Following the funding granted to Active Aerogels, resulting from the 3rd evaluation of the PTTI program, a prototype has been built to demonstrate technology transfer of silica-based aerogels from the space sector to the pipeline industry.
A flexible, low thermal conductivity aerogel (Aeroflex) that is environmentally friendly as well as fire and corrosion resistant is very effective for thermal insulation in the temperature range from -200ºC to 350ºC. The aerogel material has been successfully encapsulated and applied to pipes with a diameter as low as 22 mm.
Comparison between Aeroflex and other pipeline insulation materials confirms the aerogel superior insulation performance for both hot and cold applications. In addition, the silica-based material is capable of withstanding cryogenic conditions without surface condensation, freezing, cracking or breaking.
This technology unveils remarkable technology and business opportunities such as:
• transport pipelines (e.g. oil and gas);
• cryogenic insulation systems (e.g. liquefied natural gas);
• industrial steam and process pipe work;
• high fire risk applications;
• specific applications for toxic and corrosive environments.
With Aeroflex, potential market applications will benefit from a highly efficient, safe and easily applicable insulation product to reduce energy losses, and therefore improve environmental sustainability of many industrial processes.