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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.

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Patent application: Lightweight, breathable, waterproof, soft shell composite apparel

Ben Welter - Monday, December 11, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170347730 (applicant Solid Water Holdings, Farmington, Maine):

"The apparel is constructed from various combinations of layers of materials with moisture transfer properties. A first liner of moisture transfer fabrics abuts a second layer of structural material such as open-cell foam. The second layer can abut a breathable membrane and/or an insulating material. ... The breathable moisture transfer composite system may be enhanced with Phase Change Technologies for additional thermal benefits and may be used as a single layer or composite layer in the moisture transfer system."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170347730.pdf

Patent application: Lubricating composition with phase change material

Ben Welter - Monday, December 11, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170349850 (applicant Total Marketing Services, Puteaux, France):

"Disclosed is a monophasic lubricating composition including a base oil, an oil chosen from the polyalkylene glycols (PAG) and a phase-change material, in particular water. The monophasic lubricating composition can be used, in particular, for lubricating a vehicle engine. It has improved thermal performance relative to the lubricant compositions of the prior art. It also helps reduce fouling of the engine parts."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170349850.pdf

PCM briefing: Net-zero apartment complex in Los Angeles has BioPCM in walls

Ben Welter - Monday, December 11, 2017

Silver Star Apartments, the first multifamily affordable housing development to achieve the net-zero energy designation in Los Angeles, is reducing heat gain through the use of phase change material in the walls. Energy consultant Green Dinosaur, which worked on the 49-unit development, identifies the PCM as Phase Change Energy Solutions' BioPCM, 23Q-M27.

• New from QY Research: "Global Advanced Phase Change Material (PCM) Market Research Report 2017"

• The United States is poised for a 0.8 increase in non-pharmaceutical chemical output in 2017, with bigger increases in the following three years, the American Chemistry Council says.

PCM-assisted cooling system designed to cut energy costs at Norwegian airport

Ben Welter - Thursday, December 07, 2017

Two of four TES tanks installed at Bergen Airport

A PCM-based thermal energy storage system at a new airport terminal in Bergen, Norway, is designed to reduce energy costs by chilling water overnight, when ambient temperatures are lower.

To handle peak demand during summer, Bergen Airport required a cooling system with a maximum output of 5 megawatts, said civil engineer Rune Teigland, who designed the system.

Instead, chillers with a maximum output of just 2.5 megawatts were installed. An additional 11,000 kWh of cooling can be drawn from four large tanks that hold 44,000 panels filled with a modified salt-based phase change material. The PCM has a melting point of about 10º Celsius. The HDPE panels act as thermal batteries, holding the “chill” produced overnight for use during the day.

Installation of PCM panels in TES tank at Bergen Airport “The obvious advantage is that the cooling plant does not need to be big enough to handle the maximum cooling requirement. This offers some clear benefits, in terms of price, energy consumption and maintenance,” explained Teigland, a project leader and energy specialist at COWI of Lyngby, Denmark.

The panels, supplied by U.K.-based PCM Products Ltd., are 50x25x3 centimeters in size and are stacked on top of each other in the water-filled tanks. Each tank is 13 meters long and 3 meters in diameter.

When water at a temperature below the PCM’s freezing point is passed through the tanks, the PCM solidifies and energy is stored in the panels. When water is fed in at a temperature above the PCM’s freezing point, the PCM will melt and produce a cooling effect.

COWI says the system can run for two hours at full capacity solely on the energy stored in the PCM panels. The company projects an annual savings of 5,000 megawatt-hours compared to a conventional system.

“The method provides for big savings in energy and running costs, and we see great potential for buildings, data centers and production halls, which need to keep both temperatures and CO₂ emissions down. This method could change the whole cooling industry,” said Teigland.

Teigland said he began “measuring and logging” system performance a few months before the terminal opened in August. He plans to submit a paper about the project to ASHRAE. He offered these additional comments on the project:

"In an ordinary system one would install 5 MW with mechanical cooling. This means that at least 50% of the chillers rarely would be running, maybe only a few weeks in summer. A chiller or any refrigeration compressor is designed to be running. In long stand-still periods, flex gaskets will dry up which may result in refrigerant leaks and even engine damage. In summer time when maximum cooling capacity is needed we will first have to repair chillers that have had a long time with stand still. 

"We try to choose a more environmentally sustainable approach to this situation and we like to be in front of the technical development.

"We even use the tanks in winter to try to obtain maximum COP from chillers running. If one chiller is running and the next one is only on low partial load we would rather supply with energy from the tanks to avoid low partial load."

http://www.cowi.com/menu/newsandmedia/news/industryandenergy/storing-energy-in-brine-cells-can-reduce-co%E2%82%82--emissions

Research roundup: Direct steam generation solar plants; d-mannitol-copper oxide nanocomposites; modified carbon nanotubes; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Thermal energy storage evaluation in direct steam generation solar plants [Solar Energy]

Potential of cascaded phase change materials in enhancing the performance of solar domestic hot water systems [Solar Energy]

Study of thermo-physical properties and cycling stability of d-Mannitol-copper oxide nanocomposites as phase change materials [Journal of Energy Storage]

Properties Enhancement of Phase-change Materials via Silica and Al Honeycomb Panels for the Thermal Management of LiFeO4 Batteries [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Experimental Investigation and Mathematical Modelling of Thermal Performance Characteristics of Textiles Incorporating Phase Change Materials [Environmental Engineering, 10th International Conference]

Thermal storage of solar energy [Physical Rendering]

Studies on the inward spherical solidification of a phase change material dispersed with macro particles [Journal of Energy Storage]

Review of latent heat thermal energy storage for improved material stability and effective load management [Journal of Energy Storage]

The effects of modified carbon nanotubes on the thermal properties of erythritol as phase change materials [Energy Conversion and Management]

Experimental study on the cooling charge and discharge characteristics of a PCM based fin-tube thermal energy storage exchanger [Procedia Engineering]

Energy Saving Potential of PCMs in Buildings under Future Climate Conditions [pdf] [Applied Sciences]

Experimental study of carbon fiber reinforced alkali-activated slag composites with micro-encapsulated PCM for energy storage [Construction and Building Materials]

Research roundup: Erythritol in spheres; triplex-tube TES system enhancement; spray freezing of PCM; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Theoretical and numerical analysis on phase change materials (PCM): A case study of the solidification process of erythritol in spheres [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Optimisation analysis of PCM-enhanced opaque building envelope components for the energy retrofitting of office buildings in Mediterranean climates [Applied Energy]

Solidification enhancement of PCM in a triplex-tube thermal energy storage system with nanoparticles and fins [Applied Energy]

System-Level Analysis of a Novel Air-Cooled Condenser using Spray Freezing of Phase Change Materials [Applied Thermal Energy]

Analysis of operational performance of a mechanical ventilation cooling system with latent thermal energy storage [Energy and Buildings]

Evaluation of two cooling devices for construction workers by a thermal manikin [Fashion and Textiles]

Study on improving the heat storage property of Ba(OH)2 • 8H2O with paraffin [Materials Research Express]

PCM briefing: A call for papers on advanced building skins; a new factory for 1414 Degrees in Australia

Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 05, 2017

• A call for papers has been issued for the International Conference on Advanced Building Skins, to be held Oct. 1-2, 2018, in Bern, Switzerland. Among the topics: "Thermal performance of phase change materials for the building skin," "Models, tools and simulations for sustainable buildings" and "Cost engineering and life cycle cost analysis." The deadline for proposals is Feb. 15, 2018.  

1414 Degrees of Australia has moved into a 3,000-square-meter factory on the site of the former Mitsubishi engine plant near Adelaide, where it will build its first 10MWh TESS-IND system and the first 13.3MWh test cell for a 200MWh TESS-GRID system. The company also plans to build two grid-scale silicon-based thermal energy storage systems in South Australia. 

ZAE-Bayern among more than 80 exhibitors scheduled to attend the 2018 Energy Storage Europe in Dusseldorf, Germany, March 13-15. 

• New from QYResearch Group: "Global Smart Fabrics and Textiles Market Research Report 2017"

• The U.S. Department of Energy plans to request $99 million in fiscal year 2018 to support Energy Frontier Research Centers, which work to advance breakthroughs in materials sciences, chemical sciences, geosciences and biosciences.

Glaciem Cooling Technologies of Australia won the "Applied Innovation" award at the inaugural Carbon Neutral Adelaide Awards last month. Glaciem's ThermCOLD system uses a salt-based phase change material to store thermal energy, allowing refrigeration plants to run and store energy during off-peak periods, when electricity rates are lower, and then release energy during peak periods.   

Sonoco President and CEO Jack Sanders will retire in April, following a 30-year career with the packaging company. Chief Operating Officer Robert C. Tiede will replace Sanders as CEO.

• Singapore-based agribusiness giant Wilmar International has entered into an agreement to purchase Cargill's palm oil refinery and neighboring storage facility in Kuantan, Malaysia.

• The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts is seeking to hire a research associate for a seasonal thermal energy storage project. Responsibilities will include numerical and experimental investigation of the storage system in combination with phase change materials.

FloraHolland offices retrofitted with PCM-based induction units

Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Two years ago, Orange Climate Autarkis and Verkade Klimaat began installing PCM-based induction units in one floor of Royal FloraHolland’s 10-story office building in Naaldwijk, Netherlands. Known as Crystal Beam Modules, the Autarkis units are designed to enhance occupant comfort and reduce cooling costs by 20 percent.

Royal FloraHolland office building
Royal FloraHolland office building in Naaldwijk, Netherlands.

Walter van Kampen, Autarkis commercial adviser, says the flower industry trade organization liked the results and asked his company to retrofit additional floors. So far, Crystal Beam Modules have been installed on five floors. On another, a modular, PCM-based Crystal Climate Ceiling has been installed. Each floor is about 500 square meters.

“We changed from PCM beam modules to the Crystal Climate Ceiling on the eighth floor because more ventilation air was needed (it’s a mainly a big conference floor with meeting rooms) and because the customer wanted a different look,” van Kampen said.

How do the systems work?

“The building’s big chillers are only cooling down the fresh air to about 16-18 Celsius,” he explained. “Total cooling is achieved by the smaller chillers and the PCM material. Our customer compared the indoor to ‘a turtle.’ It remains nice and stable for a very long time and it does so every day.”

Royal FloraHolland office building
PCM panels are mounted above suspended ceilings.

Autarkis hopes to convert more floors next year. In an email interview, he provided additional information about the project and his company.

Q: Tell me about the history of Orange Climate Autarkis.

A: Orange Climate Autarkis has been focusing on PCM to air systems since 2009, mainly in the Netherlands. We have our own testing facilities (laboratory) in the town of Holten.

Our main focus is using PCM in three main areas:

1. Offices, micro datacenter and residential houses. In office buildings to reduce power, energy and CO2 emissions. We are able to do that with the highest standards in thermal comfort and a healthy (fresh air) working environment.

2. For micro datacenters we have a 90% energy reducing, without any HCFC or CFC. It’s an eco-friendly method of cooling smaller datacenters. These MER / SER datacenters are everywhere: in office buildings, in power plants in hospitals and so on.

3. We supply a PCM floor heating system that in combination with a heat pump and solar panels can store solar energy in the thermal "PCM battery" inside the floor heating system. All our products are installed and mounted by us with the help of our PCM knowledge partners.

Q: What is your role at the company?

Royal FloraHolland office building
An inorganic salt-hydrate PCM is stored inside HDPE containers.

I am a specialist in a lot of building-related topics – energy, ventilation, HVAC, cooling, heating, sustainability and so on. My role is both technical and commercial. I got intrigued by PCM because of the simplicity of the idea. All of the products and PCM services we deliver have been co-created by my colleagues Harry Schmitz (R&D), Henk Willem van Dorp (owner) and myself. I am also the only (lonely) person who travels to customers to see how our PCM solutions can help them with their efforts to create a sustainable solution.

Q: Who makes the PCM you use in your products?

A: PCM Technology produces our PCM and our PCM storage panels. It is co-owned by Salca BV and Autarkis. We mainly use an inorganic salt-hydrate stored inside a HDPE container.

Q: Do you or Verkade Klimaat have data quantifying the effect of your technology on energy consumption and cost?

A: We have not quantified the data in that way. We kept the main power for cooling and heating to basic levels and added PCM to create the most perfect and comfortable indoor climate. Without adding to the energy bill. And no complaints from people at all.