GERMANY: Liebherr-Hausgeräte is set to introduce a series of domestic fridge freezers employing a vacuum and lava stones as an energy efficient, recyclable insulation.
Liebherr claims that its soon to be introduced BluRoX fridge freezer using finely ground lava stone – the raw material perlite – will be a quantum leap in energy efficiency, enabling models to achieve energy efficiency class A and B in accordance with EU legislation.
Due to its crystalline microstructure, perlite has a very low thermal conductivity, and the vacuum provides the best possible insulation in terms of energy, says Liebherr.
“For a family with a 350-litre freezer, the annual power consumption for the appliance could be reduced by up to 20%,” claims Liebherr-Hausgeräte MD Steffen Nagel.
In addition, the new insulation enables a very compact design. With the walls of a BluRoX freezer about one third thinner than the walls of a conventional foam insulated appliance, a 25% greater capacity is achieved compared to fridge freezers with the same external dimensions.
The lava stone perlite can also be easily removed and re-introduced into the manufacturing cycle, enabling it to be re-used in new equipment without significant processing. The BluRoX insulation is not bonded to the surrounding components, so the outer shell and inner container can easily be re-processed and re-used.
It is described as a naturally renewable raw material, as only a small area is required for mining, which can then be restored to its natural state. Liebherr sources perlite from Europe and then processes it at its production site in Ochsenhausen.