Emerging Materials and Devices Report

Smart Windows and Smart Glass 2014-2024: Technologies, Markets, Forecasts

Switchable, dynamic, magic glass; electrochromic glass; thermochromic glass; suspended particle device glass; liquid crystal glass; chromogenics; dynamic/smart/switchable glazing and self-dimming glass

The smart glass market will reach a value of $700 million by 2024
Smart windows/smart glass technology has received hundreds of millions of dollars in investment over the past few years. This has resulted in a rapid expansion of the production capacity globally. At the same time, the trends towards energy efficiency, comfort and privacy are creating demand. The demand is also being pushed by the fact that smart glass technology is also being exploited as a differentiator in the otherwise highly competitive and commoditised glass industry.
Despite this and despite more than twenty years of technology development the market today remains relatively small. The foundation stones for future growth are however being set today, both on the supply and the demand side. Indeed, IDTechEx Research estimates that the value of this market will reach at least $700 million in 2024.
Smart windows/smart glass refers to a multitude of technologies covering electro-chromic, thermo-chromic, suspended particle and liquid crystal technologies. Each technology offers a different set of attributes and cost structure, and is therefore aimed at a different market segment. Interestingly, there are slight variations even within a given technology, owing to the launch of successive technology generations.
Electro-chromic technologies (EC) give the user the ability to tune the optical transmission from clear to dark. They however have a low switching speed, lack complete opacity, and offer only a mid-range price tag compared to other smart glass technologies. Thermo-chromic technologies, in contrast, give no control to the end user. Instead, the offer the lowest cost option.
Liquid crystal (LC) smart glass technology beats others in terms of switching speed, and the opacity of the dark state. It however also falls short on controllability as only two states (clear or opaque) can be achieved. It is amongst the more expensive options too.
Suspended particle technology combines high switching speed and user control. This is a compelling value proposition but comes at a cost. Indeed, this technology commands the highest price tag today.
This report offers:
  • Detailed assessment of each smart glass technology covering operating principles, materials, manufacturing processes, latest innovations and unresolved technology challenges
  • Detailed benchmarking of different smart glass technologies on the basis of cost, transmission, quality, controllability, power usage and more.
Smart glass has already achieved limited commercial success. For example, suspended particles smart glass technology is being increasingly adopted in premium luxury cars such as the Mercedes Benz SLK. This technology was gained traction in this market segment owing to its high switching speed and high user controllability. Another high-profile success story is the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner which has incorporated electrochromatic technology onto its passenger windows.
The building sector is potentially the highest volume market. There are still remaining challenges in this market however. In particular, smart glass windows are still over-priced and price parity will only be reached if global capacity utilisation reaches economies of scale in the range of 500,000 sqm, according to our detailed analysis of the cost structure and depreciation.
The commercial sub-segment of the building industry will be the early adopter here. This is because commercial buildings value iconic differentiations and, if managed well, cost savings may be realised on the basis of total cost of ownership. This segment is also growing in attractiveness as the glass content on commercial buildings is on the rise.
Most of manufacturing capacity is located in America however Europe will see more investments in the coming years since glass shipping is not cost effective and the European market uses larger glass formats than the American one.
Fig. 1. Geographic Distribution of Installed Production Capacity of Selected Companies - Americas
Source: IDTechEx
Fig. 2. Geographic Distribution of Installed Production Capacity of Selected Companies - Europe, Asia, Africa and Australasia
Source: IDTechEx
Smart Glass 2014-2024: Technologies, Markets, Forecasts offers:
  • Global map of production sites and production capacities
  • Price evolution for smart glass and detailed cost models including BoM and capital investment
  • Ten-year market forecast in $ and area broken down by technology (e.g., electro-chromic, thermo-chromic, suspended particles and liquid crystals)
  • Ten-year market forecast in $ and area broken down by market (e.g., vehicles and aerospace, residential building, commercial buildings, hospitality)
The players include global glass companies, regional glass companies, new start-ups, and universities developing exciting new smart glass technologies for the market.
The main global glass companies are acquiring or investing in smaller smart glass companies. For example, Saint Gobain has invested in Sage, and Corning in View Glass. The technology access market is also dynamic in this field, with Research Frontiers holding a strong patent portfolio.
Specifically, this report offers the following:
  • End user interviews particularly from the construction industry
  • Company interviews and detailed company profiles
Analyst access from IDTechEx
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Further information
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Table of Contents
3.1.Chromogenic and Light Scattering Phenomena
3.2.Electrochromic materials
3.2.2.Electrochromic smart glass device
3.2.3.First Generation Electrochromics: Tungsten Oxides - SAGE and View Co.
3.2.4.Design Variables Electrochromic Devices
3.2.5.Energy Efficiency Potential of Electrochromic Smart Glass
3.2.6.Electrochromic Window Manufacturing Process
3.2.7.Second Generation Electrochromics: Hydrides - View Co.
3.2.8.The holy grail of smart glass - Third generation electrochromic devices: Heliotrope Electrochromics
3.3.Voltage Responsive or Electrostatic Oriented Materials:
3.3.1.Polymer dispersed liquid crystals:
3.3.2.Suspended Particle Devices
3.3.3.Three generations of Liquid Crystal Technologies according to Scienstry
4.1.Glass Windows - from structural to functional elements
4.1.1.Building glass market
4.2.Flat Glass world market structure during economic crisis
4.3.Flat Glass World market structure now - 2013 and 2023
4.4.Residential and Commercial segments
4.5.Cases of Smart Glass Installations
4.5.1.First Generation Electrochromic Glass
4.6.End Users point of view - A Global Infrastructure Developer ARUP
4.7.Glass for Automotive and Transport segments
4.7.1.Glass growth in vehicles
4.7.2.The recovery of the automotive industry in the aftermath of economic recovery - An outlook for the uptake of smart glass sunroofs
4.7.3.Automotive Smart Glass market in China
4.7.4.The role of Research Frontiers and its SPD technologies in the vehicles market
4.8.Smart Glass in Aerospace applications
4.8.1.Smart glass in Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner
4.9.Marine Smart Glass Applications
4.10.Market Penetration by Technology by Market
4.11.Geographic Distribution of Installed Production Capacity
4.12.Price Evolution
5.1.Global Market 2013-2023
6.1.Research Frontiers Inc.
6.2.SAGE Electrochromics
6.3.View Inc.
6.5.Heliotrope Technologies
1.1.Characteristics of primary types of smart glass
2.1.Two main categories of smart glass technologies and various subtypes
3.1.Summary of smart glass technologies, companies and the phenomena behind the functional materials
4.1.IDTechEx estimates of actual use of smart glass in square meters
4.2.Current prices by supplier and technology
3.1.A typical EC device has a 5-layer structure
3.2.Materials for smart windows: electrochromic (EC) coatings
3.3.Spectral transmittance of EC windows
3.4.The employee cafeteria in the Siemens wind turbine nacelle manufacturing plant in Hutchinson, Kansas.
3.5.SageGlass electrochromic technology
3.6.Switchable reflective coatings
3.7.Tunable dual-band solar control and optical contrast enhancement in nanocrystal-in-glass films.
3.8.Three states of 3G Electrochromic Glass
3.9.Structure of liquid crystal smart glass
3.10.Electric-Optical Curves for 1G, 2G and 3G LC Technologies
3.11.Performance characteristics of 3G Switchable Glass
3.12.Comparison for different generations of liquid crystal switchable films
3.13.Scienstry's 3G LC Switchable Film in clear state
3.14.Projection on 3G LC Film/Screen.
4.1.World Market Structure in 2009
4.2.2013 Global Markets Building Flat Glass (USD billion)
4.3.2023 Global Markets Building Flat Glass (USD billion)
4.4.First EC Project - 5 Windows at the Desert Regional Medical Center in Palms Springs in 2003
4.5.The employee cafeteria in the Siemens wind turbine nacelle manufacturing plant in Hutchinson, Kansas.
4.6.Port of Entry, Torrington, Wyoming. Both sets of photos show the glass in its fully tinted state (<2% VLT) and in its clear state (62% VLT).
4.7.Chabot College , Hayward, California 884 sqm.
4.8.W Hotel San Francisco by View Co.
4.9.Glazing in a typical European Car
4.10.The 'Global 3' OE glazing alliances
4.11.Magic Sky Control sun roof.
4.12.MAGIC SKY CONTROL panoramic glass roof on the 2013 Mercedes-Benz SL roadster
4.13.2012 Mercedes-Benz SLK 350 with Magic Sky Control
4.14.CROMALITE® ROOF on the new BMW Concept Active Tourer
4.15.Mercedes-Benz Viano Pearl using SPD-smart glass technology
4.16.Audi A2 concept car with a large SPD-Smart™ panoramic glass roof
4.17.The different states of tinting in Boeing 787-8 electrochromic smart glass.
4.18.Cruiseship Swift 141 - The largest single project in the world using liquid crystal switchable glass.
4.19.Market Penetration by Technology by Market Segment in 2013
4.20.Geographic Distribution of Installed Production Capacity of Selected Companies
4.21.Price evolution of electrochromic glass (USD/sqm)
5.1.Manufacturing capacity and revenue of selected companies
5.2.Global Smart Glass Market by Technology 2013-2023
5.3.Market Value by Industry Segment in USD million 2013-2023
5.4.Volume Forecast by Industry Segment (1000 sqm) 2013-2023

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