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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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Patent application: Mattress containing microencapsulated PCM

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170020299 (applicant Milliken & Co., Spartanburg, S.C.):

"A mattress containing a core section, a high loft non-woven layer at least partially covering a first side of the core section and containing a plurality of heat and flame resistant fibers, bulking fibers, and binder fibers, a ticking layer at least partially covering the high loft non-woven layer and containing a textile layer, a pattern coated layer. The pattern coated layer may be printed on the high loft non-woven layer, the ticking layer, or any layer between the high loft non-woven layer and the ticking layer. The pattern coated layer contains a blend of microencapsulated phase change material (PCM) and a binder, wherein the PCM is fully encapsulated by the binder."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170020299.pdf

Drexel professor looking for partners to scale up de-icing material

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dr. Yaghoob Farnam, an assistant professor in Drexel University’s College of Engineering, knows that harsh winters pose a significant challenge for the folks who design, build and maintain roads. In an interview with Drexel's News Blog this week, he shared some background on his research:

"One of the things that my research group has been looking for is better options for deicing. We are designing special types of phase change material — like paraffin wax or vegetable oil — that can be used to expedite the snow/ice melting process. Right now we have lab-scale work that is very promising. We have proven that these materials can melt about two inches of snow and they will stay in the pavement for longer periods of time, which saves the labor of reapplying it before every snow/ice event. Imagine how much salt and snow plowing could be avoided! By keeping the snow and ice from sitting on the road surface, the phase change materials could also reduce damage from freeze-thaw cycles.

"We are reaching out to local departments of transportation, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration, as possible research partners who could help support full-scale outdoor testing — and benefit from the findings."

https://newsblog.drexel.edu/2017/01/26/qa-how-do-winters-mood-swings-affect-our-roads/

Swiss symposium on thermal energy storage draws 135 participants

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

TES economics, microencapsulation and new materials were among the topics at this year's Swiss Symposium Thermal Energy Storage in Lucerne.

The symposium, held Jan. 20 at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, drew 135 participants. Prof. Dr. Jörg Worlitschek, who organized the gathering, described the feedback from participants as “really positive.”

The 5th Swiss Symposium Thermal Energy Storage will be held on Jan. 26, 2018. Here’s a brief look at a few of this year’s presentations:

Dr. Luisa CabezaThermal Energy Storage: Possibilities and Outlook: Luisa F. Cabeza, right, University of Lleida, Spain, provided an overview of the basic principals and benefits of TES and offered an up-to-date look at strategic research priorities for sensible TES, latent TES and thermochemical storage.

Development of Latent Heat Transportation Systems with Various PCM: Hiroshi Suzuki, Ruri Hidema and Yoshiyuki Komoda, Kobe University, Japan, examined the process of microencapsulating PCM in a silica hard shell. Their conclusion: The material shows great promise for a variety of applications.

Thermoplastic Heat Storage Materials for Diverse Applications: Stefan Reinemann, head of plastics research at TITK, Germany, described the development of a PCM compound in which liquid paraffin is bound in a polymeric network structure. These PCM polymer storage granules have a “large heat transfer area,” melting ranges from -4 to 82 degrees C and a heat capacity of up to 180 joules per gram. The granules can be used in textiles, household appliances, building materials and prosthetics.

A Simple Tool for the Economic Evaluation of Thermal Energy Storage: Christoph Rathgeber, ZAE Bayern, Center for Applied Energy Research, Germany, presented two formula-driven ways to make a rough estimate of the economic viability of an energy storage for a specific application: Top-down (following the assumption that the costs of energy supplied by the storage should not exceed the costs of energy from the market) and Bottom-up (focusing on the realized storage capacity costs of existing storages). Among “long-term storages for building applications,” the analysis found that seasonal thermal storage is only economical via large hot water systems. Among “short-term storage for industrial applications,” the analysis found that ice storage systems are cost effective, and other technologies (such as mobile storage using sodium acetate trihydrate) are getting close. For more on this work, see http://tinyurl.com/tes-economic-evaluation.

https://www.hslu.ch/en/lucerne-school-of-engineering-architecture/research/kompetenzzentren/thermische-energiesysteme-und-verfahrenstechnik/thermische-energiespeicher/cctevt-sstes/cctevt-sstes-2017/

Patent application: Systems, devices and methods for bodily fluid sample transport

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170020425 (applicant Theranos Inc., Palo Alto, Calif.):

Theranos patent drawing"Bodily fluid sample transport systems, devices, and method are provided. In at least one embodiment described herein, methods are provided for the physical transport of small volumes of bodily fluid in liquid form from one location to another location. By way of nonlimiting example, the samples are collected in liquid form at a collection site, transported in liquid form, and arrive at an analysis site in liquid form. In many embodiments, the liquid form during transport is not held in a porous matrix, wicking material, webbing, or similar material that prevents sample for being extracted in liquid form at the destination site. ... In one embodiment, the thermal control material may be but is not limited to embedded phase change material (PCM) material that maintains the temperature at a prior, or desired temperature."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170020425.pdf

PCM briefing: Long-haul cyclists reach Myanmar; papers sought for symposium on waste heat

Ben Welter - Friday, January 27, 2017

Riccardo Rocchi and Chiara RicciardiRiccardo Rocchi and Chiara Ricciardi,  the Italian couple who began an 18,000-kilometer bike ride in June to raise awareness about diabetes, have reached Myanmar. 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 10,000-kilometer mark this week. They've pedaled across 16 countries, averaging 44 km per day. "We just realized that maybe we forgot to make a postcard from Nepal," the pair said in a Facebook post from Myanmar. "We might consider to cycle back to do it." Their final destination is Singapore.

• Organizers of a one-day symposium at Brunei University on the efficient use of waste heat have issued a call for abstracts. The symposium, "Heat Recovery and Efficient Conversion and Utilisation of Waste Heat," will be held April 20, 2017. Abstracts must be submitted by Jan. 31.

Pelican BioThermal has completed a $1.65 million expansion of the manufacturing facilities at its U.S. headquarters in Plymouth, Minn. The company now has 70,000 square feet of manufacturing space in the Minneapolis suburb, up from 54,000 square feet. The expansion will support production of single-use temperature-controlled shippers in the United States.

Weise's Outlast Houston motorcycle jacket• New from Weise Motorcycle Clothing: The Outlast Houston, a fully armored waterproof jacket with a removable lining that features Outlast phase change material to regulate temperature. 

Serta is touting “breakthrough cooling technology” in the new version of its iComfort memory foam mattresses. Phase change material is embedded in the fabric and on the surface of the gel memory foam.

• The United Kingdom plans to spend £28 million ($35 million) on reducing the cost of energy storage, advancing demand side response technologies and improving energy efficiency measures for industry. Up to one-third of the money will be spent on a competition to reduce the cost of energy storage, including thermal storage.

• The EU-funded Heat4Cool research project is developing a novel retrofit planning tool to help retrofit companies, architects, manufacturers, building administrators and residents weigh the potential benefits of three main technologies: gas and solar thermally driven adsorption heat pumps; PV-assisted DC-powered heat pumps connected to advanced modular PCM heat and cold storage systems; and energy recovery from sewage water with high performance heat exchangers. You are invited to help in this effort by completing a five-minute survey online.

• A Florida startup is calling its PCM-infused TempPro fabric “a gamechanger for luxury lingerie.” Giapenta, which launched a Kickstarter campaign this week, uses the temperature-regulating fabric in its line of bras, panties and sleep masks. The campaign has already met its modest target of raising $25,000. I've contacted the company and hope to have technical details on TempPro in time for next week's newsletter..

Research roundup: Encapsulated paraffin wax and sand nanoparticles; 1,6-hexanediol/lauric acid; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, January 26, 2017

New hybrid nanofluid containing encapsulated paraffin wax and sand nanoparticles in propylene glycol-water mixture: Potential heat transfer fluid for energy management [Energy Conversion and Management]

Thermal properties and stabilities of the eutectic mixture: 1,6-hexanediol/lauric acid as a phase change material for thermal energy storage [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Adaptability research on phase change materials based technologies in China [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Design of a Low cost Non Electrical Type Baby Incubator for Developing Country [pdf] [International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research]

Research roundup: Accumulation panels and thermoelectric cooling; flat-plate and triplex-tube heat exchangers; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 24, 2017

State-of-the-Art for the use of Phase-Change Materials in Tanks Coupled with Heat Pumps [Energy and Buildings]

Phase Change Material Based Accumulation Panels in Combination with Renewable Energy Sources and Thermoelectric Cooling [Energies]

A phenomenological approach of solidification of polymeric phase change materials [Journal of Applied Physics]

Analysis of the thermal performance of flat plate PCM heat exchangers for heating systems [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Numerical investigation of a triplex tube heat exchanger with phase change material: Simultaneous charging and discharging [Energy and Buildings]

Empirical Validation of Heat Transfer Performance Simulation of Graphite/PCM Concrete Materials for Thermally Activated Building System [pdf] [International Journal of Polymer Science]

Lineup set for Energy Innovation Summit's Technology Showcase

Ben Welter - Monday, January 23, 2017

The 2017 Energy Innovation Summit will be held Feb. 27-March 1 in Washington, D.C. The Technology Showcase highlights the work of recent ARPA-E awardees and a select group of other companies and research organizations. This year's showcase participants include:

• Electric Power Research Institute, "Indirect Dry Cooling Using Recirculating Encapsulated Phase-Change Materials"
• General Electric, "Electrothermal Energy Storage With A Multiphase Transcritical CO2 Cycle"
• University of Cincinnati, "Enhanced Air-Cooling System With Optimized Asynchronously-Cooled Thermal Energy Storage"
• Outlast Technologies, "Li-ion Battery Thermal Management using LHS Materials"
• Advanced Cooling Technologies, "Heat-Pipe PCM Based Cool Storage for ACC Systems"

http://www.arpae-summit.com/Showcase/Showcase-Participants

Patent application: Devices, systems and kits for regulating skin temperature for mammals

Ben Welter - Monday, January 23, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170014266 (applicant Slumber Science LLC, Sunnyvale, Calif.):

"A heat transfer system may include a heat transfer machine adapted to thermally couple to an heat transfer pack housed within an heat transfer device and transfer heat from the heat transfer pack using a power supply. The heat transfer device may include a housing and a heat transfer pack. The heat transfer pack may be adapted to thermally couple to the heat transfer machine, transfer heat to the heat transfer machine while thermally coupled to the heat transfer machine, and transfer heat from a mammal's skin when the heat transfer device is in contact with the mammal's skin and uncoupled from the heat transfer machine. ... The heat transfer pack may include one or more phase change materials."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170014266.pdf

Patent application: Cooling agent for cold packs and beverage containers

Ben Welter - Monday, January 23, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170016664 (applicant Frosty Cold LLC, Overland Park, Kansas):

"Safe, stable, non-toxic and recyclable cooling agent compositions comprising solid particulate compounds undergo an endothermic process when mixed with water such that the resulting mixture is useful for cooling surfaces, liquids and solids. The mixtures include ammonium nitrate in an amount of at least 45 wt % of the mixture. Total nitrogen—containing salts exclusive of phosphates are present in an amount less than 68% by weight of the composition. A phosphate salt is also present in an amount as needed to stabilize the composition against detonation. A balance of additional salts is formulated to provide the mixture with a cooling capacity of at least 240 kJ/kg of the mixture."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170016664.pdf