Aerogel-it and Fibenol Collaborate for Sustainable Superinsulation
The founders of the Osnabrück-based startup aerogel-it have taken a technology originally developed by the chemical company BASF a step further. Together with cooperation partner Prof. Dr. Irina Smirnova from the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg and other partners, the young company is further developing the insulating material. A new generation of cost-efficient and intelligent aerogel production technology is to be created. With the highly efficient aerogel insulation material, which is also made of biological materials, the start-up from Osnabrück wants to contribute to decarbonization and energy efficiency in the building sector. The project is funded by the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU).
The collaboration with Fibenol has now enabled aerogel-it to develop a bioaerogel based on a new generation of lignin produced by Fibenol directly from biomass. Like established silica aerogel products, lignin bioaerogel offers superinsulation properties and reduces heat transfer within the tiny, nanometer-sized pores compared to conventional insulation materials. Lignin bioaerogel has a significantly lower CO2 footprint of up to 95% while being 100% bio-based. aerogel-it has undertaken research and development efforts to ensure the sustainability of its products by using raw materials from local natural and non-food sources.
The collaboration between aerogel-it and Fibenol is a good example for other companies that want to use biomaterials in their value chain. Even though the collaboration is still in its early stages and further research and development is needed, this is a great step forward for the industry. The use of these biomaterials can lead to more sustainable products with improved thermal insulation properties and lower carbon footprints. Companies should strive to use as much biomaterial as possible without compromising on product quality and sustainability. By using these biomaterials in their value chain, companies can reduce their environmental footprint and make a positive contribution to the green revolution.
Aerogel-it sees even more potential uses for its new superinsulation material than for building insulation: according to Fricke, the bio-superinsulation material from Osnabrück can also be used in refrigerators and functional clothing in the future. Depending on the application, the startup could produce powder, granules or boards. With the DBU funding, the five-member team wants to advance research and test prototypes. “We want to establish ourselves on the market as the world’s first bio aerogel company and serve our customers as quickly as possible,” says Dr. Marc Fricke, CEO and co-founder of aerogel-it. Next year, the company also plans to start up its own production facility in Wallenhorst in the district of Osnabrück. For this, aerogel-it is currently looking for investors.