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The award-winning Phase Change Matters blog tracks the latest news and research on phase change materials and thermal energy storage. E-mail tips and comments to Ben Welter, communications director at Entropy Solutions. Follow the blog on Twitter at @PureTemp. Subscribe to the weekly PCM newsletter. Or join the discussion on LinkedIn.

Two Entropy advisors, Dr. Mohammed Farid and Lucas B. Hyman, are pleased to take your questions about PCMs and thermal energy storage. Send your questions to bwelter@puretemp.com. We'll select the best and post the answers here each week.

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PCM briefing: Italian cyclists reach Cambodia; new HQ for Cold Chain Technologies

Ben Welter - Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Chiara RicciardiRiccardo Rocchi and Chiara Ricciardi, the Italian couple who began an 18,000-kilometer bike ride last June to raise awareness about diabetes, have reached Cambodia. Ricciardi has type 1 diabetes and needs a daily dose of insulin. She is using Pelican BioThermal's Credo ProMed pack to keep insulin at the right temperature. The pair topped the 14,000-kilometer mark last week. They've pedaled across 18 countries, averaging 47 km per day. They hope to arrive at their final destination, Singapore, by June.

• With German Chancellor Angela Merkel on hand, Viessmann officially opened its $53 million research and development center in Allendorf this month. Viessmann, maker of the Ice Store heating and cooling system, says the Viessmann Innovation Center will employ 100 people and represents the biggest single investment in the company's 100-year history. 

Cold Chain Technologies, which is celebrating it 50th anniversary this year, has moved its headquarters to Franklin, Mass.

Ben VanderPlas of Sonoco ThermoSafe and Chris Anderson of Cardinal Health are among the speakers scheduled for next month's Temperature Controlled Logistics in Biopharmaceuticals USA conference in Princeton, N.J. 

• The global market for green and bio polyols, valued at $2.6 billion in 2015, is projected to reach $4.7 billion by 2021, according to new research from MarketsandMarkets.

• Australian start-up 1414 Degrees recently raised AUD $2.5 million in private funding, most of which will go toward installing a molten silicon thermal storage system at a hydroponic farm.

Peli BioThermal is among 50-plus companies to receive a 2017 Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Innovation. The company was recognized for achievement in temperature-assured shipping of pharmaceuticals. The award winners are invited to attend a Buckingham Palace reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth

PCM-based system cuts energy use by 27% in frozen-foods warehouse

Ben Welter - Monday, April 24, 2017

Viking Cold Solutions systemFrozen Gourmet Inc., a wholesale distributor of premium ice cream and other frozen foods, says a PCM-based thermal battery system has cut energy consumption by more than 27 percent in the company’s freezer warehouse in Redding, Calif.

The Viking Cold Solutions system, installed at the end of 2016, features hundreds of plastic bottles filled with a salt hydrate solution. The bottles are suspended from the ceiling of the 7,900-square-foot warehouse. The phase change material solidifies when the warehouse chillers are running. The PCM absorbs heat as it melts, allowing the chillers to run less frequently and still keep the warehouse within a few degrees of the target temperature, 14.8º Celsius. 

Shifting demand to off-peak hours can result in significant savings on electricity in California, where daytime demand charges are common. The Viking system also includes intelligent controls and sensors to optimize energy use and alert managers to temperature abnormalities, equipment failure and power outages.

"We searched for a year to find the right technology to reduce our energy costs and decided to purchase the Viking Cold TES system after seeing the capability and flexibility the system provides," said Bill Kohn, CEO of Frozen Gourmet. "The reduction in energy consumption has improved our bottom line and the real-time monitoring has been invaluable in helping us recognize and address equipment issues before expensive problems arise."

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/frozen-gourmet-installs-viking-cold-130000052.html

Patent application: Fecal incontinence device

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 20, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170105827 (Renew Medical Inc., Foster City, Calif.):

Renew Medical Inc. patent drawing"A device for treating fecal incontinence in a subject is provided. The device includes a plug configured for positioning mostly within an anal canal of the subject. ... A phase change material can also be used in stem portion 12 and optionally cap portion 14; the material can be stiff under room temperature and soft at body temperature. Plug 10 can be filled with such a material and deformed while molten (e.g. by stretching the plug from its ends) to as to form a more deliverable structure with reduced cap portion diameter when the material sets. Once in the body, the material melts and plug 10 assumes its natural configuration providing the anchoring and sealing necessary for treating fecal incontinence."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170105827.pdf

Patent application: Multizone recreational cooler with phase change material

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 20, 2017

Viking Cold Solutions patent drawingU.S. patent application 20170108260 (applicant Viking Cold Solutions, Houston, Texas):

"A cooler includes a body. The cooler also includes a divider that divides an interior of the body into a first zone and a second zone. A first phase change material module is disposed in the first zone of the interior of the body and a second phase change material module is disposed in the second zone of the interior of the body."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170108260.pdf

Research roundup: Waste heat extraction; thermal sintering Pickering emulsion-based colloidosomes; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Micro-encapsulated phase change material (MPCM) slurries: Characterization and building applications [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Coupling waste heat extraction by phase change materials with superheated steam generation in the steel industry [Energy]

Large-scale high-temperature solar energy storage using natural minerals [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Hierarchical nano-activated silica nanosheets for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Microencapsulation through thermal sintering Pickering emulsion-based colloidosomes [Soft Matter]

Preparation of polyurea microcapsules containing phase change materials in a rotating packed bed [RSC Advances]

Dynamic measurement of the thermal conductivity of phase change materials in the liquid phase near the melting point [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Investigation of Energy Performance in Conventional and Lightweight Building Components with the use of Phase Change Materials (PCMS): Energy Savings in Summer Season [Procedia Environmental Sciences]

Novel synthesis of cobalt/poly vinyl alcohol/gamma alumina nanocomposite for catalytic application [Applied Physics A]

Research roundup: Solar PCM storage wall system; novel caprylic acid/nonanoic acid mix; double glazing units; more

Ben Welter - Monday, April 17, 2017

Experimental study of a modified solar phase change material storage wall system [Energy]

A novel binary mixture of caprylic acid/nonanoic acid as latent heat storage for air conditioning and cooling [Energy and Buildings]

A General Method for Retrieving Thermal Deformation Properties of Microencapsulated Phase Change Materials or Other Particulate Inclusions in Cementitious Composites [Materials and Design]

Effect of PCM thickness and melting temperature on thermal performance of double glazing units [Journal of Building Engineering]

Maryland legislators approve energy storage tax credit

Ben Welter - Monday, April 17, 2017

By wide margins, Maryland legislators have passed a bill that calls for a 30 percent tax credit for the deployment of energy storage technologies, including thermal storage.

The total funding, capped at $750,000 a year for five years, starting in 2018, is relatively modest. But the credit is apparently the first of its kind in the United States, and it could serve as a model for states interested in boosting the storage market without imposing mandates.

The bill, which passed unanimously in the Senate and by a 90-vote margin in the House, is now in the hands of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. A veto seems unlikely.

The bill defines "energy storage system" as a system designed "to store electrical energy, or mechanical, chemical, or thermal energy that was once electrical energy, for use as electrical energy at a later date or in a process that offsets electricity use at peak times.” Thus the tax credit would apply to a variety of storage technologies, including batteries, flywheels and compressed air, as well as systems based on ice and other phase change materials.

The Maryland Energy Administration will oversee the program and determine eligibility specifics. Funding is capped at $5,000 for residential and $75,000 for commercial projects and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

“This is a way to create an economic signal for using storage to provide grid reliability and resiliency, reduce peak capacity needs, and help integrate more renewable resources,” Jason Burwen, policy and advocacy director at the Energy Storage Association, told Greentech Media. “It is also a more conservative approach, executing this policy through the tax code with cost caps. That's an approach that got bipartisan agreement in Maryland."

"By enacting the energy storage tax credit, Maryland is showing real leadership in moving from fossil fuels to renewables," Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins said in an email sent to Phase Change Matters. "The success of renewables depends on cost-effective and reliable energy storage being adopted as a meaningful part of the electricity grid."

Ice Energy makes ice-based thermal storage systems that store cooling energy by freezing water in an insulated tank. During peak hours, the company says, the stored ice delivers up to four hours of cooling, reducing the typical peak load by 95 percent.

Hopkins continued:

"Storage obviously mitigates the intermittency of solar and wind. As we are seeing in places like Hawaii and California, a duck curve is replacing the traditional middle of the day peak. While the later in the day peak is a problem, as it is steeper than the traditional middle of the day peak, the over-generation in the middle of the day is the bigger problem that threatens grid stability. Energy storage flattens the duck curve, provided of course you are using the appropriate storage technologies.

"California was a leader in seeing the criticality of energy storage to the continued success of renewables and driving its adoption just like they did renewables, by a mandate through the Energy Storage Act in 2013. It had the same logic as the RPS and I would say drove the same results – increased competition and investment resulting in innovation and lower cost than anyone forecast.

"Maryland’s approach is another bold move to drive the adoption of energy storage.

"Playing off the federal tax credit, which has been of very limited value to storage given the need to be so tightly tied to renewables, the Maryland tax credit should be a powerful driver for energy storage in Maryland. It is also noteworthy that Maryland has explicitly recognized all forms of energy storage as qualifying, something that some others have failed to do by falling into the trap of equating storage with chemical batteries, especially lithium-ion. 

"Chemical batteries have had an outsized share of the PR and the market to date, but as the market is quickly developing, cost is becoming more and more important and that’s where policy makers need to be smart like Maryland and make sure they get the best value for their storage dollar, which means a portfolio of different technologies optimized to most cost effectively solve the various grid problems storage can solve."

PCM briefing: New RAL quality mark approved; Alexium working on undergarment for auto racing

Ben Welter - Monday, April 17, 2017

RAL Quality Mark• The RAL Quality Association PCM, established in 2004 to develop standards for the phase change materials industry, has received RAL approval to use a English-language version of its quality mark. The mark signifies that a PCM has met the association's quality and testing specifications (RAL-GZ 896) for PCM and PCM composites, objects and systems. 

Alexium International has announced plans to work with Benwel Inc. to introduce a fire-retardant undergarment for the auto racing industry. The undergarment will be treated with Alexiflam and Alexicool, Alexium's PCM-based cooling technology. 

Sonoco ThermoSafe is expanding its line of temperature-controlled pallet solutions with the launch of the LD7 Half PAG pallet shipper. The Half PAG is available for 2-8° C or 15-25° C temperature ranges with durations in excess of five days.

• The inaugural Chemical Watch Expo, REACH into the Future, will be held in Berlin April 25-26. The expo offers workshops on preparation for the REACH 2018 registration deadline.

AkzoNobel, Advanced Biochemical Co. and Ernst & Young are developing a new online tool to track the use of bio-based raw materials in products. The project partners say it will be the first tool to use e-certification to track bio-based content along the value chain. Initially the tool is focused on epoxy-derived products and coatings. AkzoNobel says more products and companies will be added later this year.

New presentation on PCM calorimetry compares RAL, IEA standards

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 13, 2017

Dr. Harald Mehling, an expert in thermal energy storage and a RAL Quality Association PCM consultant, has prepared a 37-minute presentation on phase change material calorimetry. It is intended for people starting to work in the field as well as for people who already have experience.

Dr. Harald MehlingThe presentation consists of three parts:

1. Introduction. Historic background and a general introduction to standards.

2. The RAL industry standard. Required data, resolution and accuracy; a survey of common measurement techniques; and results of an internal comparison test.

3. The International Energy Agency standard for research and development using differential scanning calorimetry, which is based on the RAL standard, including its background, the standard and achieved improvements.

The video is available for download at www.pcm-ral.org/pcm/en/quality-association-pcm/consultants/harald-mehling/ and can be viewed on Vimeo as well.

Research roundup: Cenospheres in concrete; form-stable composites with polyacrylic; rice bran distilled fatty acid; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 13, 2017

Numerical studies on thermal and electrical performance of a fully wetted absorber PVT collector with PCM as a storage medium [Renewable Energy]

Integrating phase change materials into concrete through microencapsulation using cenospheres [Cement and Concrete Composites]

Testing and performance analysis of micro encapsulated rice bran distilled fatty acid [International Journal of Computer Aided Engineering and Technology]

Enhanced thermal management with microencapsulated phase change material particles infiltrated in cellular metal foam [Energy]

Thermal performance study of form-stable composite phase change material with polyacrylic [AIP Conference Proceedings]

Design and Preparation of Carbon Based Composite Phase Change Material for Energy Piles [Materials]

Single-walled carbon nanotube for shape stabilization and enhanced phase change heat transfer of polyethylene glycol phase change material [Energy Conversion and Management]

Applications of Nanocomposite-Enhanced Phase-Change Materials for Heat Storage [Materials Science Forum]

Fatty acids and related phase change materials for reliable thermal energy storage at moderate temperatures [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

A study of a eutectic salt of lithium nitrate and sodium chloride (87–13%) for latent heat storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Thermal stabilization and permanent deformation resistance of LWA/PCM-modified asphalt road surfaces [Construction and Building Materials]