BASF has recently announced start up of its new 90,000 mtpa plant to produce expandable polystyrene (EPS) insulation material Neopor® in Ludwigshafen, Germany. In contrast to the suspension method employed so far, the new plant uses extrusion process which the company says will yield more uniformly sized granules and permit a targeted setting of the panel properties, e.g. compression resistance. As per the company, the insulating capacity of Neopor is up to 20% better than that of Styropor® (EPS), thus contributing to energy efficiency and the reduction of CO2 emissions. In Germany, about 30% of all EPS-based insulating materials are currently used in new buildings, while 70% go into renovation projects which are projected to touch 75% by 2012.
The gray Neopor is the refinement of the classic insulating material Styropor. It contains special graphite particles that reflect thermal radiation like a mirror, thus reducing heat losses in houses. BASF customers foam the Neopor granules and process them into insulating panels and molded parts that are then used to insulate exterior walls, roofs and floors. Insulating materials made of Neopor not only meet the standards for passive house construction but they also save at least 30% of the energy needed to cool residential buildings in warm climates.