Va-Q-tec, Hutchinson to jointly develop thermal solutions for aircraft, electric vehicles
Va-Q-tec, pioneer of highly efficient products and solutions in the field of thermal insulation, and Hutchinson have joined forces to jointly develop high-performance, super-efficient insulation solutions to improve the thermal management of airplanes and (electric) vehicles. Within the framework of this cooperation, both companies intend to combine their complementary skills as well as their respective unique technology expertise. The cooperation opens the opportunity for va-Q-tec’s vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) to tap into the automotive and aerospace industries worldwide for the first time with the help of Hutchinson’s development and sales platform with over 100 locations and more than 28,000 employees.
As part of the cooperation, va-Q-tec’s VIPs will be combined with Hutchinson’s products in various research and development projects to produce battery and cabin insulation for the automotive and aircraft industries, respectively, which not only provide optimum insulation but also meet all fire protection requirements. With our French partner, the aim is to make the future of automotive, aviation and rail transportation more energy-efficient, safer, more comfortable and more sustainable because the importance of insulating modern cars and aircraft is increasing significantly in energy efficiency requirements.
The basic element of the key technology brought into the partnership by va-Q-tec is VIPs, which transfer the principle of the thermos flask into a panel form. This creates a highly efficient insulating material that insulates 10 times better than conventional materials. For example, a 2mm thick VIP is equivalent to a 20mm layer of fiber or foam insulation. This makes them ideal for installation in modern e-vehicles, where highly efficient, super-slim insulation is needed in both the body and engine compartments where space is at a premium. In conventional combustion engines, waste heat from the engine is used to provide air conditioning to the driver’s cabin. In electric vehicles, poor thermal management significantly reduces the performance of the vehicle’s battery because the heating or air conditioning system is also powered by it. By installing the VIP insulation, the range of the vehicle can thus be increased by up to 30 percent.
va-Q-tec is active in the mobility industry for several years with its insulation solutions and developed a globally unique and new technology portfolio for these activities, ranging from super-thin VIPs in 3D shapes to non-combustible products. In various projects, the company’s innovative technology has already been able to prove its optimal suitability. It has been shown that the energy efficiency and the range of e-cars is significantly improved by using environmentally friendly VIPs because less energy is extracted from the battery for heating and air conditioning the vehicles. This not only extends their range but the climate inside the vehicle’s cabin improves noticeably as well. Aircraft also benefits from the insulation of passenger cabins with VIPs from va-Q-tec. Due to their highly efficient insulation performance, low weight and small footprint, they offer countless possibilities, such as space savings and significantly improved climate comfort.
By insulating the aircraft fuselage with VIPs, any thermal problems that arise can be solved. It would also be conceivable to maximize the size of the interior to provide more space for passengers or offer more seats.
Jacques Maigné, Hutchinson CEO said, “This partnership is a great opportunity for both companies to develop even further their expertise and to share knowledge about technologies and markets. Thermal management, one of our key expertise at Hutchinson, is a strategic topic for future mobility, Hutchinson’s teams have been working on this for several years now to meet vehicles electrification challenges. I am confident that the collaboration between va-Q-tec and Hutchinson will bring efficient solutions for automotive and aerospace challenges.”
Dr. Joachim Kuhn, CEO and founder of va-Q-tec, added, “As a very important supplier to the automotive and aerospace industry, Hutchinson is more than just a door opener for va-Q-tec, but a great technology partner. In return, Hutchinson will benefit from our unique expertise in high-tech insulation. Together, we will develop vehicle insulation and fire protection solutions that will make tomorrow’s mobility not only more energy efficient but also more comfortable. I see modern thermal architecture as one of the most essential keys to energy efficiency in future vehicles.”