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VIPACO Report Summary

Project ID: 697956

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - VIPACO (Increase Energy Efficiency rates in buildings and white goods through advanced Vacuum Insulation Panels Quality Control)

Reporting period: 2015-08-01 to 2016-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Vacuum Insulation Panels (VIPs) are considered to be one of the most efficient insulation materials known today. Nowadays, the majority of VIP producers cannot control the quality of VIPs during or after the production adequately. In addition, users cannot monitor the quality of VIPs after they have been installed into end applications. The project VIPACO aims to develop an advanced technique for measurement of quality of VIPs. VIPACO technology enables to control the quality of VIPs at the end production, during storage, logistics and while installed in end applications for many years. The ability to monitor the quality of VIPs during the whole life-cycle of VIPs and consequently the ability to monitor the quality of insulation of the end applications will have a huge impact on all stakeholders in the whole VIP chain.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

We have designed a system for wireless and contactless detection of quality of Vacuum Insulation Panels (VIPs). The system consists of a sensor, which is built into VIP before it is vacuumed and sealed. The sensor, when activated, is charged by the external reader via RF (Radio Frequency) communication and in parallel measures the mass of molecules inside the VIP. The mass of molecules shows the level of vacuum and consequently the level of quality of VIPs. The external reader reads the information from the sensors and displays to users the level of vacuum inside VIPs.

Several field tests with different VIPs (different stuffing material, different foil) were performed. All tests show that we are able to measure the pressures as low as 1 Pa. But the system is not capable of just measuring the pressure inside VIPs. It can also be used for measuring the pressure inside other environments. Although in this case, some modifications of the system are necessary. The measurement is quick (a matter of few seconds), non-invasive (does not have any impact on the environment) and contactless (no contact with the surface of interior of VIPs is necessary). Therefore we can say that the method is revolutionary and is technologically advanced in comparison to other existing methods of measurement of quality of VIPs.

The global market for VIP production and usage has been thoroughly analysed. The main VIP usage segments are white goods industry, building industry and transportation industry. Cost-benefit analysis of the market penetration has been performed in order to determine the ROI by following a specific marketing and market penetration plan.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

VIP producers can expect the VIPACO system to indirectly influence on energy, material and production savings, which will eventually foster cheaper production of VIPs. Furthermore, the quality of VIPs will be able to be monitored during the logistic manipulation preventing that bad quality VIPs step into the next process of usage. Also, this will eventually lead to reduced logistic costs in VIP business. And finally, the users will be able to monitor the quality of their application insulation and if bad, they will be able to plan and do the maintenance which will cause at the end lower costs for heating and cooling in white goods, building and transportation industry. All listed features will have a great impact on energy savings and reduced carbon footprint. Currently, the system has successfully passed the proof of concept and real field tests with the prototypes.

Finally, our ambition is to offer to the market the Best Available Technology (BAT) in this segment and that this technology becomes a widely accepted method for determining the quality of VIPs. Users of the system will have numerous advantages. The main advantage will be the ability to monitor the insulation capabilities of the insulation material (VIP) and consequently to control the energy consumption for heating or cooling in white goods, building and transportation industry.

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