Persistence pays off for Pewaukee-based V-Glass LLC, which continues to advance its innovative vacuum-insulating technology closer to commercialization. In June V-Glass took first place in the Advanced Manufacturing Division of the 2013 Governor’s Business Plan Competition.
Since 2008, V-Glass founder Peter Petit has worked on a vacuum glazing process for windows that significantly reduces heat loss. Assistance from CTC Consultant Dave Linz helped Petit secure three federal Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants to develop his energy/cost-saving technology with a 2016 commercialization target.
Two CTC micro-grants provided funds to write a business and commercialization plan. “That was at a time when those small grants meant a lot, and getting outside help meant a great deal to the company as a startup,” says Petit.
SBIR dollars have funded development of the technology. “A different approach to the edge seal was needed to allow it to be sold in Wisconsin and cold climates,” says Petit, who developed a method of bonding metal foil to glass that will not crack under stress of frigid temperatures. “That promises to be a low-cost and effective approach, so now I can move on to the other problems that have to be solved.”
The goal is to produce an affordable product with a 30-year life and a high-insulating value. “If we can accomplish that, we can quickly move this into the commercial marketplace,” says Petit.
Plans are underway to submit a Phase II SBIR proposal to the Department of Energy in September. CTC Consultant Linz will review the project description and summary for the proposal. “Dave is very good at that, very objective. He brings a third party view to it, which is very much appreciated,” says Petit. “If we can get a two-year Phase II grant that starts in 2014, then we should be able to help the customer build the first commercial line in 2016.”