'Smart' windows that generate energy. Thanks to Proof-of-concept funding, the Delft tech startup PHYSEE was able to further develop this innovative product, and PHYSEE is not stopping there. Their latest generation of windows comes with a smart function in the form of sensors that automatically activate sunscreens or air-conditioning.
"Our windows are like a person's skin. They are always aware of how hot or cold it is and respond accordingly", says owner Willem Kesteloo. As fresh graduates from Delft University of Technology, Kesterloo and Ferdinand Grapperhaus jr. started their company PHYSEE in 2014. Objective: green buildings that do not require the user to compromise on comfort, design and functionality. They wish to achieve this objective by generating energy through a building’s windows.
As they are pioneers in this area, the first years saw them primarily engaged in research and development. "In that development phase, there was a dormant interest from investors", says Kesteloo, "but because so much yet had to be done, many investors considered it too great a risk to get involved at the time. Fortunately, we received financial assistance from the Delft University of Technology valorisation centre, and we applied for the R&D tax credit (WBSO) innovation scheme."
Proof-of-concept funding helps entrepreneurs to demonstrate the technical and financial feasibility of their idea in situations where investors still show reluctance. However, there are a number of conditions. "Alongside a robust business plan, we needed to already have a couple of investors with an interest in funding us at a later stage of the project. We were able to find such investors, which allowed us to get a €350,000 loan via the Proof-of-concept funding scheme. This was a crucial investment that meant we could really turn our ideas into reality."
"We were able to get a € 350,000 loan via the Proof-of-concept funding scheme. This was a crucial investment that meant we could really turn our ideas into reality."
In 2016, PHYSEE launched its first product on the market: the PowerWindow. "This window is as transparent as a normal window, but it yields 10 watt-peak of sustainable electricity per square metre. We are also developing a special coating that converts extra solar energy into invisible light and bends it away towards the window frame. The edges of the glass contain solar cells that efficiently convert this light into usable energy."
Following further development, PHYSEE launched a second generation of windows in 2018: SmartWindows. "What’s so smart about these windows, you ask? They continuously measure the light intensity, temperature and air quality and simultaneously generate electricity. They can save up to 30% on a building’s energy consumption by controlling the air-conditioning or the sun blind systems, for example."
In the months ahead, PHYSEE will complete its first large commercial projects: a residential tower in Amsterdam and an apartment complex in The Hague. "We're exceedingly proud of this, but our product is still far from ‘finished’. We are focusing in particular on the continued development of SmartWindows and the coating. A window currently yields about 10 watt-peaks. The new coating will triple that output at a minimum."
Via Horizon SME phase 2, the company received €1.9 million to continue development of the product in line with the needs of the international market. The SME instrument of Horizon 2020 supports new market explorations and the launching of new products, processes or services on the international market.
Curious to know whether your idea might succeed in the market? Discover the possibilities of Proof-of-conceptprocess funding.