May 5, 2020

PeafowlGlass: Smart glass with embedded sensors

The most energy intensive system of a commercial building tends to be HVAC – heating ventilation and air conditioning – which account for over 50% of the energy use. In smart buildings, using optimized regulation, this can be cut by 15%. And that is not a compromise for the tenants – a smart building has better temperatures, air quality, higher comfort.

This technology exist today, and it just needs to be deployed. So why isn’t it?

The problem is batteries, and scale. What can be done in one building with battery-driven devices cannot be easily deployed into millions of buildings. A single smart building can contain 30 000 sensors that collect data to optimize the system. Only the Smart Home segment is projected to need 2.2 billion wireless devices in 2022. This will not work with batteries as usual.

Batteries rely on cobalt, lithium, nickel – limited resources with fragile supply chains. Every battery will also need changing, something like once in every 10 years. In a building of 30 000 sensors, that would mean about 8 battery changes per day in average.

The power problem has led spectacular projections for the growth of smart buildings to be downgraded over time. New power solutions are urgently needed.

We are therefore developing a self-powered smart glass with embedded sensors, called PeafowlGlass. It is autonomously powered by an integrated transparent solar cell, and can be mounted on any smooth surface, such as window glass, on a picture frame or on the surface of a coffee table. One square meter is expected to power about 8-10 sensors that provide data to optimize the building system.

This novel solution will be piloted in a project funded by Sweden’s Innovation Agency Vinnova during 2020 which will include in situ testing and customer validation.

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