Between Turkish building contractors, it is well known that today cellular glass with thermal conductivity 0.041 W/mK can be purchased with 57% discount on the offical price list. It was not clear whether the source is Chinese, European or American but it is important news. It seems that cellular glass as a niche product is almost dead and low margin mass production cellular glass is the future. I started this blog with the following mission: “It is our mission to lower the prices to make cellular glass available for a larger group of people.” and this seems to happen after less than 3 years.
In our view, GLAPOR cellular glass has contributed a lot in this price drop due the development of the following technologies:
- foaming recycled glass, unfit for botlle or flat glass production with a revolutionary recipe based on glycerin and water glass. This avoids the investment in and use of a glass melting furnace.
- continuous foaming of a 3m wide ribbon, approaching the final rectangular shape.
- direct grinding and sawing to larger dimensions (2.8 x 1.5 m) avoiding the use of an (organic) adhesive and paper to manufacture a (larger) sandwich with small cellular glass plates.
In our opinion after further R&D within 3 years, cellular glass, directly foamed from recycled glass (0.050 W/mK) will be sold at 150€/m³ while cellular glass with a special glass composition (ZES cellular glass = 0.040 W/mK) will be priced 200€/m³. To reduce labour cost, the low density boards will be generally sold with 80 x 120 cm (Europallet) dimensions. The mold process is obsolete and will disappear, except for extreme thicknesses (>20cm) and special shapes.
The melting furnace and grinding equipment are still a heritage from the bottle glass / cement industry. We expect that they will be replaced by a one step process reducing the energy consumption with about 50%. At the end, cellular glass will be a direct competitor of mineral wool at the same price level. We expect that the current price drop is only the start like small earth vibrations are announcing an earthquake.
But moreover, we expect that many cellular glass gravel production lines (700,000m³/year at 50€/m³) will be converted to board lines by adding an annealing furnace (CNUD EFCO) and finishing equipment increasing largely the production capacity of low priced cellular glass boards. We also expect that the smart glass recyclers will make the money with this evolution.