4 Factors block vacuum glass development

Even though vacuum glass has being developing for over 20 years,but there’s limited market share in architectural glass industry, over 90% high rise buildings’ priority is still high performance double glass units,and even BIPV facade that overall costs that is even higher than vacuum glass.

Glass facade using Cdte solar BIPV

Glass facade using Cdte solar BIPV

One of our customer considered changing laminated insulated glass facade to solar BIPV facade,we summarized several shortages of BIPV facade as below:

Whether crystalline silicon,Cdte,or other BIPV,the cell will generate heat,the generated power is lower than the extra energy used to keep building temperature.
Project location has limited sunlight,vertical installation also affect final power generation.
BIPV facade need frequent maintenance to keep surface cleaning and maintain nomital power.
BIPV will affect the visual effect of facade and decrease facade lighting.
BIPV panels are always small,cannot suit facade large panel design (usually 30000*1500mm).
BIPV overall costs is 2 times that of vacuum glass facade.
It’s suggested to changing to vacuum glass facade,because its overall U value is 25% of original design,better acoustic performance, no need to change facade design, don’t affect the visual effect,and no need special maintenance,cheap price.The only problem is, vacuum glass hasn’t been applied in landmark projects before.

Beijing Tianheng mansion is the world 1st project using vacuum glass facade and windows,over 10,000 sqm vacuum glass was installed

Beijing Tianheng mansion is the world 1st project using vacuum glass facade and windows,over 10,000 sqm vacuum glass was installed

Beijing Tianheng mansion is the world 1st high rise building that adopted vacuum glass.Built in 2005,over 10000 m2 vacuum glass are applied in the facade and windows,even though vacuum glass technology then was not developed ,and U value of VIG then was 1.0W/M2.K,but it does helped overall energy consumption of the whole building.

Even though it has been applied in facade 17 years ago,but why vacuum glass promotion is so difficult?

1.Low brand awareness.

Architects and designers still know little about the innovative energy saving glass products,and even people who work in architectural glass industry,just heard about vacuum glass and just know its U value is excellent,let alone end users.
Personally we believe that the promotion of vacuum glass has been involved in vicious circle.
Low brand reputation, little order , low production, high price, less brand reputation, less order…then no extra profits and funds to support research & development .
As previous produced vacuum glass are not good enough,which caused architects has bad impression,don’t risk using VIG again in future projects.

2.Technical barrier.

Despite brand awareness, another factor blocking VIG development & application is ,the technical barrier.There’re several type of technology used in China:

  • Most China vacuum glass manufacturers technology comes from Synergy glass.After that, Qingdao Hengda glass,Qingdao Rocky glass,Tianjin Gushang glass, Sichuan Zerothermo,Qingdao ZhongtengZhiyuan,Werkman glass,Icesun glass etc,all these factories technology developed from Mr Tangjianzheng,the innovator of vacuum glass.

Even though Zhongteng company produce VIG in one-step process (edge sealing in vacuum condition),it’s still based on Mr Tang’s technology.

  • LandVac developed low temperature metal edge sealing technology and proved its success in the international market.Leadus also used similar sealing technology.
Glass solder edge sealing VIG & metal edge sealed Vacuum glass,both are tempered vacuum glass

Glass solder edge sealing VIG & metal edge sealed Vacuum glass,both are tempered vacuum glass

New and advanced technology has technical barriers and block newcomers to simulate and produce,this is very common in Auto and telecommunication,IT industry,but in architectural glass industry,this will block the development of new glass types as customers can have much cheaper options with relatively inferior performance.

3.Low production efficiency,high price.

Despite, high price and low production efficiency also limited its large scale application.Each factories daily output is 100-300sqm,which is far less than that of insulated glass.High investment, low production efficiency,low turnover,caused high price.

Synergy VIG production line

Synergy VIG production line,similar production line can produce only 100-200sqm vacuum glass per day

4.Limited production capability.

This is not related to production efficiency,but the feature of vacuum glass.
The pillars should be placed between 2 lites,which decide that curved vacuum glass is impossible,at least now factory can only produce flat vacuum glass.
Shaped VIG also face big problem ,whether it’s oval,diamond,the costs and finished glass ratio is higher than rectangle shape glass.
Holes ,notches are also hard to be placed on vacuum glass.

Most anneal VIG can be only applied in low rise buildings,and some household coolers, hard to be applied in large scale glass facade.

Now Haanglas has been the world leading VIG manufacturer,but still research to further improve the production efficiency and decrease costs,especially for small ,mixed sized orders,in next few years,let’s work together and contribute to the construction of low carbon world.