Fraunhofer CSE Develops New PIR-based Aerogel Insulation with DOE Funding

A nanoporous aerogel sample synthesized using freeze-drying.

Buildings account for 40% of the energy consumption in the United States. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Building Technologies Office (BTO) announced that it is investing up to $15.8 million in 13 projects that will drive innovation in early-stage research and development for advanced building technologies and systems that will serve as a foundation for future technological developments and reductions in building energy consumption. Among the projects selected for funding is a Fraunhofer CSE project for a better, more affordable PIR-based insulation material for buildings. Read the U.S. Department of Energy Building Technologies Office (BTO) Press Release announcing the BENEFIT FOA awards on August 2, 2017.


Long-term thermal resistance measurements of plastic foams as per ASTM C1303.

In the project, Fraunhofer CSE and partner Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) will develop a new polyisocyanurate (PIR)-based aerogel insulation that is better, more affordable, and more robust than a conventional PIR foam. The project team will use a new low-capital intensive freeze-drying method to remove pore-filling solvents in the foam. Due to its nanoporous and open-cell structure as well as the lack of a blowing agent, the improved PIR-based aerogel foam will age better than existing PIR foam. The target R-value is R-12 per inch, almost twice as high R-value as a conventional PIR foam.

About author
Anne Williams is Fraunhofer CSE's Associate Marketing Manager. She works with the Center’s staff to foster CSE’s business relations and make its activities known to the public.
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