Increasing energy efficiency in industry

Part of Today in the Lab – Tomorrow in Energy?

Today in the Lab – Tomorrow in Energy? shines a spotlight on research projects under development in the Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs). Learn more about the initiative, read the launch commentary, or explore the TCPs.

Developing a vacuum super insulation material that will enable waste heat to be stored and reused later in industrial processes

What is the aim of this project?

Many industrial processes require high temperatures, which take a lot of energy to produce. Of the vast amounts of waste heat produced through these processes, a significant amount is reusable. The aim of this project is to develop a vacuum super insulation (VSI) material that will enable waste heat to be stored and reused later in industrial processes more efficiently. The VSI technology is able to reduce thermal conductivity 4 to 10 times compared with conventional insulation materials and can also be used to reduce thermal losses in technical equipment.

How could this technology be explained to a high school student?

A special vacuum insulating panel for high-temperature use (up to 600°C) is being developed for use in mobile, module-based systems to enable the storage and ultimate re-use of excess heat from high-temperature industrial processing.

What is the value of this project for society?

  • stores and recycles heat that would otherwise be wasted
  • provides a mobile, container-housed storage system for thermal energy
  • is cost efficient and easy to scale up
  •  consumes less energy due to better insulation
  • takes up less space than conventional insulation

At what stage of development is this project?

The project began at the end of 2018 and has almost finished designing the VSI material for its temperature range. The first demonstration VSI panels have been produced. Next, a mobile high-temperature heat storage unit insulated with these panels will be tested to determine stored energy amount, loading performance and temperature-dependent cooling rate. The stored heat from this tests is used in a drying process for recycling glass.

What government policies could bring this from the lab to the market?

  • pricing waste heat
  • increasing emissions trading systems prices
  • revising the emission trading system
  • implementing stricter regulations for energy management in industrial processes, similar to EnEff in Germany for buildings

Vacuum insulation panel (top ©va-Q-tec) and mobile storage unit (bottom ©Kraftblock).

Partners and funders


  • ZAE Bayern (co-ordinator)
  • VA-Q-tec AG (partner)
  • Kraftblock/Verallia/Lungmuß (associated partners).


  • German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (represented by the Projektträger Jülich).

Learn more

About the Technology Collaboration Programme on Energy Storage (Energy Storage TCP)

Established in 1978, the Energy Storage TCP facilitates research, development, implementation and integration of energy storage technologies to optimise the energy efficiency of all kinds of energy systems and enable the increasing use of renewable energy. The Energy Storage TCP enables high-level co-ordination in research, development, dissemination and market deployment of energy storage solutions.