Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology

, Volume 89, Issue 2, pp 436–447 | Cite as

Taylor-made aerogels through a freeze-drying process: economic assessment

  • Carolina Simón-Herrero
  • Amaya Romero
  • Fernando Dorado
  • Ignacio Gracia
  • Jose Luis Valverde
  • Luz Sanchez-SilvaEmail author
Original Paper: Industrial and technological applications of sol-gel and hybrid materials


Polymer aerogels reinforced with carbon nanofibers and alumina aerogels reinforced with hydroxyethyl-cellulose have been successfully synthesized by means of a pilot plant freeze-drying process. Their main physicochemical properties have been measured and compared, and their production costs have been computed. The SWOT matrix of the process has been determined from internal and external analyses, revealing the interest of these products as building insulation materials and the need of establishing a detailed economic analysis. A homemade Excel-VBA application was designed in order to determine the economic parameters of the freeze-drying process. As a consequence of the total economic and physicochemical analysis, it was concluded that the production of aerogels reinforced with hydroxyethyl-cellulose could only be recommended if they are used as an insulating material in buildings with higher thermal stability requirements.


  • Different types of aerogels have been successfully synthesised at pilot plant scale.

  • Excel-VBA application was designed to determine the economic feasibility of the freeze-drying.

  • Investment analysis and financial ratios demonstrated the interest of the polymeric aerogels.

  • Aerogels reinforced with carbon nanofibers are recommended as insulating materials.


Freeze-drying Economic analysis Financial ratios Building insulation 



The present work was performed within the framework of the NANOLEAP project. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under Grant Agreement No. 646397.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


We must indicate that this is an authors’ original work, which has not been published elsewhere and is not under consideration for publication. The content of this work is approved by all the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolina Simón-Herrero
    • 1
  • Amaya Romero
    • 1
  • Fernando Dorado
    • 1
  • Ignacio Gracia
    • 1
  • Jose Luis Valverde
    • 1
  • Luz Sanchez-Silva
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of Castilla La ManchaCiudad RealSpain

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