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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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Global PCM market projected to reach $2.37 billion by 2022

Ben Welter - Friday, February 12, 2016

The global market for phase change materials, valued at $687 million in 2015, is expected to reach $2.37 billion by 2022, according to a new report from Stratistics MRC. That's a compound annual growth rate of 19.3 percent during the forecast period.

The report cites demand for decreased operating costs and improved comfort as key factors driving the market growth. Lack of government subsidies and high cost of these materials are cited as barriers to growth.

http://www.strategymrc.com/report/phase-change-materials-market

Patent application: Battery pack with phase change material

Ben Welter - Friday, February 12, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160043453 (applicant Milwaukee Tool Corp., Brookfield, Wis.):

Milwaukee tool battery patent drawing"A battery pack may include a housing; at least one battery cell supported in the housing; a phase change material; and a bladder containing the phase change material [18], the bladder defining a channel having an opening, the bladder being in a heat transfer relationship with the at least one battery cell. The phase change material in the bladder may also surround a portion of the channel. The phase change material may include a paraffin wax."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160043453.pdf

CanVesl added to Vesl line of PCM containment devices

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 11, 2016

CanVesl PCM containment deviceIn partnership with Entropy Solutions, Vesl LLC has added CanVesl to its line of PCM containment devices.

The sturdy metal PCM devices are designed to withstand great temperature extremes. They are hermetically sealed to prevent moisture and vapor transmission. The coated steel resists corrosion. Each can holds 160 grams (5.6 ounces) of PureTemp phase change material, available in a wide range of temperatures, from -37°C (-34°F) to 151°C (304°F).

http://www.puretemp.com/stories/products#can-vesl

Research roundup: Bio-inspired building cooling; macro-packed PCMs; microscopic measurements of thermal and spectroscopic fields

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 11, 2016

A review of underground building towards thermal energy efficiency and sustainable development [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Simultaneous microscopic measurements of thermal and spectroscopic fields of a phase change material [Infrared Physics & Technology]

Hybrid ground coupled heat exchanger systems for space heating/cooling applications: A review [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Evacuated tube solar collectors integrated with phase change materials [Solar Energy]

Interpenetrating phase change polymer networks based on crosslinked polyethylene glycol and poly(hydroxyethyl methacrylate) [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Bio-inspired effective and regenerable building cooling using tough hydrogels [Applied Energy]

Experimental investigation of thermal performance of flat and v-corrugated plate solar air heaters with and without PCM as thermal energy storage [Energy Conversion and Management]

Conjugated heat and mass transfer during flow melting of a phase change material slurry in pipes [Energy]

Thermal performance evaluation of macro-packed phase change materials (PCMs) using heat transfer analysis device [Energy and Buildings]

RPI team wins seed funding to develop modular micro climate system

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 11, 2016

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, one of nine research teams to join the NEXUS-NY seed accelerator this year, is developing a modular indoor micro-climate control technology.

The RPI team is testing PureTemp phase change material and other innovative technologies in the building panel system, which is designed to provide on-demand, localized radiant heating or cooling where and when needed. The goal is to reduce energy use and increase occupant comfort.

Berardo Matalucci, Ph.D. candidate at RPIOver the next 10 months, the research teams will work to transform their clean-technology innovations into companies that can take the products to market. Participants are eligible to receive an average of $70,000 in direct financial support. Teams also receive mentoring help and make connections with industry participants and investors.

The first step is to begin defining their customers, business problems and solutions. By this summer, the teams will dive into developing prototypes.

"The NEXUS-NY program is a unique opportunity to bring the academic research into the marketplace for clean building technologies," said Berardo Matalucci, the team's entrepreneurial lead and Ph.D. candidate at RPI's Center of Architecture Science and Ecology. "That is an exciting and rewarding chance, especially for a doctoral student, to contribute to advancing building technologies and interdisciplinary studies between RPI's Nanoscale Thermophysics and Energy Conversion Laboratory and CASE." 

As part of their initial research, the RPI team plans to interview architects, mechanical engineers and HVAC experts to gain a full understanding of the needs of potential customers. If you are interested in participating in an interview, contact Matalucci at matalb@rpi.edu.

http://nexus-ny.org/9-new-nexus-ny-research-teams/

PCM briefing: Qatar University working on polyolefin-based PCM; Pelican BioThermal introduces Credo Cargo

Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Qatar University Centre for Advanced Materials is developing polyolefin-based phase change material to reduce energy consumption, carbon emissions and plastic waste. The research team is developing special PCM foams and compact composite sheets based on polyethylene, paraffin wax and graphite. 

Swiss away jersey by PumaPelican BioThermal has launched a new pallet shipper system, CrÄ“do Cargo. The reusable bulk shipper uses phase change material cooling panels to maintain temperature ranges +2C to +8C and +15C to +25C. 

The Swiss national soccer team will wear PCM-infused away uniforms at the European Championships 2016 in France. The jersey features Puma's ACTV Thermo-R technology. Strategically placed tape infused with microencapsulated phase change material absorbs excess heat and releases it back to the body when needed. The uniforms will be worn for the first time in an international friendly against the Republic of Ireland on March 25. Other national teams sporting the new kits are Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Italy.

President Obama is vowing to push ahead with efforts to curtail greenhouse gas emissions after the U.S. Supreme Court put his Clean Power Plan on hold until legal challenges are resolved.

Thermal storage is in the mix for Texas utility seeking big increase in solar

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 09, 2016

In an effort to reach a goal of deriving 55 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025, a Texas utility is adopting energy storage and software tools to accommodate a big increase in solar power. Utility Dive reports that Austin Energy is developing a plan for distribution-connected local storage of at least 10 MW complemented by as much as 20 MW of thermal storage. The test program is being implemented under a $4.3 million award from the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. 

http://www.utilitydive.com/news/how-austin-energy-is-looking-to-manage-solar-plus-storage-on-its-grid/413524/

Patent application: Apparatus for preparing hot beverages with auto-power-down mechanism

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Philips beverage apparatus patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20160029835 (applicant Koninklijke Philips NV, Netherlands):

"An apparatus (1) for preparing hot beverages, comprising: —an electric heater (16); —a latent heat storage provision (30) that is in thermal contact with the heater (16), and that contains, or is configured to contain, a phase-change material (38); and —an electric circuit (40) for powering the electric heater (16), comprising a switch assembly (44) that is configured cut power to the heater (16) when a temperature of the latent heat storage provision (30) fulfills a predetermined auto-power-down condition."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160029835.pdf

Research roundup: Polyurea microencapsulated PCM; semi-clathrate hydrates; light-to-thermal energy storage; more

Ben Welter - Monday, February 08, 2016

Preparation and characterization of polyurea microencapsulated phase change material by interfacial polycondensation method [Powder Technology]

Characterisation of thermal properties and charging performance of semi-clathrate hydrates for cold storage applications [Applied Energy]

Hybrid graphene aerogels/phase change material composites: Thermal conductivity, shape-stabilization and light-to-thermal energy storage [Carbon]

Review on use of phase change materials in battery thermal management for electric and hybrid electric vehicles [International Journal of Energy Research]

Experimental study of the heat transfer characteristics of a new-type flat micro-heat pipe thermal storage unit [Energy Conversion and Management]

Melting and solidification characteristics of a mixture of two types of latent heat storage material in a vessel [Heat and Mass Transfer]

PCM briefing: Georgia Tech selected for Solar Decathlon; Arizona company to outsource operations of 'Near Zero Carbon' greenhouse

Ben Welter - Monday, February 08, 2016

• A team from Georgia Tech is one of 16 chosen to participate in the U.S. Energy Department's 2017 Solar Decathlon. The team will explore concepts such as heat recovery systems, phase change materials, solar technology and direct current microgrids. Northwestern, Rice and Syracuse universities are among the other schools selected. 

Sustainable Energy and Agriculture Technology LLC is looking to outsource the operations of a “Near Zero Carbon” solar greenhouse in Sahuarita, Ariz. Phase change material will be used to control temperature in the 1,160-square-meter greenhouse.

EnergyNest reports that its concrete thermal energy storage system at the Masdar Institute's solar plant in Abu Dhabi is performing as well as or better than simulations suggested it would.

• A growing number of researchers are contacting reporters directly to alert them to upcoming papers, The Scientist magazine reports.

• The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has obtained a U.S. patent for a method that rapidly characterizes specialized materials during the manufacturing process.