his stay. We exchanged samples between the two groups to utilise strengths and expertise to fully understand the properties of the films produced in this joint work. Robert Palgrave (Co-I) presented initial results from the project at the RSC Solid State Chemistry Meetingheld in Glasgow. Prof Gopinathan Sankar was invited to give a Plenary talk in Shanghai in an international conference on thin films in November 2016 and a keynote lecture in the Thin Film Society meeting in Singapore. Obtained urther invitation to give a keynote lecture in TFS2018 conference in China. Ms D. Malarde and Ms Triexiera presented their work at the International conference, ICMAT in Singapore 2017.
Exploitation Route We have published our results in peer reviewed scientific Journal which can be accessed by many academics and industrialists. We published about 8 papers in international scientific journal since start of the project This way the community will be benefited by our methods of making such functional materials. In addition, we presented several of our results and methodologies in international conferences.
Sectors Chemicals,Construction,Energy,Environment,Other

Description Collaboration with Diamond Light source 
Organisation Diamond Light Source
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We collaborated with Synchrotron Radiation facility at Diamond Light source to investigated the crystallisation process using time-resolved in situ small angle and Wide angle X-ray scattering methods
Collaborator Contribution They provided the beam line and laboratory facilities, data collection strategy and data processing of the collected data
Impact We have recently collected X-ray absorption spectroscopic data at Diamond Light Source. The data being processed for publications
Start Year 2008
Description Collaboration with Wuhan University of Technology 
Organisation Wuhan University of Science and Technology
Department State Key Laboratory of Silicate Materials for Architecture
Country China 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We exchanged our knowledge and strategies in producing vanadium oxide films to our collabroating partners. We will carry out advanced characterisation of the materials prepared by them.
Collaborator Contribution Collaborating partner will assess the materials produced in our group for applications. In addition, they will allow us to use their state-of-the-art facility in preparation of thin films using specific methods that are not available in our institution
Impact So far we have exchanged our knowledge and currently working towards results that can be published jointly in an international journal
Start Year 2014