BASF Venture Capital GmbH, Ludwigshafen, has led a $21.5 million (about €15.7 million) round of investment in Aspen Aerogels Inc., Northborough, Massachusetts. Aspen supplies reinforced, nanoporous aerogel insulation products that are up to five times more effective than other insulation materials. The company’s solutions enable customers to conserve energy in a variety of industries including building and construction, chemicals, transportation and oil and gas .
The current round of financing also included RockPort Capital, Tenaya Capital, Reservoir Capital Group, Arcapita Ventures and Argonaut Private Equity, among others.
Aerogels are silica foams with nanoporous cavities that comprise 97% of their volume; thus earning them the name “solid air.” Aerogels have been known as extremely fragile and brittle materials. Aspen has succeeded in producing aerogels in the form of thin, flexible mats at acceptable cost. These blankets are more robust than the existing monoliths and spheres, and just as easy to process as any other flexible insulation material.
“High-performance insulation materials are the key technology for energy-efficient retrofitting of buildings,” said Bruce Christensen, Vice President Global Technology and Innovation Management at BASF Construction Chemicals. “These new materials are space-saving and give home owners more options in designing their house to suit their own tastes. Aspen technology can contribute in a major way to energy-efficient homes that also look good.”
“Aspen has done an excellent job in advancing aerogel technology for industrial applications,” said Dr. Oliver Guthmann, Investment Manager at BASF Venture Capital. “We see an additional very large market potential and further opportunities for profitable growth in the construction industry.” Aspen Aerogels products are already in use at BASF, for example at the Antwerp site.
“We are pleased to have developed a strong technical, commercial, and financial partnership with BASF,” said Don Young, CEO of Aspen Aerogels. “The global building and construction market offers a significant opportunity for aerogel technology and BASF and Aspen will join forces to target and rapidly penetrate the European market. ”