UbiQD wins grant to turn windows into solar generators - Albuquerque Journal

UbiQD wins grant to turn windows into solar generators

The Los Alamos-based startup Ubiquitous Quantum Dots, or UbiQD LLC, believes it can harness the solar rays that beam through windows every day to power consumer products, and eventually entire buildings.

The company, which is commercializing a low-cost method for manufacturing quantum dots, won a $225,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to apply its dot technology as a coating on glass windows. As the sun beams through, the quantum dots would absorb solar energy and then channel photons to solar cells attached to window frames, said UbiQD founder and President Hunter McDaniel.

“Our vision is to turn ubiquitous, every day windows into sunlight harvesters.” Hunter said. “Think of skyscrapers that power cities.”

The concept isn’t new. But most companies today are working to attach transparent solar cells directly to windows, which is a more complex and potentially expensive process. In contrast, using UbiQD’s low-cost quantum dots as a glass coating and attaching photovoltaic cells to the window frames could make the process much more simple and affordable.

It’s the latest potential application for UbiQD’s quantum dot manufacturing process, which it licensed from Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Hunter helped develop that technology as a post-doc at LANL.

Quantum dots are tiny, three-dimensional structures measuring about 10,000 times smaller than a human hair. The structures manipulate light in unique ways, absorbing it and emitting it back out in specific colors. They’re used in everything from transistors and sunscreen to LCD televisions, tablets and smartphones. But traditionally, they’ve been extremely expensive to make, and they’re usually composed of toxic materials.

UbiQD’s product, however, is made through a new, inexpensive process that uses low-cost and low-toxic materials. Until now, the company had focused on other commercial applications for its dots, such as creating luminous paints for signage, or in plastics to make them glow.

While at LANL, McDaniel assisted scientists on integrating quantum dots into plexiglas. Now, with the NSF grant, his company will adapt that coating process to glass. It will first apply its solar window technology for charging consumer products like smartphones, and later move onto automobiles and buildings.

“This new investment will further important research at UbiQD to strengthen the intersection of solar energy and advanced materials such as nanoparticles,” said U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., in a prepared statement announcing the NSF grant. “It’s another great example of how technology developed at our national laboratories can spur industry and create jobs here at home.”

Home » Business » Energy » UbiQD wins grant to turn windows into solar generators


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
New Mexico oil group appeals ozone pollution rules
ABQnews Seeker
Opponents note some rules will 'inflict ... Opponents note some rules will 'inflict economic hardship' on residents
2
PNM earnings plummet in second-quarter 2022
ABQnews Seeker
Losses on investments, climbing interest rates, ... Losses on investments, climbing interest rates, hurt company
3
Geothermal plant wins appeal but pauses Nevada construction
Energy
RENO, Nev.-- -- The developer of ... RENO, Nev.-- -- The developer of a geothermal power plant facing legal challenges in Nevada agreed Monday to suspend construction just hours after a ...
4
Unprecedented profit for major oil drillers as prices soared
Energy
Oil companies swam in record profits ... Oil companies swam in record profits over the last few months at a time when Americans struggled to pay for gasoline, food and other ...
5
Climate disinformation leaves lasting mark as world heats
Energy
In 1998, as nations around the ... In 1998, as nations around the world agreed to cut carbon emissions through the Kyoto Protocol, America's fossil fuel companies plotted their response, including ...
6
Russia cuts gas through Nord Stream 1 to 20% ...
Energy
Russia's Gazprom on Wednesday halved the ... Russia's Gazprom on Wednesday halved the amount of natural gas flowing through a major pipeline from Russia to Europe to 20% of capacity. It's ...
7
EU agrees to cut natural gas use amid Russian ...
Energy
European Union governments agreed Tuesday to ... European Union governments agreed Tuesday to reduce consumption of natural gas this winter to protect themselves against any further supply cuts by Russia amid ...
8
Regulators berate PNM again on rate credit
ABQnews Seeker
Commissioners deny utility appeal, but Supreme ... Commissioners deny utility appeal, but Supreme Court decision still pending
9
Gazprom says it's cutting gas Nord Stream to 20% ...
Energy
Russia's Gazprom said Monday that it ... Russia's Gazprom said Monday that it would further reduce natural gas flows through a major pipeline to Europe to 20% of capacity, citing repairs ...