R25 Polyisocyanurate Composite Insulation Material

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R25 Polyisocyanurate Composite Insulation Material
R25 Polyisocyanurate Composite Insulation Material

Lead Performer: Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) - Oak Ridge, TN
-- NanoPore Inc. - Albuquerque, NM;
-- Firestone Building Products Company - Indianapolis, IN
DOE Funding: $1,463,000
Cost Share: $310,134
Project Term: October 2013 – September 2017
Funding Opportunity: Building Energy Efficiency Frontiers and Incubator Technologies (BENEFIT) - 2014 (DE-FOA-0001027)

Project Objective

The objective of this project is to develop 2-inch thick polyisocyanurate board insulation with modified atmosphere insulation (MAI) cores that have an R-value of 25 (R12/inch) and a cost premium of no more than $0.30 per square foot for a insulation material of equivalent R-value with a simple payback of 10 years. MAI is a lower-cost alternative to vacuum insulation, with similar performance (R35/inch). The cost target is expected to be refined during the project as the research work and technology-to-market analysis are performed.

The project team will develop a drop-in replacement for polyisocyanurate foam insulation that increases its R-value by a factor of 2. To accomplish this goal, production of MAI panels will be modified to produce the correct geometries, barrier materials will be evaluated that can handle the high temperatures developed during the exothermic reactions occurring during foaming process, and a mechanism to fix the panels within the foam core will be developed. Barrier films will be further evaluated to address the required longer service life of the polyisocyanurate foam board (up to 50 years), and a procedure to predict long-term performance will be developed. Foam boards will be designed so that MAI coverage is optimized to yield the desired R-value cost effectively, and foam flowability and processing to guarantee complete encapsulation of MAI panels will be addressed. Iterations will be made to the manufacturing process and the MAI-polyiso composite design to improve the overall performance (R-value and cost). In parallel with the research and development work, technology-to-market analysis will be performed to formulate a commercialization plan.

Project Impact

The new R12/inch insulation product would be attractive for applications where the thickness of the insulation is important. Two applications that would clearly benefit are wall sheathing and commercial roof retrofits. Based on the DOE Market Definition Calculator, ORNL estimates the total primary energy savings potential to be 1319 TBtu for retrofit-only commercial roof and residential wall applications. The estimates are based on numerical modeling of baseline reference following the 2006 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) and the same buildings retrofitted using the R25 MAI-polyisocyanurate composite insulation.


DOE Technology Manager: Karma Sawyer
Lead Performer: Andre Desjarlais and Kaushik Biswas, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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