Inexpensive Aerogel Panes for Window Retrofit for ARPA-E SHIELD Project

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) announced in May that it was going to provide $31 million in funding for 14 projects as part of ARPA-E’s newest program: Single-Pane Highly Insulating Efficient Lucid Design (SHIELD). SHIELD project teams are developing innovative window coatings and windowpanes that could significantly improve the energy efficiency of existing single-pane windows in commercial and residential buildings.

ARPA-E has awarded one of these projects to a team led by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), including Fraunhofer CSE and the Missouri University of Science and Technology (MST). The VCU-led team is developing technologies that address shortcomings with manufacturing and using aerogel for window retrofits. They are modifying the chemistry and processing of nanoporous silica aerogels, to reduce the cost of their production and increase their transparency for use in window retrofits. The team will also crosslink aerogels to produce stronger, more durable aerogels. These innovations could result in better-performing, more affordable silica aerogels for window retrofits. The team also estimates that processing improvements could cut the cost of aerogels in half.


A. Native silica aerogel gel monolith, with a modulus < 1MPa. B. Aerogel (5 mm thick) crosslinked with polyurethane, with a modulus of 100 MPa.

About author
Lindsey Dillon is Fraunhofer CSE’s Marketing Manager. She is responsible for all marketing collateral and CSE’s outreach and social media communications.
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