Electrochromism is the phenomenon whereby a reversible colour change takes place upon redox reactions on passage of electrical current after the application of an appropriate voltage.
The proposed SME-targeted collaborative project EELICON is concerned with an innovative switchable light transmittance technology based on electrochromic materials previously developed in projects co-funded by the EU Framework Programmes. The core of this development is a conductive polymer nanocomposite coating with outstanding electro-optical properties that can change its optical absorption properties within seconds with a high optical contrast. In liaison with compatible counter electrodes and polymer electrolytes the material is well suited for the high-throughput production of mechanically flexible and light-weight electrochromic (EC) film devices with low energy consumption and fast response, opening the possibility to retrofit existing windows with a dimmable plastic film.
As it was revealed by life cycle assessment (LCA) studies the new EC technology - due to its inherently low embodied primary energy - is environmentally friendly and can result in considerable energy savings when attached to or included in appliance doors, aircraft cabin windows, and automotive sunroofs (key applications). As opposed to state-of-the-art liquid crystal films, EC films maintain their transparency throughout the switching process. This unique property profile was recently considered a breakthrough in overcoming common limitations of state-of-the-art smart window technology - the devices can be used in a multitude of applications where the control of visible light transmittance is required for reasons of safety, comfort and energy saving.