This STES patent looks very interesting because they make a comparison with the best cellular glass today on the market at that time. Like we already mentioned in another post about NEOPORM, they claim the best quality without remelting the glass, which should induce a huge cost reduction.
I understood that it is possible to start from waste glass with different compositions. Water glass is added in a rather high percentage and the mixture is stirred. After some time, a gasifier, containing carbon (I gamble on glycerin) is added and the stirred mixture is heated to 530°C until all water has disappeared. The mixture is further ground to a fine powder with a maximum grain size of 15 micron. This powder is put in molds and heated to about 800°C for 90 minutes.
While for the highest quality cellular glass, it is needed to melt the recycled glass with additional raw materials, this patent discloses a method to obtain this quality without remelting at high temperatures. It is well known that a melting furnace is a huge investment and has only a short life between 5 and 15 years (depending on the oxidizing components in the glass) while the extra heating is about 1250-550°C=700°C. But we also know that the measured thermal conductivity depends strongly on the used methodology. I am not sure we are comparing the “same thermal conductivity”.
I would be surprised that Andrei’s patent is fake and therefore I am hopeful that cheaper high quality cellular glass can be put on the market while the investor will be pleased. On top of that, the problem of the unsorted piles of waste glass in Russia will be solved. In the next days, I will have a good translation of the patent.
The cold war has given us not only two very different cultures but also two different very competitive processes for cellular glass. And free competition is all what a fair market needs, although free is relative in this case, the patent is valid for another 10 years.