- Through the joint development of the Ecoflex VIP, Uponor and va-Q-tec now offer a highly insulated piping system.
- Maximum energy efficiency and enormous flexibility are no longer mutually exclusive thanks to the innovative product design and highest quality materials.
- Ecoflex VIP reduces heat losses in local heating networks by up to 60% and can be installed in a space-saving manner thanks to its small outer diameter.
- A new level of energy efficiency is elevated for local and district heating networks.
va-Q-tec, pioneer of highly efficient thermal insulation solutions, and Uponor, one of the world’s leading suppliers of systems for hygienic drinking water installation, has developed an innovative insulated system for local heating networks called the Uponor Ecoflex VIP. The system impresses with a number of advantages: it has the best insulation value on the market for insulated pipes thanks to the integration of vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) from va-Q-tec. Thanks to its high flexibility, it can be installed much faster than comparable systems. It also reduces CO2 emissions. The new generation of pipes is now available throughout Europe. However, the product launch is just the starting signal for further joint product developments.
In the case of conventionally insulated pipelines, a fundamental decision often has to be made: Should time and costs be saved during installation by using particularly flexible material? Or should a long-term investment be made in energy-efficient pipe systems, which often have a wide diameter and are more difficult to install due to their greater rigidity? The innovative Ecoflex VIP system solves this conflict: in addition to unique insulation properties, it offers exceptional flexibility using vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) from va-Q-tec. This shortens the installation time by more than half compared to other systems.
The thermal conductivity of VIP insulation, called the lambda value, is extremely low 0.004W/mK. This is made possible by va-Q-tec’s vacuum insulation technology. The flexibly formable panels have an insulation value ten times better than conventional insulation materials. As a result, energy losses are reduced by up to 60% compared to conventional soft foam-insulated pipes (for comparable outer diameters). Compared with rigid foam insulated PUR systems, the difference is around 38%. This extraordinary energy efficiency and ecological advantages are emphasized by the climate-neutral production of the VIPs. In addition, Ecoflex VIP contains fewer fossil raw materials due to the panels being manufactured from environmentally compatible material.
VIP technology will also be used in other Uponor products in the future. The Ecoflex Aqua VIP system for flexible, energy-efficient and sustainable insulation of drinking water pipes will be launched in April 2021.
The European Union is to be climate-neutral by 2050. “Local heating is considered an important set screw to achieve zero emissions. In addition, this type of decentralized heat supply reduces the effort and cost of operating and maintaining individual heat generators for property users,” says Thomas Raadts, Vice President BLD-E Marketing and Development at Uponor. “After intensive research and joint product development with va-Q-tec – the leading industry expert in insulation materials – we are thoroughly pleased to now be able to present Ecoflex VIP, a new standard. I am certain that this technology will make a significant contribution to curbing climate change and achieving global sustainability goals.”
Dr. Joachim Kuhn, CEO and founder of va-Q-tec, is also proud of the joint product development: “With this special partnership, we have once again been able to show how versatile the technology of vacuum insulation can be used and how many benefits result from its application – for our partners, for the end user and ultimately for the environment! We are constantly developing our manufacturing processes and can thus guarantee the perfect material composition for every product. Together with Uponor, we have done some real pioneering work, which will now pay off in the local heating sector, as well as in the supply of hot drinking water.”