Battling winter with nanotechnology

Neverfrost, a product designed by UW graduates, coats windshields to prevent frost from developing in winter

Graphic by Joshua Awolade
Graphic by Joshua Awolade

A new product developed by two graduates from the University of Waterloo is hoping to make winter driving a little more bearable for Canadians.

Khanjan Desai and Chong Shen are the inventors of Neverfrost, a film that can be applied to car windows to prevent them from frosting over in the winter’s cold temperatures.

The product also keeps cars cooler in the summer and can protect the windows from shattering.

Neverfrost started as an idea for a fourth-year design project course at UW and quickly grew into a startup business.

“Essentially one of the ideas was to create a coating that can prevent frost on people’s windshields,” Desai explained.

“It’s a problem that we feel every winter and yet we don’t have a solution to it today.”

The pair used nanotechnology to develop the product, which functions similar to window tints.

The film lasts for five years once applied.

When the technology was beginning to work well and the project started to become successful, Desai and a few friends ended up looking to form a company.

“It’s a very steep learning curve — you learn the reality of the world very quickly,” Desai said.

“I kind of think as a student I was very sheltered by the university and by the structure around me.”

After several years, the company was able to grow and continues to grow owing to the various grants and competitions available in the Region of Waterloo, which aided with the finances in the early stages of Neverfrost’s production.

“The first thing an engineer has to learn is how to build a company, not just the technology. And that’s something I’m still trying to learn today,” Desai explained.

“It’s a very different thing to build a technology or to build a product or to build a company. They’re all in succession,” he added.

At the moment, the company has caught the attention of the trucking industry and is looking to expand to the public market as soon as possible.

“We’re starting with automotive businesses and then we hope to scale as quickly as possible to consumer space as well,” said Desai.

The pressure of being young entrepreneurs with an attractive new idea did not phase Desai and Shen. The engineers turned down a position at Facebook and postponed acquiring a masters degree, respectively, in order to fully commit to the blossoming project.

“What we want to do is become a nanotechnology company that continuously uses our expertise in nanotechnology to build really awesome products.”

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