Largest Pilot Plant for Bioaerogels Production

Largest Pilot Plant for Bioaerogels Production

Author: ChemistryViews

The largest pilot plant for the production of bio-aerogel has been built by aerogel-it GmbH at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH). Among other things, the new plant will be used to test ways of reducing the overall cost of industrial production of aerogels.

The plant will be used to develop new technologies for the production of aerogels in cooperation with industry and research. In addition, the plant’s operating data will be evaluated to reduce and optimize energy consumption and production costs in other new production facilities. According to initial estimates by project manager and process expert Alberto Bueno, aerogel-it GmbH, the pilot plant will consume up to twenty times less ethanol than the current production standard, significantly minimizing the cost of ethanol recovery, reducing the overall cost of aerogel production and significantly improving sustainability.

The total capacity of the plant is 150 L/day, making it the largest dedicated bioaerogel pilot plant in the world. It was designed and developed by the Institute of Thermal Process Engineering at TUHH, headed by Professor Irina Smirnova, in cooperation with aerogel-it GmbH. It is also part of the cluster “Contribution of Aerogel to the Increase of Energy Efficiency in Industry“, established in 2018. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) supports the work of the cluster in research projects and through the exchange in the energy research networks.

Aerogels were originally used in space travel. Today, they are used as thermal insulation for industrial plants and buildings, as well as carriers for catalysts and active ingredients. Dr. Marc Fricke, CEO of aerogel-it, explains: “Bioaerogels as superinsulation materials offer the best combination of maximized renewable content and highest energy efficiency in one product.”

The official inauguration of the plant took place during a meeting of the cluster “Contribution of aerogels to the improvement of energy efficiency in industry”, which was also attended by representatives of the BMWK and the Jülich Project Management Agency (PtJ).

Picture (left to right): Dr. Marc Fricke, CEO aerogel-it, Professor Irina Smirnova, TUHH and Cluster Coordinaor,
Professor Alexander Penn, TUHH, Dr. Pavel Gurikov, TUHH, und Alberto Bueno, aerogel-it.


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