Expert Interview with Lennart ten Kate of eLstar Dynamics
We are joined today by Lennart ten Kate, Commercial Development Director of eLstar Dynamics, who explains how their electrophoresis-based smart glass solves key issues for the architectural and transport sectors.
In May 2019, Lennart ten Kate co-founded eLstar Dynamics. As previously a purchaser in automotive & high-tech industry, Lennart uses his network to make the ambitions of eLstar Dynamics become reality. This ambition is to be the #1 smart glass manufacturer in the world. With previous experience in start-ups and in large-scale industrial manufacturing companies, he supports the R&D team to translate technical details to “common language” to convey the message of colour-neutral, fast switching, low-haze and affordable smart glass availability founded on electrophoresis principles. Lennart holds a BSc in Logistics & Economy and a MSc in Business Administration from TIAS University.
Thank you for joining us, Lennart!
Was eLstar Dynamics born out of scientific research or from identifying a commercial gap in the market? What was the main driver?
Commercial gap, I would say.
The fundamentals of the technology have been matured earlier on, but by taking a different approach we were able to make it transparent.
The main driver is the almost-cry-out from the market for a solution to make buildings more energy efficient, pleasant to work or live in, without jeopardising or actually increasing architectural freedom.
Your smart glass is based on a process called ‘electrophoresis’. Can you explain how this works and what advantages it brings?
Electrophoresis is the technology used in eReaders.
It uses the electrical movement of specially prepared pigments to control light. This makes the whole system highly flexible in its operation. By changing the type of pigment, we also can adjust the properties of the window: different colours, infrared deflection etc.
How does your technology compare to other smart glass tech currently on the market? What is your USP?
eLstar technology provides a colour-neutral (so no blue or green discolouration) viewing experience, with comfortable switching times which is available for the mainstream markets rather than niche-only markets.
Further more, our “operating envelope” is so wide, that we can switch from 0.2% light transmission to beyond 50% light transmission within the same device: this eliminates the need for privacy glass, shutters, curtains or sun blinds.
In collaborating with ClearvuePV to create a photovoltaic switchable glass, which market sector do you think will be an early adopter?
Markets where there is a clear request for highly dimmable features and low-angle sun during a long period of the year.
It is this time of year when glare & direct heat exposure is providing the most challenges, but where the impact of integrated photovoltaics would be the most efficient at harvesting energy.
Applications that could benefit from having autonomy, where the PV energy source provides power for the ‘smart’ features. There is a huge retro-fit opportunity, alone.
As you prepare for your official launch in Q4 (2020), what developments can we expect to see from the eLstar team until then?
At this stage, we are working hard to make sure all the milestones of the official public launch event, which takes place on October 20, 2020, will be met comfortably.
Towards sending out first product samples at the end of Q1-2021, we will be focusing on optimising the designs to provide the best possible first samples depending on end application. These first products are not intended for end-customer representation (consumers) but for the next step in the supply chain to run their own test-procedures on our windows.
They want to see with their own methods & eyes the resistance against heat, cold, lamination processes and mechanical testing and application.