Innovative heat insulating material for housing “Ecopalton”, matted cellulose fiberT・D・R Corp
Research for Ecopalton was conducted through the “Waste Paper Activation Project”. It took 18 years to develop the produce
Points to be noted
- Solutions to overcome the weaknesses of current products
- A new invention, obtained by combining existing technologies, which is the world's first
- Took up the challenge of one issue for 18 years without giving up
In recent years, global warming is considered to be a problem, and Japan is promoting housing supplies that are highly energy efficient. In Japanese households, air conditioning accounts for most of the energy consumption. Even then, heat insulation performance of residential homes in Japan is inferior compared to other developed countries.
Considering that many people die due to heatstroke and heat shock each year, it can be said that strengthening heat insulation and energy saving in housing and buildings are issues that cannot be avoided anymore.
Various heat insulating materials used for housing in Japan have their advantages and disadvantages making it difficult for the average consumer to select the correct material. For example, glass wool (Glass processed at a high temperature and manufactured into fibers) is a heat insulating material of relatively low cost commonly used for housing in Japan, and its weakness is vulnerability to moisture and inability to demonstrate its intrinsic heat insulation performance after it absorbs a large amount of moisture. Foamed plastic heat insulating materials such as urethane and polystyrene tend to spread flames once they catch fire, and produce fluorocarbons on burning which have a high greenhouse effect and toxic cyanogen gas. They are also petroleum products that become industrial waste after decomposition, and the development of alternative products was needed.
Ecopalton” is a product that solves all the weaknesses of such current heat insulating materials. The fibers of waste paper such as newspapers are cut and agitated, and the cotton-like cellulose fibers are molded into mat shape, and its strengths include heat insulation performance and additional functions such as flame retardance, sound insulation, humidity control, and insect repellency. Boric acid is added as a flame retardant, and even when directly heated with a gas burner, only the surface is carbonized without spreading the flames. It is also environmentally friendly as waste paper is the primary raw material used.
Heat insulating materials made of cellulose fibers have been widely used overseas as materials with high insulating and soundproofing effect, but they have not gained popularity in Japan due to reasons such as the workers require specialized training. Ecopalton is an innovative product that significantly improves workability through its matting.
The technology that made matting possible is called “Radio Wave Thermoforming Process”. Low melting point short fiber binders such as polyester is added to the cellulose fibers, and they are hardened with exposure to microwaves. This is the first time that the matting of cellulose fiber has been successful in the world, and the manufacturing method has been patented (Patent No. 64022299). A factory was established in Saitama Prefecture and the system for the mass production and stable supply of products was set up, and full-scale sales commenced from December 2018. The company is seeking partners for establishing production centers across Japan with the goal of local production for local consumption.
If a mistake is made while selecting heat insulating material, it will have a significant impact on housing performance and safety. One of the issues they want to address is to increase customer awareness regarding the importance of choosing heat insulation materials.
Incidentally, the development of this product started with the “Waste Paper Activation Project” that was launched in 2000 with the philosophy “Save Earth from Environmental Destruction”. The establishment of technologies for the fibrillation of waste paper with almost no use of water and for the separation of paper cellulose from the film of paper containers used for food products that are usually processed as combustible garbage, with the involvement of various corporate groups working on environmental problems led to the development of this product.
■Manufacturer of Ecopalton
Far Eastern Ishizuka Green PET Corporation
2-8-4 Tamagawacho, Akishima-shi, Tokyo, 196-0034
Interview Date: January 9, 2019
We have succeeded in producing molded mats by turning waste paper into wet cellulose and adding fireproof properties with self-developed pulp defibrators, which were patented as No.6402299. Also, we have developed environmentally friendly material with flame retardant, soundproof, humidity control, and insect-repellent properties. We will strive to promote plant-derived pulp products instead of CO2-emitting plastic.
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