market reports

Smart Windows Materials Markets 2015-2022

From the perspective of materials suppliers, n-tech believes that the smart windows market continues to offer important opportunities.  We are seeing older technologies – such as photochromics – become more competitive with the dominant SPD and electrochromic materials and there are also entirely new materials such as hydrogels and versioned display materials that are beginning to play in the smart windows space.  We are also impressed with the recent willingness of deep pocket investors and other well-known firms to get involved in the smart windows space.

With these developments in mind, this report identifies and quantifies the opportunities in the smart windows materials space.  It contains a granular eight-year forecast in both volume and value terms as well as an assessment of the strategies being deployed in this market by notable firms.  The technologies/materials covered in this report include electrochromic, photochromic, hydrogel, thermochromic. PDLC, SPD, hydrogels, pixel-based technologies and microblinds.

The forecasts and analysis cover not only the active smart materials used in these technologies, but also the substrate materials; both plastic and glass.  We also examine changing manufacturing patterns within the smart windows sector. In addition, this report analyzes a number of different business models being used in the smart windows sector and shows how materials play into the total smart windows value chain. 

Under the name of NanoMarkets, n-tech has been covering the smart glass business for almost seven years and has therefore acquired a deep understanding of the dynamics of the smart windows sector and of materials selection within that sector.  

Executive Summary    
E.1 Changes in Markets and Technologies Since Our Previous Report:  The Comfort Factor    
E.1.1 More Materials Enter the Smart Windows Space    
E.1.2 Technology as Market Differentiator:  Of Multi-functionality and Niches    
E.2 Materials Opportunities in the Electrochromic Windows Space:  Mid-Term Future for Smart Windows    
E.2.1 EC Opportunity # 1:  New Materials    
E.2.2 EC Opportunity # 2:  Wet Coating    
E.3 Materials Opportunities in SPD Windows:  The Once and Future?    
E.4 Materials Opportunities in Photochromic Windows:  Not Much Going On    
E.4.1 Photochromic Opportunity # 1:  New Markets with Old Materials    
E.4.2 Photochromic Opportunity # 2:  Improving on Existing Materials    
E.4.3 Photochromic Opportunity # 3:  Hybrid Photochromic/EC Platforms    
E.5 Materials Opportunities in Thermochromic Windows:  Many Kinds of Materials    
E.5.1 Thermochromic Materials    
E.6 Materials Opportunities in PDLC:  Privacy Windows    
E.6.1 PDLC Materials    
E.7 Opportunities for Novel Materials:  Hydrogels, Micro-blinds and Versioned Display Technologies    
E.7.1 Hydrogels:  Possible Platform for Multi-Functional Smart Windows    
E.7.2 Electrophoretic and Electrowetting Technologies:  Reversioning Displays    
E.7.3 The Future of Micro-blinds    
E.8 Firms to Watch in the Smart Windows Materials Space    
E.8.1 Technology Providers:  Critical Specifiers and Start-ups    
E.8.2 Glass Companies:  What Will China Do?    
E.8.3 Specialty Chemical Companies:  Waiting in the Wings    
E.8.4 Can Display Firms Make Money in Smart Windows    
E.9 Summary of Eight-Year Forecasts for Smart Windows Materials    

Chapter One:  Introduction    
1.1 Background to This Report    
1.1.1 Feeling Comfortable with Smart Windows:  The Market Begins    
1.1.2 Materials at Core:  The Comfort Imperative    
1.1.3 The Search for the Perfect Smart Window    
1.2 Objective and Scope of This Report    
1.3 Methodology of this Report    
1.3.1 Data Collection    
1.3.2 Forecasting Methodology    
1.4 Plan of this Report    

Chapter Two: Electrochromic Smart Windows    
2.1 Electrochromic Smart Window Markets:  Evolution    
2.1.1 EC: A Generic Materials Platform    
2.2 Electrochromic Materials Suitable for Smart Windows:  Metal Oxides, Polymers and Viologens    
2.2.1 Transition Metal Oxides (TMOs):  Thoughts on Color    
2.2.2 Polymers:  Longevity a Problem    
2.2.3 Reflective Hydride    
2.2.4 Viologens and Gentex    
2.2.5 From the Labs:  The Latest Developments in EC Glass and Film    
2.3 Manufacturing Developments:  Need for Improvements    
2.4 Products and Suppliers    
2.4.1 The EC Windows Supply Chain    
2.4.2 ChromoGenics (Sweden)    
2.4.3 Continental Automotive Systems    
2.4.4 EControl-Glas (Germany)    
2.4.5 e-Chromic Technologies (United States)    
2.4.6 Gentex (United States)    
2.4.7 Gesimat (Germany)    
2.4.8 NexTint (United States)    
2.4.9 Sage Electrochromics (United States)    
2.4.10 View    
2.5 Eight-Year Forecasts of Electrochromic Materials in Smart Windows    
2.5.1 Five Reasons to be Bullish about EC Smart Windows    
2.5.2 A Note on Switching Speeds and How They Influence Materials Choice    
2.5.3 Eight-Year Forecasts of Electrochromic Materials in Smart Windows    
2.6 Key Points Made in this Chapter    

Chapter Three: Photochromic and Hybrid Photochromic/ Electrochromic Smart Windows    
3.1 Smart Photochromic Windows    
3.1.1 Ability of Photochromic Materials to Provide a Platform for Smart Windows    
3.2 Notable R&D in Photochromic Smart Windows    
3.2.1 BNL and the University of California (United States)
3.2.2 Fraunhofer ISE (Germany)    
3.2.3 TU Delft (The Netherlands)    
3.3 SWITCH Materials (Canada)    
3.3.1 Hybrid EC/Photochromic Materials Platforms    
3.3.2 Funding    
3.3.3 Test Installations    
3.4 Other Suppliers:  Photochromic Films for the Automotive Aftermarket and Building Retrofit    
3.5 Eight-Year Forecasts of Photochromic Materials in Smart Windows    
3.5.1 The Future of Pure Photochromic Films    
3.5.2 Photochromic/Electrochromic Hybrids    
3.6 Key Points Made in this Chapter
Chapter Four: Thermochromic Materials for Smart Windows    
4.1 Thermochromic Windows Technology:  State of the Art    
4.1.1 Technology Characteristics    
4.2 Main Materials Trends for Thermochromic Smart Windows    
4.2.1 Thermochromic Materials:  Requirements for Smart Windows    
4.2.2 Current Thermochromic Materials Usage in the Smart Window Sector    
4.3 Supply Chain Trends for Thermochromic Smart Windows    
4.3.1 Suntek and Cloud Gel    
4.3.2 Pleotint and Sunintuitive    
4.3.3 RavenWindow    
4.4 New R&D Trends:  Nanotechnology and Other Improvements    
4.4.1 Korea: Mixed Graphene with Vanadium Dioxide    
4.4.2 Malaysia: Dopants for Vanadium Dioxide    
4.4.3 China and Japan:  Nanoscale Vanadium Dioxide and Thermochromic Polymers    
4.4.4 Europe:  Smart Thermochromic Photovoltaic Window    
4.5 Eight-Year Forecasts of Thermochromic Materials in Smart Windows    
4.6 Key Points Made in this Chapter
Chapter Five: Suspended Particle Devices (SPD)    
5.1 SPD: Materials Platforms    
5.2 Role of Research Frontiers    
5.2.1 Applications Potential    
5.3 Manufacturing of SPD by Hitachi and Others    
5.4 Assessment of SPD Technology Performance    
5.4.1 R&D Directions for SPD Technology Performance    
5.5 Eight-Year Forecasts of SPD Materials in Smart Windows    
5.5.1 Financial Performance of RFI    
5.5.2 What comes next for SPD?    
5.5.3 Eight-Year Forecasts of SPD    
5.6 Key Points Made in this Chapter
Chapter Six: PDLC Privacy Glass    
6.1 PLC:  Trends and Uses    
6.1.1 Technology, Variations and Future Improvements    
6.1.2 The Dark Side of PDLC    
6.1.3 PDLC:  Likely Technology Developments    
6.1.4 Scienstry and NPD-LCD    
6.2 The PDLC Supply Chain    
6.2.1 Systems Integrators    
6.2.2 PDLC and the Glass Companies:  NSG, Saint-Gobain and Isoclima    
6.2.3 PDLC at Toray    
6.3 PDLC in the Automobile Industry    
6.4 Eight-Year Forecasts of PDLC Materials in Smart Windows    
6.5 Key Points Made in this Chapter    

Chapter Seven:  Emerging Materials Platforms for Smart Windows    
7.1 Alternatives to Current Smart Windows Platforms    
7.2 Hydrogels for Smart Windows?    
7.2.1 Likely Technology and Market Evolution    
7.2.2 On the Potential for Multifunctional Coatings Using Hydrogels    
7.2.3 East China University of Science and Technology (China)    
7.2.4 Dong-A University (Korea)    
7.2.5 Fraunhofer IAP (Germany)    
7.3 Smart Windows from E-Paper Technology:  University of Cincinnati    
7.3.1 Electrophoretic Smart Windows    
7.3.2 Electrowetting Smart Windows    
7.4 Micro-blinds    
7.4.1 Materials and Manufacturing for Micro-blinds    
7.4.2 Performance Claims and Possible Applications    
7.4.3 The Commercial Future of Micro-Blinds    
7.5 Merck, Peer+ and Licrivision    
7.5.1 Acquisition of Peer+    
7.5.2 LC Smart Windows Technology    
7.6 The Commercial Future of New Smart Windows Materials    
7.7 Key Points Made in this Chapter    

Chapter Eight: Summary of Eight-Year Forecasts of Smart Windows Materials    
8.1 Background to Forecasts    
8.2 Summary of Eight-Year Market Forecast by Type of Smart Windows Technology    
8.3 Eight-Year Forecast by Substrate Technology    
8.4 Eight-year Forecast of Smart Materials Used by Coating/Printing Technology    

About the Author    

List of Exhibits
Exhibit E-1: Comparison of Smart Windows Materials and Technologies    
Exhibit E-2: Market Niche Potential by Type of Materials Platform    
Exhibit E-3: Possibilities for Multi-functional Smart Windows Materials Platform    
Exhibit E-4: Adding Value to the EC Smart Windows Platform    
Exhibit E-5: Firms to Watch in the Smart Windows Market    
Exhibit E-6: Customer Choice Possibilities in the Smart Windows Materials Markets    
Exhibit E-7: Market for Smart Windows Materials ($ Millions)    
Exhibit 2-1: Materials Platform Evolution in the Electrochromic Windows Market    
Exhibit 2-2: Commercial Electrochromic Materials for Smart Windows    
Exhibit 2-3: Eight-Year Forecast of Electrochromic Materials for Smart Windows    
Exhibit 3-1: Eight-Year Forecast of Photochromic Materials for Smart Windows    
Exhibit 4-1: Eight-Year Forecast of Thermochromic Materials for Smart Windows    
Exhibit 5-1: Selected SPD Licensees    
Exhibit 5-2: SPD Specifications    
Exhibit 5-3: Potential for Improvement in the SPD Materials Platform    
Exhibit 5-4: Eight-Year Forecast of SPD Materials for Smart Windows    
Exhibit 6-1: Eight-Year Forecast of PDLC Materials for Smart Windows    
Exhibit 7-1: Eight-Year Forecast of Other Materials for Smart Windows ($ Millions)    
Exhibit 8-1: Eight-Year Forecast of Active Smart Windows Materials by Type ($ Millions)
Exhibit 8-2: Eight-Year Forecast of Passive Smart Windows Materials by Type ($ Millions)    
Exhibit 8-3: Eight-Year Forecast of Passive Smart Windows Materials by Active/Passive Technology ($ Millions)    
Exhibit 8-4: Eight-Year Forecast of Smart Windows by Primary Substrate Materials  ($ Millions)    
Exhibit 8-5: Eight-Year Forecast of Passive Smart Windows Materials by Coating/Printing Technology Used ($ Millions)    

Smart Windows Materials Markets 2015-2022

n-tech Research Issues Latest Smart Windows Materials Report, Projects $760 Million Market in 2020

Glen Allen, Virginia:  Industry analyst firm n-tech Research today announced the release of a new report titled “ Smart Windows Materials Markets: 2015-2022.”  According to this report, materials used in smart windows will grow to around $760 billion by 2020.  Coverage includes materials based on electrochromics, thermochromics, photochromics, electrophoretics, SPD, PDLC, hydrogels and microblinds. The report also discusses opportunities in film and glass substrates used for smart windows.

This report is the latest from n-tech’s extensive coverage of smart materials.  Other related n-tech reports include studies of smart coatings, smart surfaces, self-healing materials and building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV).  n-tech has provided coverage of the smart materials business for over six years and believes that smart windows are among the most commercially promising smart building products.

Details about the report, including a downloadable excerpt, are available at:

About the report:

This report quantifies the markets for smart windows materials used in buildings, as well as in transportation.  It provides eight-year forecasts for smart windows materials, with breakouts for the various types of materials used in each application.  It also discusses the business models currently being employed by the firms in smart windows materials business.

Companies discussed in this report include: 3M, Asahi Glass, BASF, Chameleon Photochromic Smart Film, Chromogenics, Commonwealth Glass, Coolkote, Corning, DuPont, Eastman Chemical/Solutia, Eastman Chemicals, GE, Gentex, , GlasNovations, Guardian Industries, Hitachi, HP, Johnson Laminations, Materion, Merck, Mitsubishi, NDFOS, NSG, Pleotint, PPG, Ravenwindow, Research Frontiers, Sage, Saint-Gobain, Schott, Scienstry, SKC, Soladigm, Southwall, SolutiaSolvay, Suntek, SWITCH Materials, Toray, Transition Window Tint, US e-Chromics, and View.

From the report: 

Smart windows are primarily a materials play, but none of the materials platforms that have yet emerged  in the smart windows space are without problems. There remain many opportunities for improved and entirely new smart windows materials, although electrochromic (EC) materials have a short-term advantage at the present time.  By 2020, n-tech believes that revenues from EC glass and film will reach $620 million.

No technology has established a strong enough lead as yet to constitute a significant barrier to entry. Three new technologies (electrophoretics, electrowetting and hydrogels) have entered since n-tech last produced a report on smart windows materials opportunities.  These new materials will take time to generate revenues, but may lead to the formation of new startups in the smart windows space. New uses for electrophoretic and electrowetting may bring new opportunities for firms currently active in the flagging e-paper business.

Other existing smart windows materials are expected to find niche markets in which they are quite successful. SPD has had success in the automotive sector and is making inroads into the aircraft industry.  PDLC is a popular choice for dynamic privacy glass. Revenues from SPD and PDLC in 2020 are expected to reach almost $80 millions.  

There are many other opportunities to create variations on existing material platforms. For example, some smart windows firms are looking at adding multiple colors to windows.  Others want to lower costs through the introduction of new materials or additives .  There are plenty of options to choose from – for example, almost all inorganic materials exhibit some level of thermochromism. 

About n-tech:

n-tech Research is the rebrand of NanoMarkets.  The firm tracks and analyzes emerging markets in energy, electronics, durable goods, and other areas created by developments in smart materials. The firm is a recognized leader in industry analysis and forecasts in all of these areas.  Visit for a full listing of the firm's reports and other services.


Robert Nolan
n-tech Research
(804) 938-0030

posted Jul 15, 2015

n-tech research  what's next in emerging technology 

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