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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.




PCM makers to discuss forming North American manufacturers association

Ben Welter - Friday, October 28, 2016

Makers of phase change materials will gather in Florida Dec. 4 to discuss the possibility of forming a North American PCM manufacturers association.

The discussion, led by Dr. Jan Kosny of the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems, will take place at the end of an all-day workshop on thermal mass. The workshop is part of the Buildings XIII Conference at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Clearwater Beach, Fla.

PCMs have been a focus of the workshop since it was first held in 2001. 

"Most of U.S. PCM manufacturers and companies producing PCM products for buildings participated in this workshop at least once," said Kosny, who leads building enclosure research at Fraunhofer CSE. "At some point we had a discussion about a creation of the PCM manufacturers’ association. Since this topic has been hanging in the air for at least a decade, this year I decided that it will be good to learn how much support there will be for this idea and who will be supporting this initiative. As usual, I am sending invitations to all major PCM companies in the U.S. and major U.S. building material manufacturers."

What are the greatest challenges facing North America’s PCM industry?

"The answer is application specific," Kosny explained. "PCM products are used by many different industries. However, the major problems which I would identify are: (i) high cost); (ii) flammability; (iii) long-term performance; (iv) durable packaging; (v) lack of material standards; (vi) lack of uniform performance criteria for PCM products used by specific industries, etc."

Entropy Solutions, Phase Change Energy Solutions, Applied Innovation Group and Cool Composites are among the companies planning to attend the workshop. Representatives of the U.S. General Services Administration, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lodz University of Technology, Colorado School of Mines, Microtek Laboratories, Fraunhofer CSE and the Department of Energy's Building Technologies Office will give presentations on microencapsulation, macroencapsulation, performance modeling, testing methods, durability issues and more.   

"The attendees of this conference include the 'PCM who’s who' in academics, government and industry," said Dr. William R. Sutterlin, Entropy Solutions' chief science officer. "It will help shape the future of PCMs in buildings, modeling of PCM behavior, new developments and PCM testing methods."

The registration fee for the full conference, Dec. 4-8, is $695. One-day attendance is $295 and the cost for the workshop is $100. Registration deadline is Nov. 23. 

Patent application: Intermittent power grid ready cooler

Ben Welter - Friday, October 28, 2016

Coca-Cola patent drawingU.S. patent application 20160313046 (applicant Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, Ga.):

"A method of operating a cooler with intermittent power, comprising: positioning a number of shelf assemblies within the cooler; wherein the shelf assemblies comprises a phase change material and an evaporator therein; circulating a refrigerant about the phase change material when the power is on; freezing the phase change material; and maintaining the cooler in a chilled condition for an extended period of time when the power is off by melting the phase change material."

Patent application: Container having a mixture of PCM and graphite powder

Ben Welter - Thursday, October 27, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160309932 (applicant Fraunhofer Society for the Promotion of Applied Research):

Fraunhofer patent drawing"A container may be provided, in particular a beverage container, comprising an inner container wall and an outer container wall, an intermediate space lying between the container walls, wherein the intermediate space is filled with a mixture that contains phase-change material and graphite powder, wherein the graphite powder is introduced into the phase-change material in such a way that the mixture has a pulpy consistency at a temperature at which the phase-change material is liquid. A method may be provided for producing a container that includes the following steps: A) providing an inner container wall and an outer container wall; B) applying a mixture of graphite powder and phase-change material to the inside of the outer container wall and/or the outside of the inner container wall; C) joining the outer container wall and the inner container wall."

Research roundup: Cascaded thermal storage; polyurethane-based cool roof membranes; bundled tube structures; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, October 27, 2016

Thermal performance of cascaded thermal storage with phase-change materials (PCMs). Part I: Steady cases [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Phase-change heat transfer of single/hybrid nanoparticles-enhanced phase-change materials over a heated horizontal cylinder confined in a square cavity [Advanced Powder Technology]

Preparation and thermal properties of Na2CO3·10H2O-Na2HPO4·12H2O eutectic hydrate salt as a novel phase change material for energy storage [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Use of nano-α-Al2O3 to improve binary eutectic hydrated salt as phase change material [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

PCM for improving polyurethane-based cool roof membranes durability [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Numerical Investigation on the Heat Transfer Enhancement of a Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage System with Bundled Tube Structures [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Integration of heat pumps into thermal plants for creation of large-scale electricity storage capacities [Applied Energy]

A DFT based equilibrium study of a chemical mixture Tachyhydrite and their lower hydrates for long term heat storage [European Thermal-Sciences Conference]

Thermosyphon assisted melting of PCM inside a rectangular enclosure: A synergistic numerical approach [European Thermal-Sciences Conference]

Phase change dispersion, potentially a new class of heat transfer fluids [European Thermal-Sciences Conference]

Thermal energy storage in the form of heat or cold with using of the PCM-based accumulation panels [MATEC Web Conference]

Numerical study of a PCM-air heat exchanger's thermal performance [European Thermal-Sciences Conference]

Study of improving the thermal response of a construction material containing a phase change material [European Thermal-Sciences Conference]

PCM briefing: Dulas introduces 52.5-liter solar fridge; Argonne's Dileep Singh is named ASM International fellow

Ben Welter - Thursday, October 27, 2016

Dulas VC50SDD refrigeratorDulas Ltd. has added a 52.5-liter model to its line of solar-powered refrigerators. The VC50SDD is powered by the British company's Solar Direct Drive technology and uses paraffin-based phase change material to keep vaccines and other payloads at temperatures ranging from 5°C to 43°C. With an optional "integrated solar socket," the refrigerator can also be used to charge cellphones or temperature-monitoring equipment. The World Health Organization earlier this month approved the refrigerator for purchase by UNICEF and other U.N. agencies. 

Dr. Dileep Singh of Argonne National Laboratory has been named a fellow of ASM International for his work on concentrating solar power and other energy innovations. Singh and his team developed a latent heat-based thermal energy storage system that enhances the performance of phase change material using high-conductivity graphite foam.

• Two new reports from QYResearch: "Global Thermal Energy Storage (TES) Market Professional Survey Report 2016" and "Europe Advanced Phase Change Materials (PCM) Market Report 2016."

• A handful sessions scheduled for the 2017 Energy Storage World Forum and Residential Energy Storage Forum are related to thermal energy storage: "Niche Energy Storage Technologies," led by Pierre-Guy Therond, director of new technologies at EDF Energies Nouvelles of France; "Synergistic Combinations of Energy Storage Technologies," led by John Hatton, chief commercial officer at Alpheon Energy, United Kingdom; and "Integrating Storage to Improve Renewable Generation Capacity Factor," led by Martin Wilcox, senior consultant at Mott MacDonald, United Kingdom. The conferences will be held May 8-12 in Berlin.

MatériO has opened its new materials library in Shanghai, with more than 1,000 materials on display. MatériO, based in France, lists more than 7,400 "cutting edge" materials and technologies in its database, including Entropy Solutions' PureTemp phase change material.

• U.S. chemical production is thriving, according to a American Chemistry Council analyst, but several factors threaten long-term growth, including equipment shortages and a lack of skilled workers.

Research roundup: Thermal stability of renewable diesters; microencapsulated octadecane with silica shell; more

Ben Welter - Monday, October 24, 2016

Thermal stability of renewable diesters as phase change materials [Thermochimica Acta]

Synthesis and properties of microencapsulated octadecane with silica shell as shape–stabilized thermal energy storage materials [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Synthesis and characterization of novel solid-solid phase change materials with polyurethaneurea copolymer structure for thermal energy storage [RSC Advances]

A novel multi-dimensional model for solidification process with supercooling [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Assessment of a mattress with phase change materials using a thermal and perception test [Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science]

Energy Accumulation Using Encapsulated Phase Change Materials with Recycled Material Components [Energy Procedia]

Patent application: Aliphatic materials for heating and cooling applications

Ben Welter - Monday, October 24, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160305716 (applicant Elevance Renewable Sciences Inc., Woodridge, Ill.):

"Aliphatic materials and their use in passive heating and cooling applications are generally disclosed. In some embodiments, dibasic acids and esters (diesters) thereof and their use in passive heating and cooling applications are disclosed. In some embodiments, C18 dibasic acids and esters thereof are disclosed, including their use in passive heating and cooling applications. In some embodiments, various olefins, including alkenes and olefinic acids and esters, are disclosed, including their use in passive heating and cooling applications. ... [T]he disclosure also provides passive heating and cooling compositions that comprise one or more phase-change compounds selected from the group consisting of: 9-octadecene, octadecanes, pentadecanes, tridecanes, methyl tridecanoate, and methyl pentadecanoate."

Patent application: Thermostatic materials, methods of making, and uses thereof

Ben Welter - Monday, October 24, 2016

Empire Technology Development LLC patent application drawingU.S. patent application 20160304761 (applicant Empire Technology Development LLC, Wilmington, Del.):

"Thermostatic materials and methods for making and using the materials are disclosed. The thermostatic materials have phase change materials (PCMs) incorporated into a composite with thermoreversible gels (TRGs) that undergo gelation prior to the melt temperature of the PCMs so that at temperatures at which the PCMs become liquid, the liquid PCM is retained by the gel, and at temperatures at which the gel becomes liquid, the liquid form of the gel is retained by a solid form of the PCM."

Video blog takes engaging look at SunampPV system

Ben Welter - Friday, October 21, 2016

"Fully Charged" video blog episode on SunampPV

Sunamp's PCM heat battery system is featured in the latest episode of "Fully Charged," a video blog hosted by the British actor, comedian and writer Robert Llewellyn.

The lively YouTube series highlights the latest developments in renewable energy. In the new episode, Sunamp employee Andy Trewin, above, explains how the system installed at his home in Bristol, England, works.

The 5-kilowatt SunampPV battery stores excess energy collected by rooftop solar panels and releases heat on demand for hot water and central heating. Trewin says the system has reduced his gas bill by 75 percent since it was installed last year.

“I started off with one SunampPV battery, and I’m now experimenting with two to make more use of the excess energy produced," Trewin says in the clip. "The battery links through to the back of the boiler and when I switch on the tap cold mains water flows through the battery and instantly heats up to 58 degrees. A blending valve cools it to a comfort level, giving us hot water on demand using solar energy.”

For more on Trewin's home system, see:

Here's a link to the video:

PCM briefing: U.S. specialty chemicals index posts 3rd monthly gain; Alexium announces 2 more sales agreements

Ben Welter - Friday, October 21, 2016

• U.S. specialty chemical market volumes rose 0.3 percent in September, the third consecutive monthly gain.

Alexium International has announced sales agreements to supply its phase change cooling technology (Alexicool) to two unidentified mattress fabric producers based in the United States. The company says the three-year deals will generate $3 million in revenue per year.

• In a guest column for Outsourced Pharma, Kevin Lawler of Pelican BioThermal outlines "three reasons bulk freight forwarding and life science are turning to passive for cold chain."

Samit Jain, managing director at Pluss Advanced Technologies, gave a presentation on phase change material at this week's India Cold Chain Show. In a panel discussion on cold chain innovation in India's dairy industry, he outlined the advantages of passive cooling products that rely on less continuous power.