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Insulation materials with high thermal resistance with low manufacturing costs.

Currently, high performance insulation materials are expensive, while low cost materials perform poorly. HIP is bridging this performance gap by developing a new low cost, high performance material – known as a highly insulating polymer (HIP).

Operators of refrigerated transport and installers of insulation systems are dependent on excellent insulation to keep their costs low through optimised energy efficiency. However, poor insulation in most of the 600,000 plus refrigerated vehicles and containers in Europe, means each one wastes thousands of Euros of energy each year. Likewise, returns on renewable energy systems is compromised by poor thermal storage.

High performance, low cost

The problem is that options for insulation materials are at present limited. A big gap exists between the expensive high performance materials such as aerogels and vacuum insulation panels, and the low cost materials which use poorly performing foams. The key objective of HIP is to introduce a novel insulation material that can provide the best of both worlds: high thermal resistance but at a cost close to insulating foams.

Innovative new class

HIP is achieving this objective by developing an innovative new class of polymer insulation material based on high internal phase emulsion (HIPE) templating. This will provide new, low cost, lightweight, highly insulating polymers for refrigerated transport, heating and cooling installations. While HIPE materials have been used in other applications they have never been used for high-performance insulation.

Precision engineering

The benefits of HIPE materials are that they allow close control over porosity, pore size distribution and mechanical properties. Because of this, HIP can precisely engineer the thermal properties of the material.

Saving over €50m

HIP aims to achieve a thermal conductivity of 0.015W/m.K at a cost of less than €500 per cubic metre. Compared to conventional foam insulation, the savings will be considerable. Estimated uptake in the refrigerated transport and solar thermal markets alone will reduce CO2 emission by over 200,000 tonnes by 2020, saving over €50m in energy costs.