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Insulation nanomaterials for energy-efficient refrigerators

Thermal insulation in refrigerators boosts energy efficiency and reduces their environmental impact. EU-funded scientists successfully developed new nanoporous materials for an insulation technology called vacuum insulated panel (VIP) demonstrating energy savings of up to 30 %.
Insulation nanomaterials for energy-efficient refrigerators
Refrigerators may seem like simple appliances, but the inner workings are becoming more sophisticated. A VIP is an ultra-thin insulant that can be 10 times more effective than traditional insulation products. It consists of a nearly gas-tight enclosure surrounding a rigid, highly porous core material from which air has been evacuated to prevent outside gases from entering the panel.

Commonly used core materials such as silica-based powders and glass wool make up the largest part of the total cost of a VIP. To address this, the EU-funded project NANOPOROUSVIP (Development of nano-porous materials for the production of vacuum insulation panels (VIPs)) developed cost-effective nanoporous materials with excellent insulation properties that can be used as the insulation fillers in VIPs.

Scientists prepared nanoporous silica materials using triblock self-assembled polymers. Then, the nanomaterial was mixed with low-cost silica-based materials such as fly ash, diatoms and perlite to prepare a low-cost VIP core material with high thermal insulation properties.

Using nanoporous materials, the team reduced the cost of VIPs by approximately 70 % without sacrificing thermal insulation properties. About 60 billion kWh could be saved each year by replacing old refrigerators with new more energy-efficient ones using VIPs.

Related information

Keywords

Insulation, energy-efficient, refrigerators, nanoporous materials, vacuum insulated panel, NANOPOROUSVIP
Record Number: 190833 / Last updated on: 2017-01-12
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