The EU Commission is demanding drastic improvement in the carbon dioxide emissions of buildings. The aim is to reduce the emissions from office buildings and private buildings in Europe by 90% by 2050 (compared to the situation in 1990). In order to achieve this challenging goal, more effective insulation systems are vital.
Reduced thickness and better insulating performance
So-called vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) have shown much promise for the energetic optimization of buildings. VIPs are highly efficient and provide extremely high heat insulation at minimal thickness. The key to their high insulation is the vacuum inside the VIPs. Moreover, the high barrier film that is used minimizes the permeation of oxygen and water vapor, so retaining the insulating effect.
However, the high cost of VIPs has up until now restricted their use to just a few applications. In order to make VIPs accessible to a much larger market, the INNOVIP project is developing lower cost and even more efficient VIPs.
Lower cost and more efficient high-barrier films for VIPs
With in-depth knowledge of barrier films, the Fraunhofer IVV is developing high-barrier films having fewer layers and using more environmentally friendly processes. For example, toluene has been successfully replaced by an environmentally friendly solvent in a PVdC barrier formulation. With PVdC the barrier of metalized films is improved by up to 7-fold. Customization of the layer sequence also suppresses the corrosion of nanoscale aluminum barrier layers in the laminates. Consequently the water vapor barrier is 3 to 4 times better than for bi-laminates without PVdC. Compared to conventional tri-laminates for VIPs the water vapor barrier is a factor of 2 to 3 better, for equivalent adhesion of the individual layers.
Our findings enable the cost of manufacturing high-barrier films for VIPs to be considerably reduced.
Other applications of VIPs
Vacuum insulation panels can be used in any situation where there is limited space for insulation materials. For example, they can be used not only in the construction industry and for building restoration but also for fridges and freezers, for thermal packaging for the pharmaceutical industry, and in cars and aircraft.