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H2020

ECOAEROGEL Report Summary

Project ID: 728161

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ECOAEROGEL (Silica aerogel highly resistant to extreme temperatures made from rice husk ashes)

Reporting period: 2016-06-01 to 2016-08-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

NAM’s team, 34 years’ experience, knows from 1st-hand the global need to develop insulation materials with improved performance: wider temperatures range resistant than current insulators (based on energy efficiency demand) as well as a sustainable and ecological production, a cost-effective measure to combat climate change. EcoAerogel project goal is to bring a solution for this uncovered problem: the need to have an insulating material that outmatches high temperature resistance of all current insulators including existing aerogels (which cannot resist more than 650°C). Our EcoAerogel can withstand up to 1,000°C (i.e. 350°C more than the rest), being the unique isolating material (including other aerogels) that without any blending provides full protection to fire and extremely high temperatures. Additional features are its resistivity to cold temperatures (up to -200°C), extremely low thermal conductivity (0.021 w/m·K), extremely light (very low density, 0.05-0.1 kg/l), and the “ecological and safe” nature of its production and processing: Bio-based insulation materials synthetized from rice husk ash and 100% recoverable.
Through Phase 2, we aim to: 1st) successfully test our macro pilot plant of 50,000 l/year of aerogel particles and 12,000 panels/year (TRL7), and 2nd) scale it up to an industrial scale of 600,000 l particles/year+ 96,000 panels/year capacity of production, demonstrating target performances of EcoAerogel products under an industrial context (TRL9). EcoAerogel will be launched into the EU market by 2020 as specialty for 5 target markets: High Thermal Insulation, construction; marine, aerospace & automotive; technical clothing and fire resistant. NAM will sell 3 types of products: 1) insulating paste, 2) blankets and panels with our commercial partner Agosti Nanotherm and Ecofine, and 3) Particles, the raw material sold directly to industrial manufacturers or by means of distributors. We will launch a competitive, good quality-price raw particles (expected price 3,5 €/liter), for panels/blankets NAM will develop a commercial strategy with Agosti Nanotherm and Ecofine, who will give us commercial support, making use of their wide network worldwide we will expand our presence in European countries.
NAM will increase its personnel in 4 employees, and its total sales projection will be worth €8,8M, and €2,86 M of net profit in the first 3 years’ commercialization. EcoAerogel profitability its demonstrated with a 46,4% of ROI.

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

The main objective of this Feasibility study (FS) was to ensure that EcoAerogel meets the technical, commercial and financial requirements for its successful implementation and commercialization.
Main results are: 1) Optimize & validate refrigeration door prototype: the first fire resistant test showed successful results, objective REI45 was fully achieved for the door. 2) Key partner search: as a startup company is building a customer’s network with commercial partners: a) Agosti Nanotherm and Ecofine will distribute panels & blankets worldwide, b) NAM is reaching end users as e.g.: Mapei, Posa (Reda Group), Watly, Vibram, Thermore, to sign commercial agreements, c) Dr. Gautschi will join NAM team as sales manager, through his company, WGW (specialized on marketing into Pharma & Chemicals’ agency services), he has already a wide customers network worldwide. Its main technical partners are: a) University of Pavia: where NAM head office is located and whose NAM’s team belongs to, b) CWP srl is subcontracted for the engineering design and construction of the macro pilot plant and also during Phase 2 for the upscaling of the industrial plant. 3) Define potential lines of production: during NAM’s first 3 years of production we will be focused in 3 main products: 1) aerogel particles, 2) Insulation paste and 3) Blankets & Panels. 4) Market analysis: we will focus on 5 target markets: High Thermal Insulation (HTI), construction; marine, aerospace & automotive; technical clothing and fire resistant.
5) Commercialization strategy is based on customizing EcoAerogel solutions for our 5 different market segments, though developing R&D joint products, and commercial alliances with distributors. 6) End users survey: among surveyed end user’s main sectors of application would be HTI and construction. And our main barrier of commercialization is the selling price. Our unique selling points have been recognized as matchless high temperature resistant, hydrophilic properties, and being a sustainable & recyclable product. All surveyed companies are interested in testing our product.
6) Patentability study: we confirm a freedom to operate analysis and Intellectual Protection Strategy to protect EcoAerogel technology and trademark. 7)Production and operation cost analysis: a detailed cost breakdown and sales forecast was conducted to confirm the profitability of our project.

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)

EcoAerogel is a new type of silica-aerogel that outmatches high temperature resistance of all current insulators, including existing aerogels which cannot resist more than 650°C. Our aerogel can withstand up to 1,000°C (i.e. 350°C more than competitors) without significant changes, being the unique isolating material (including other aerogels) that with or without any blending provides full protection to fire and extremely high temperatures. Also its “ecological and safe” nature of its production and processing: Bio-based insulation materials synthetized from rice husk ash (RHA, an abundant, renewable and cheap agriculture residue), and 100% recoverable makes the EcoAerogel a sustainable product with unmatchable performance in the market.
EcoAerogel and its synthesis contribute to a cradle-to-cradle approach in line with the new EU Action Plan for Circular Economy and “Green economy” that includes: 1) benefits and incentives for producers to manage waste as a resource (as RHA). 2) we help to comply with EU recovery and recycling Directives, and the Landfill Directive which sets a target 35% reduction of biodegradable waste. 3) EcoAerogel promotes EU objectives related to sustainable consumption and production and contributes to EU strategic goal, by 2050, to grow in a way that respects resource constraints and planetary boundaries, thus contributing to global economic transformation. All resources are sustainably managed, from raw materials to energy, water, air, land and soil.
Our objective is to commercialize a total of 1,78 M of litters of EcoAerogel particles between macro pilot and industrial plant, 251,000 units of panels /blankets, 3870 litters of NAM insulating paste, from 2018 to 2022. NAMs turnover will rise up in 2022 (3rd commercialization year) € 3,268 M, and profit will significantly increase up to €1,21M, x16 times higher than profit foreseen in 2019 without selling EcoAerogel (73,405€). We calculate to increase our revenue yearly, up to € 8,81 M in the first 3 years, it will come from the following sources: 1) EcoAerogel particles (€ 6,23 M), panels /blankets (€ 2,07 M), NAM insulating paste (€ 15,660). Our profit margin will increase from 19% in 2020, to 37% in the 3rd year of commercialization. NAM profitability is measured and proven by ROI index, 46.6% and payback period of 2 years. We expect to increase our personal in at least 4 additional people; 1 product specialist, 1 proposer/seller, 2 administration assistants.

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