A review of the embodied energy values of the various building materials shows that the embodied energy of the most widely used insulation materials in construction applications is characterised by very high values. This mainly results either from the energy intensive conditions applied for the manufacturing of the mineral based insulation materials or from the high embodied energies of the oil-based raw materials used for the production of the organic based ones. Moreover, conventional insulating materials can suffer from various disadvantages including not stable thermal and acoustic performance overtime, combustibility, shrinkage and settling, and pollution of the indoor building environment. In this frame the objective of the project is the development of a new generation of inorganic insulation materials and building insulation masonry components, that will have 70 – 90% lower embodied energy, 25 - 30% lower unit cost, than the synthetic organic and mineral based ones, like EPS, XPS, Stone and Glass Wool, and at the same time they will not present their technical, health and/or environmental drawbacks. New formulations and products will be called “3I” materials, since they will be Inorganic, Insulating and Incombustible.
This objective will be achieved through the development of innovative technological routes for the production of the 3I materials, combining: a) use of appropriate inert, natural alumino-silicate raw materials, originating from “zero-embodied energy” wastes of industrial mineral exploitation (i.e. perlite, bentonite, amorphous silica and other volcanic minerals) and other industrial wastes and by-products; b) application of novel low energy consuming synthesis processes based on inorganic polymerisation and thermal expansion that take advantage of the unique and favourable chemical and mineralogical composition of the above wastes; and c) addition of appropriate mineral by-products (fluxes) that easily react with the above wastes through highly exothermic reactions forming inert stable structures.
The assessment of the environmental sustainability of each one of the new insulation components will be performed with life cycle assessment studies.
Call for proposal
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Funding SchemeCP-IP - Large-scale integrating project
1880 Kapelle Op Den Bos