UbiQD, Inc., a New Mexico-based nanotechnology company, entered into a joint development agreement with First Solar to further explore the benefits of incorporating fluorescent quantum dot technology in advanced solar modules.
“If successful, this application in solar modules could be a perfect example of the broad applicability of our core technology,” said Hunter McDaniel, UbiQD CEO. “With emerging applications in food and energy, these novel nanomaterials are proving to be a key tool in humanity’s urgent response to climate change and further sustainable economic development.”
Quantum dots (QD) are photoluminescent particles so small that it would take 100,000 of them to span one fingernail, said UbiQD. The company said it has applications in localized DC microgrids, smart building solutions, including integration with sensors for climate and ambient controls. UbiQD also has a UbiGro brand used in greenhouse and agrivoltaic installations.
“As we work towards developing the next generation of photovoltaics, we are exploring a range of enhancements that could allow us to convert more sunlight into energy,” said Markus Gloeckler, chief technology officer, First Solar. “We are interested in the potential use of quantum dots in optimizing the absorption of light and look forward to continuing our work with UbiQD on exploring this possibility.”
While UbiQD (short for Ubiquitous Quantum Dots) is a startup, it has much history in high-level applications. In 2021 UbiQD installed its energy-producing windows at three commercial sites. In 2022, the company’s quantum dot solar technology was used in a Small Business Innovation Research project with the United States Air Force. The Air force contract provided funding for two installations of over 20 windows and additional scale-up and development funds for the product. Also in 2022, UbiQD announced that it was developing a solution for controlled-environment agriculture in partnership with Heliene, a U.S.-based solar module manufacturer.
UbiQD also took part as a Growth Stage company earlier this year in the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) 2023 NREL Industry Growth Forum. The forum included 40 companies that represent a range of clean and sustainable technology startups from around the world, and UbiQD was recognized as the Best Overall Venture.