In the future, it's likely you'll live in a home where you'll always shower with strong water pressure (even if everyone else in town is also using their showers). That's because your pipes could be 4-D printed and able to change shape to help move water more efficiently.
While electricity continues to power all your appliances, you’ll no longer trip over electrical cords. That’s because the energy—generated from alternative sources—could reach your appliances wirelessly. And as you leave this home, the song you were listening to in your living room could await you in your electric, self-driving car. That’s because your cloud-based music will know to follow you. And if you forget to bring your grocery list, your refrigerator might already know what you need and order it for you. All of life’s new essentials will surround us, largely due to chemistry’s influence.
Chemistry is Everywhere in Our Homes
You can expect the home of the future—like society in general—will be smarter and more sustainable than the one you live in now. Chemistry will help usher in these innovations of modern infrastructure. After all, chemistry has been transforming people’s homes for decades.
“Chemistry is everywhere in our homes,” notes Frenk Hulsebosch, Chemours Global Business Director — 5G Venture. “In the construction materials, paint, insulation, furniture, electronics, cookware, you name it—a modern home would not be possible without chemistry.”
As we look ahead to future homes worldwide, the chemical industry will continue to support innovations that drive in-home technology forward. In fact, some key Chemours products available today will help take us there, including Teflon™ PTFE, a key ingredient in semiconductor manufacturing, and Nafion™ ion exchange membranes which enable energy storage for greater efficiency of solar power as well low-emission power generation.
Smart Will Be the New Green...
Cloud-based artificial intelligence, collaborative robots, machine-learning algorithms—all these smart technologies may become essentials in the home.
As documented by Gartner, the movement toward this kind of technology is already under way: In 2016, some 3.9 billion connected “things” were in use in the consumer market category; Gartner projects that number to grow to roughly 12.8 billion by 2020.
As for how a home 'gets smart,' “Everything from climate to energy consumption to entertainment begins to be controlled through a feedback loop based on our own preferences and tendencies,” explains Hulsebosch. “This is enabled and, in fact, only possible because of science and engineering, including, of course, chemistry.”
Specifically, chemistry helps create the advanced materials necessary to foster the connected home. Case in point: Chemours’ Teflon™ fluoropolymers enable 5G data transfer speeds. This speed is becoming the new essential and is only possible because Teflon™ materials can handle high-purity chemicals and high temperatures, helping semiconductors perform faster, more efficiently, and with fewer defects.
... While Green Continues to Be the New Green
“Future homeowners will look for energy efficiency and sustainability,” says Hulsebosch. To that end, by 2040, 15 percent of the world's electricity will come from solar panels, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Chemistry will help make that happen on several fronts. Teflon™ fluoropolymers are used in battery management systems to capture solar energy—and are even being used to enable the solar panels themselves via films and coatings.
In addition to solar panels, Nafion™ ion exchange membranes enable energy storage solutions for greater use of renewables for a long-duration energy solution. In fact, Nafion™ membranes enable technologies that offer peak shaving (reducing electrical consumption during maximum demand), reduced emissions, faster demand response, and advanced integration of distributed energy sources (smaller power sources aggregated to meet demand). These benefits are vital in developing large-scale, long-life batteries.
“With 7 to 9 billion people on this earth, energy needs to become more efficient and renewable,” says Hulsebosch. So yes, homes will definitely be more sustainable.”
And—from a bigger picture perspective—Hulsebosch adds, “Chemours products enable those industries that innovate for the home. Our products aren’t the total solution, but without our products, the solution cannot operate well, or in some case, even exist.”