NEXT Energy Technologies creates Empowered Windows that help buildings power themselves through transparent photovoltaic coatings that convert unwanted infrared and ultraviolet light into usable energy. Here, we speak to Daniel Emmett, co-founder and CEO at NEXT Energy Technologies, about how their innovative technology can play a crucial role in combating the climate crisis.

Can you tell us a bit about the company and its founders?

NEXT Energy Technologies was founded by our CTO, Corey Hoven, PhD, and myself, Daniel Emmett. We bring years of technical expertise in advanced materials and industry experience in solar, real estate, and licensing to the leadership at NEXT. Together, we envisioned a way to use windows, an often-underutilized space on buildings, to produce electricity.

There’s a common statistic we hear, 40% of global energy use and attendant greenhouse gas emissions come from our built environment. That alarmed us. We thrive on our desire to make tomorrow’s buildings better than they are today. How? By taking windows, traditionally energy wasters, and equipping them to empower buildings to power themselves.

How does your solution contribute to the Digitalisation and Decarbonisation of the energy sector?

NEXT’s proprietary, transparent PV coatings transform windows and glass facades from passive, static elements of a building, into active, productive, and connected energy-generating assets that can transform the very nature of buildings and help decarbonise the energy sector. Each NEXT Window produces renewable electricity and is connected in real-time to the building and its energy management system which can be optimised to meet the operational, resiliency, and sustainability goals of the building.

A building constructed with NEXT’s Windows can produce onsite renewable energy, thereby reducing the energy required from the grid and the operating costs of the building, as well as helping achieve net zero and sustainability goals.

NEXT’s technology is enabled by proprietary organic semiconductors that are coated as ink on architectural glass in a high-speed, low-energy process during window manufacture. Once installed, the windows can empower our built environment and pave the way for a distributed energy future that provides significant benefits to utilities and the community, mitigating risks associated with ageing electricity infrastructure.

What is your company’s proudest achievement to date?

Ultimately, our pride is in our technology and the fact that major commercial window manufacturers, architects and developers have recognised the transformative nature of the technology and are supporting its commercialisation. We believe that our technology will play a pivotal role in combating the climate crisis. We’ve seen countless ways that tech innovation can be used for good, to rethink how we combat our biggest problems. To combat the climate crisis, the building sector needs to innovate and adopt new technologies to alleviate the strain on the environment, and in turn, make it better for everyone who comes after us. One thing is non-negotiable: we have to do something, and NEXT Empowered Windows are an important solution.

What specifically attracts you to the prospect of expanding to the Japanese market?

The climate crisis isn’t centralised to one area of the world — it’s the responsibility of everyone everywhere. Japan is a leader in innovation and adoption of new technology and has made important commitments to combat climate change, including in the buildings sector. By expanding to the Japanese market, we can help demonstrate to the rest of Asia and the world that buildings become a part of the solution and are no longer the centre of the problem of the climate crisis. Ultimately, we want our technology to reach every part of the world so that each country can address the climate impact of the built environment with Empowered Windows.

How will your solution/product help advance the Japanese energy sector?

As we work to conserve energy across the world, our technology benefits the environment, improves energy resiliency, and alleviates costs and stress on power grids by producing distributed power right where it is consumed – buildings. NEXT’s future products will be capable of significantly improved output across all visible light transmissions, further improving buildings’ power generation capabilities. By working with NEXT now, companies are enabling the team to discover even more applications for this PV technology.