Development of a new sustainable insulation material to reduce heat losses

The objective was to find a suitable eco-friendly material with potential to replace the polyurethane that is currently used as insulation material in piping systems. For this purpose cellulose high porous materials based on nanocellulose with different formulations have been produced in order to select the most suitable one in terms of insulation properties. An insulation material with low thermal conductivity covering the pipe prevents heat losses, improving the overall efficiency of the heating system.

Reducing heat losses and the substitution of not degradable material with eco-friendly ones not only contribute to achieve a better efficiency in the heating system but also minimize the environmental impact of the materials used in district heating and cooling technology.

To obtain the high porous nanocellulose based material, firstly a hydrogel was prepared then freezed with liquid nitrogen, and subsequently dried by freeze-drying. Finally, the obtained porous materials were characterized, and values of thermal conductivity, density, structural morphology and mechanical compression were obtained.

Image of the different pieces of foams obtained

 

Electron microscopy images of sample 119

 

Improvement in the thermal conductivity value and heat flux for the new insulation material based on nanocellulose foam compared to PUR.