SunPartner, a French company that won the second-ever Nobel Sustainability award earlier this month, is expanding its technology to solarize new surfaces and its market reach into the United States.
SunPartner is known for its WYSIPS technology, which stands for “What You See Is a Photovoltaic Surface.” It’s an ultra-thin, transparent and flexible solar film that can be applied to screens of mobile devices for solar charging anywhere. The company also has a crystalline product that electronic manufacturers can build into their screens, said SunPartner spokeswoman Marion Chanson.
The company is already doing business in Europe with its electronic screen covers, but will expand that business to include building facades, roof tiles, glazing on skyscrapers and windows in electric vehicles and trains, Chanson said.
“We are already in discussions with many players in Europe in these fields and seeking industrial partnerships abroad,” Chanson writes in an email. “Our objective is to get first products available for these applications from end of 2013.”
She said SunPartner is still licensing its technology in the United States. The company will likely engage in some research and development efforts as well as manufacturing in the U.S. once the licenses are transferred. This year, she said she expects SunPartner to be able to begin marketing its screen applications for tablets, phones, watches and e-readers. That market alone could make SunPartner a major player in the U.S., Chanson said.
“We think that the first concrete opportunities in the U.S. market will apply on screen-related applications that we began to investigate last year,” she said. “It is too early to set in stone figures but we are talking of hundreds of millions of screen devices. If you just think of how many screen devices or electronic items you own or use every day, the ones in your pocket - at home or at the office, it gives you a rough idea of the potential.”
SunPartner is also looking for U.S. manufacturer partners it can license its façade and roof applications to and expects to build U.S. research partnerships by the end of 2013 for transportation and building-integrated solar applications.