A Cooperation Between Industry and Science
List of Stringent Criteria
WOPAG has some 10 million euros at its disposal, SCHOTT being the largest contributor with 4.35 million euros. Selection of the various projects was subjected to a list of stringent criteria. The declared cornerstones were the project’s consequences on research and technology politics, its network concept on a state level, employment and job-creation relevance, and its cost-benefit-ratio. “WOPAG more than excels on all accounts,” claims Hans Spitzner, Secretary of State of the Bavarian State Department for Economics, Traffic and Technology. “In spite of their long history, glass and ceramics are anything but yesteryear’s materials, they are the materials of the future.”
Focus on Solar Energy
The main focus of SCHOTT’s research and development activities centers on the utilization of environment-friendly solar energy. “We are working on components for tube collectors and parabolic trough technology, the key components of solar heating and power stations,” explains Dr. Stephan Tratzky, WOPAG project manager at SCHOTT.
Currently, the jackets enveloping the Borosilicate glass collectors reflect about 8 percent of incoming light. With an antireflective coating, our rate is to be halved, increasing energy yields. Also in development is a jointing technology based on a melting on process designed to achieve a solid thermal and mechanical fusion of the glass and steel tubes. Another way to intensify solar power absorption is through “absorption layers” which remain stable under extraordinary thermal strain of up to 300 °C.
Compelling Ideas for Glass in Architecture
Architecture also opens up entirely new prospects for applications with glass. Innovative materials include state-of-the-art safety glass tubes featuring increased impact and pressure resistance in the form of glass-glass-compounds, accessible glass pane elements with in-between tube segments in sandwich construction, and lightweight, pressure-resistant compound materials made of ceramic and silicate materials with interior glass tube reinforcement. “We also plan on working on the development of anti-soiling and self-cleaning exterior coatings for glass tubes and glass bars for use in prestigious building facades,” says Tratzky.