Energy & the Environment

Postulate: The CAPE Partners are already engaged with many of the technologies and market sectors that will be harnessed to address the societal needs of: reducing energy usage, and adopting a responsible attitude towards environmental issues. They also have corporate policies to support these aspirations. We believe that there could be significant benefit to the processes of business development in taking a strategic overview of this area. It is proposed to seek the help and support of appropriate supply chain partners and take an active role in participation in relevant thematic initiatives such as Smart Façade and Energy City programmes.

The CAPE White Paper, “A Vision for the 21st Century Built Environment”, outlines these proposals in more detail and asserts that technology, by manipulating wavelengths across a wide section of the electromagnetic spectrum, can actively control aspects of a building’s fundamental operation, its aesthetics (appearance and outlook), the communication of information within and without it (including internal and external optical and wireless communications, privacy and municipal signage), and the energy and illumination balance between the building and its environment. Focusing on the scattering and control of radiation by the facades and apertures of buildings offers new insights into the impact of photonics and electronics on the environmental impact of the built environment.

We note that there are strong links between the enabling materials developments and fabrication processes involved in such areas as light control films, thin-film photo-voltaics, active wave-plate and antennae structures, transflective displays and advanced transparent conductor technology and that CAPE is already heavily involved in most of them. The use of nano-structure materials is being proposed in several of these areas. Stable laminated plastic structures containing active polymeric and/or liquid layers being developed under the Cambridge Integrated Knowledge Centre (CIKC) are a common feature across this applications space.