Intelligent Glazing using Vanadium Dioxide

Prestigious ERC Starting Grant awarded to UCL CDT Supervisor, Dr Ioannis Papakonstatinou


Many congratulations to Dr Ioannis Papakonstantinou who has recently been awarded a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant from the 2015 call. Ioannis' project that will receive over £1m funding is titled "Intelligent functional coating with self-cleaning properties to improve the energy efficiency of the built environment" and the acronym is 'IntelGlazing'.

The latest forecast by the International Energy Agency predicts that the CO2 emissions from the built environment will reach 15.2Gt in 2050, double their 2007 levels. Buildings consume 40% of the primary energy in developed countries with heating and cooling accounting for 63% of the energy spent indoors . The main objective of this proposal is to develop intelligent window insulation technologies that will greatly reduce the energy demand for regulating the temperature in commercial, residential, industrial and public buildings. Recognising the different requirements between newly built and existing infrastructure, two parallel concepts are developed: i) a new class of intelligent glazing for new window installations, and, ii) an intelligent, polymer thin-film to retrofit existing window installations. Both solutions are enhanced with self-cleaning properties, bringing about substantial economic benefits through a significant reduction in maintenance costs.

The functional material underpinning the proposed intelligent glazing is vanadium dioxide, a thermochromic material that responds reversibly to the ambient temperature. During hot periods, the majority of the Sun's infrared radiation will be rejected, significantly reducing the requirements for air-conditioning. In cold periods, the windows will be transparent at both visible and infrared wavelengths reducing the need for heating.

Overall, we aim to develop intelligent glazing technologies that combine: i) Visible transparency of >60% to comply with the EU standards for glazing. ii) Power savings of >250W/m2 of glazing. iii) Self-cleaning properties that introduce a cost balance, and, iv) fabrication methods that are scalable to facilitate commercialisation. A number of technological breakthroughs are required to satisfy such stringent specifications which are delivered in this project by the seamless integration of novel photonic concepts, nanotechnology engineering and advanced material synthesis.

About Dr Ioannis Papakonstantinou

Ioannis received his Diploma in Electrical and Computer Engineering from National Technical University of Athens and his PhD in Optical Interconnects from University College London in 2008. In 2008-2009, he worked for Sharp Laboratories of Europe on liquid crystal displays. He joined CERN-European Organisation for Nuclear Research in 2009, where he worked on optical fibre links for the distribution of timing-trigger and control signals in the Large Hadron Collider. He was appointed as a Lecturer in the Electronic and Electrical Engineering Department at UCL in 2011 where he founded the Photonic Innovations Lab