July 26, 2023
Company Name: NextGlass, LLC
MIPS Project Title and Year: Next-Generation Vacuum-Insulated Glass, 2022-2024
MIPS Faculty Investigator/University: Ratnesh Tiwari, Assistant Research Professor, Center for Environmental Energy Engineering
City and County: Rockville, Montgomery County
Year Founded: 2021
Founders/Management: Jungho Kim, Founder, Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Maryland Energy Innovation Institute, University of Maryland
Employees (#): 1
What the Company Does/Product(s): NextGlass is developing affordable, highly insulating, vacuum-insulated glass (VIG) windows that could cut energy loss by a factor of four or more, compared to current double-pane windows. The company is also reducing production costs by developing manufacturing processes that avoid the large up-front capital equipment expenditure required to manufacture VIGs and result in much higher throughput. VIG windows are currently made by taking two sheets of glass and sealing it on the edges. These are then heated up to a high temperature, where the seals are melted, before they are cooled down again. NextGlass’s windows do not require a furnace. Everything is done through room-temperature processes. This enables faster production, as both the high heating and cooling times are eliminated. The company estimates that its windows could be manufactured at five times less cost than conventional VIG windows.
MIPS Project: Methods were successfully developed to bake out vacuum glass at low temperatures, eliminating the need to heat the glass. A fluxless pre-tinning process was developed to make metal edge-to-glass seals. Researchers also performed a theoretical analysis of a method to rapidly determine the thermal performance of VIGs in a production environment and verified it experimentally.
MIPS helped my company: “The resources provided by MIPS and our university partners accelerated our product development process to bring commercially viable vacuum-insulated glass closer to market. The help provided by MIPS was timely and invaluable.” – Jungho Kim
Additional Mtech/USMD programs utilized: TEDCO I-Corps, summer 2021
Funding Acquired: $781,000 in total funding to develop the technology, from MIPS, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the Maryland Energy Innovation Institute, and the National Science Foundation (NSF)
Intellectual Property Owned or Licensed: NextGlass licensed technology from the University of Maryland invented by Kim and Tiwari through a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant.
Brief Company Narrative: The DOE grant was for three years. During the second year, Kim decided that if he wanted to push the technology further, he would need follow-up funding, so he decided to start a company.
Team/Company Needs Moving Forward: NextGlass plans to develop, build and test the pilot equipment needed to automate the manufacture of its VIG windows.