Climate protection in food refrigeration: Vacuum insulation panels (VIP) with silica from Evonik

The ideal solution for ascending to higher energy efficiency classes: Vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) with silica from Evonik harbor great potential for the next generation of environmentally friendly supermarket cabinets.

The growing demand for refrigerated foods is fueling higher energy consumption and space requirements. Therefore, the retail sector needs energy-efficient and space-saving refrigerated cabinets and counters. Vacuum insulation panels with silica from Evonik lower energy costs and help protect the climate by guaranteeing the very best thermal insulation with low wall thicknesses – thereby allowing manufacturers of supermarket cabinets to advance their devices to higher energy efficiency classes.

Today, refrigerated goods already take up 21% of sales area on average, and the industry expects the cooled product ranges to expand further still. It is therefore no surprise that refrigeration technology makes up an average of 40% of installation costs and accounts for almost half of energy consumption in the food retail sector. These figures are from the “Cooling Technology in Food Retailing 2021” („Kältetechnik im Lebensmittelhandel 2021“) study by the EHI Retail Institute in Cologne, which surveyed refrigeration technology managers from 22 leading food companies in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. At the same time, the retail sector is working to massively reduce its energy consumption and improve its carbon footprint.

In the European Union, electrical devices have to be certified with the new EU energy efficiency label since March 2021. This categorizes the devices into the efficiency classes A (highest efficiency) to G (lowest efficiency) and indicates the annual energy consumption and, in the case of supermarket cabinets, the storage capacity.

These new rules are so strict that a lot of refrigerating appliances that were previously among the best in the class with a rating of A+++ have now dropped to class C. Of course, the EU setting the bar higher also creates an incentive for manufacturers to develop innovative, climate-friendly technologies. The new Ecodesign Directive entered force at the same time; this aims to ensure that equipment is designed in a more environmentally friendly manner, taking into account their reparability and recyclability alongside their energy efficiency.

Both EU Directives also apply for “refrigerating appliances with a direct sales function.” This category includes freezers and refrigerators, as well as beverage coolers in supermarkets. Their purpose is to present food so that it is clearly arranged, attractive and readily available for customers while reliably cooling the products within; at the same time, however, they should use as little energy as possible. Although open refrigerated counters are increasingly being replaced by supermarket cabinets with glass covers, the loss of energy due to the large glass surfaces and the frequent opening and closing of doors remains a challenge in terms of energy management. Another approach for achieving energy efficiency is improved insulation – for example with vacuum insulation panels (VIPs) with an insulating core made out of silica from Evonik.


Silica is a natural component of rock and sand. Evonik manufactures different types of silica with specific properties for various industrial applications.


A support core made from compressed silica powder is shrink-wrapped in a multi-layer special film. Insulation panels filled with fumed silica provide excellent insulation against heat and cold.


Inside the VIP is a core made of an ideally microporous mineral insulation material – for example made from AEROSIL® fumed silica from Evonik. Silica is a proven and environmentally friendly insulation material. The powdery material is pressed into sheets and enclosed by a multi-layer film that is impermeable to air under a vacuum. AEROSIL® performs three tasks in VIPs: It serves as an insulating material and a supporting structure, as well as ensuring that the vacuum is maintained over a long period of time.

Read more about AEROSIL® fumed silica and the construction and functionality of VIP in our Product Story

Environmentally friendly and recyclable mineral-based insulating material

  • Supermarket cabinets with higher energy efficiency save costs and minimize the carbon footprint
  • Insulating effect is five to ten times better than that of conventional insulating materials
  • Compact, energy-saving supermarket cabinet, also for stores with limited space
  • Long-lasting, with a useful life of more than 30 years
  • Environmentally friendly and recyclable mineral-based
    insulating material


  • Households and food retailing: Refrigerators and freezers
  • Medical and pharmaceutical: Transport boxes and containers, refrigerators and freezers
  • Logistics: Transport of cooled and frozen goods
  • Construction sector: Insulation for buildings and water cisterns
  • Heavy industry: Insulation pipelines