TECH OFFER

Super-Insulating Aerogel Particles to Build Next-Gen Thermal and Fire-Barrier Solutions

KEY INFORMATION

TECHNOLOGY CATEGORY:
Chemicals - Coatings & Paints
Chemicals - Additives
TECHNOLOGY READINESS LEVEL (TRL):
LOCATION:
Singapore
ID NUMBER:
TO174319

TECHNOLOGY OVERVIEW

As companies and industries worldwide come face to face with the effects of climate change, the growing concerns about sustainability become even greater. Stricter environmental standards and targets need to be met, therefore upgraded materials, new products, and technologies are necessary to build safer, more energy-efficient, and reliable systems. With an excess of 80% of energy spent on space heating/cooling being wasted due to heat loss caused by ineffective thermal envelopes, the need for improved thermal insulation technologies cannot be overstated.

Now with the innovations in materials fabrication, the most insulating material on the planet, Aerogel, is made available in a versatile form, at a lower cost to enable the commercialisation of high-performance insulation systems, leading to greater energy efficiency and reduced carbon emissions.

The proposed material, Silica Aerogel particles, function as super-insulating, ultra-lightweight additives that are inherently non-combustible with a very robust, highly porous (>95%) nano-structure, yielding thermal conductivities as low as 0.012W/m.K and densities <0.1g/cm3. When incorporated into paints/coatings and building materials, they can impart and/or substantially improve their thermal insulation and fire-proofing properties.

The Singapore-based company develops Silica Aerogel particles in two forms, granules and powders using a proprietary and scalable process that is significantly more energy-efficient and eco-friendly than conventional processes, such as supercritical drying.

The company is seeking collaboration with paints, coatings, and building insulation manufacturers that are interested in enhancing their product offerings through the incorporation of Aerogel particles into their insulation and/or fire-proofing solutions, in the form of R&D collaboration or OEM manufacturing partnerships.

TECHNOLOGY FEATURES & SPECIFICATIONS

  • Ultra-low thermal conductivity: 0.012 - 0.016 W/m.K. Much less coating is needed to achieve the same performance, save on materials and labour cost.
  • Broad particle size range: Powders: <100µm; Granules: <700µm.
  • Low Density: 80 – 120 kg/m3
  • Significantly reduce the density of the coating itself at high volume loadings.
  • High specific surface area: 600 - 800 m2/g
  • Effective for matting applications; a high degree of light diffusion can be achieved even at very low loading levels <3%
  • High porosity: >95%
  • Super-hydrophobic properties of the Aerogels make them a strong barrier to corrosion under insulation (CUI).
  • The company is able to further fine-tune particle size and surface chemistry to enhance the compatibility with various solutions.

POTENTIAL APPLICATIONS

Silica Aerogel’s unique set of tuneable properties enable them to be incorporated into a diverse set of solutions, such as:

Building & Construction

  • Aerogel-based coatings: High insulation, lightweight insulating paints/coatings for building thermal envelopes. Silica aerogel, when integrated with commercial paint in powder form will still remain smooth and easy to apply while ensuring that heat loss is minimised in both commercial and residential buildings, greatly increasing energy cost savings.
  • Aerogel cement foam: A1 non-combustible grade rigid building insulation.
  • Aerogel-based intumescent paints: High-performance, aesthetic fire barriers for structural steel beams.
  • Decorative coatings: Ultra-high surface area of the particles make highly effective for matting applications; a high degree of light diffusion can be achieved even at very low loading levels <3%.

Industrial Insulation

  • Aerogel-infused insulating coatings for pipes, valves, tanks: preventing corrosion under insulation (CUI) and mitigating thermal bridging by controlling condensation.
  • ‘Safe-touch’ barrier to protect personnel from hot equipment.

Cosmetics

  • Rheology modified aerogel cosmetics-creams, lotions: Si-Aerogel’s hydrophobicity is an efficient oil phase thickener and can act as a thixotropic or thickening agent in skin, hair and beauty product formulations.
  • Aerogel incorporated cosmetics-powders/foundation cream/pigments: High oil and sebum absorption rate of Si-Aerogel provides a mattifying effect to face cosmetics.

Market Trends & Opportunities

The move toward sustainability is requiring far more energy efficient systems. According to the 2019 Outlook for Energy by ExxonMobil, “if energy intensity remained the same over time, global energy demand would grow in lock step with GDP, almost doubling between 2017 and 2040. However, global energy demand is projected to grow only by about 20% from 2017 to 2040 because continued efficiency improvement lowers the energy intensity” For example, upto 90% of the energy consumed for space heating can be conserved with better insulating systems and design.

Additionally, safety regulation changes in many countries now mandate the use of non-combustible materials in tall buildings due to fire safety concerns caused by catastrophes like Grenfell tower fires incited by highly combustible phenolic foam insulation, leading to 72 deaths. Incidents like this have led to the ban of combustible foam-based insulation in many areas. This has opened up a marked need for high performance, fire-proof insulation – Silica Aerogel in all its forms.

Benefits

  • Dramatically improved thermal performance at relatively low mass loadings.
  • The ultra-low thermal conductivity of the infused Aerogel particles allows for the use of much less coating to achieve the same performance, save on materials and labour cost.
  • The low-density of Aerogel allows for the formulation of ultra-light weight coatings.
  • The robust structure of Aerogel assures long-term thermal performance of the product.
  • Allows for green, eco-friendly products due to the fully non-toxic nature of Aerogel.
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