The development of this EC technology has been driven to the pilot-line production stage, the underlying nanotechnology-based processes have been largely understood, and corresponding intellectual property (IP) has been protected in European patents and patent applications. However, the decisive step from research to innovation, i.e., the use of the newly developed materials and materials technologies by the industry, could not yet be accomplished.

Thus, the development has arrived at the so-called Valley-of-Death presumably for the following reasons:

  • The final processing steps (cutting, contacting, assembling, sealing) up to now have to be performed manually, which results in a large number of defective devices and high scrap rates. Process automation is strongly required.
  • Processing steps had to be performed in scattered laboratory sites, which hampered the progress.
    No suitable producer could be identified though the necessary machinery exists to a large part and can be exploited for use.
  • Larger investments are probably necessary to bridge the gap in the innovation chain, which faces high technical risk associated with the multi-nanolayer technology pursued.
  • Small sale numbers are anticipated for the initial market introduction period (known from commercially available 1st generation smart window products).
  • Other more speculative reasons (undercapitalisation, lack of suitable human resources, etc.).

EELICON will tackle these drawbacks by overcoming equipment limitations, using process automation, and establishing a high-throughput prototype production for flexible and retrofit-enabling light modulation films in Europe.