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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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Ice Cub is now available to California homeowners, builders

Ben Welter - Friday, October 12, 2018

The Ice Cub, Ice Energy's hybrid air-conditioning and thermal energy storage system, is now available for purchase by California homeowners and homebuilders.

The solar PV-compatible unit replaces a conventional 5-ton outdoor condensing unit and is designed to work seamlessly with home HVAC systems. The Ice Cub functions like a typical condensing unit, but it also makes ice to store up to four hours' worth of cooling.

"For homes with solar PV," Ice Energy says, "a full tank of ice can be made and stored during the day, using what would otherwise be surplus solar generation."

The Ice Cub retails for $15,000. But Ice Energy says two government incentives potentially reduce the cost of purchase and installation to below that of a conventional air conditioning system. The Ice Cub qualifies for California’s Self-Generation Incentive Program rebate and, for homes with solar PV, the federal Solar Investment Tax Credit. Ice Energy says the payback period for an Ice Cub installed in a California home with solar PV is less than one year.

The company, based in Southern California, says it is in the early stages of recruiting regional project partners such as homebuilders and HVAC installers.

“Conventional AC units in California have become increasingly expensive to operate as the state’s new time-of-use rates take effect,” said Joseph Draper, executive chairman of Ice Energy. “The Ice Cub, by contrast, reduces consumption of expensive electricity and can save homeowners as much as $1,500 a year on their utility bill. The smart, energy-efficient Ice Cub is a true consumer product with real potential to render conventional home AC units obsolete. We are very excited to make it available for immediate delivery to homeowners and builders here in California.”

https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2018/10/ice-energys-hybrid-air-conditioning-and-energy-storage-system-qualifies-for-itc-with-solar/

PCM briefing: Viking Cold Solutions to install system in Mexico; Pluss reaches distribution deal with Ferro-Plast of Italy

Ben Welter - Friday, October 12, 2018

Viking Cold Solutions of Houston, Texas, has reached a deal to install its PCM-based thermal energy storage system in one of Red de Frios' frozen food warehouses in Monterrey, Mexico. Viking systems are designed to reduce energy costs by shifting peak demand to nighttime hours.

• The German Aerospace Center, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of Stuttgart have signed an agreement to build a research facility in Germany to develop an efficient, cost-effective and "virtually loss-less" heat-based electrical storage technology. At this week's signing ceremony in Stuttgart, Stanford University Professor Robert B. Laughlin, right, 1998 Nobel Laureate in Physics, explained why he thinks heat storage will play a key role in the energy landscape of the future.

• The Conductive Plastics conference in Vienna Nov. 6-7 will include sessions on "Challenging the boundaries in thermally conductive and electrically conductive polyamides," "Boron nitride filler materials for high-performance thermal management applications," "Mineral flame retardants and metal oxides as thermally conductive fillers," "Investigating the effect of material molecular orientation on thermal conductivity of polymeric products" and "Thermally conductive materials based on synthetic rubber."

• In a LinkedIn post, Pluss Advanced Technologies of India announced it has reached a deal with Ferro-Plast Srl of Italy to distribute Pluss products in Europe.

• New from MarketResearch.biz: "Global Advanced Phase Change Material (PCM) Market Trends, Applications, Analysis, Growth, And Forecast: 2018 To 2027"

• New from Invant Research: "Global Advanced Phase Change Material (PCM) Market Study 2015-2025"

• New from Future Market Insights: "Salt Hydrate Market: Global Industry Analysis 2012 - 2016 and Opportunity Assessment; 2017 - 2027"

• New from Polaris Market Research: "Fatty Acid Esters Market, [By Product Type (Glycerol Monostearate, Medium Chain Trigylcerides, Isopropyl Esters (Myrsitate & Palmitate) and Others); By Application (Lubricants, Pharmaceuticals, Personal care & Cosmetics, Surfactants and Others); By Regions]: Market size & Forecast, 2018 – 2026"

Peli BioThermal has opened service centers in Basel and Berlin to support the company's line of Credo reusable temperature-control shippers.

• Nominations are being accepted for Metrohm USA's Young Chemist Award 2019. Entrants submit an abstract of their research for a chance to win a $10,000 cash prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to PITTCON 2019. The contest is limited to undergrad, grad, post-grad and doctoral students in the United States and Canada. Entrants must demonstrate novel research or a novel methodology using titration, ion chromatography, electrochemistry and/or spectroscopy. Applications are due by Dec. 31, 2018.

Sonoco ThermoSafe, a global provider of temperature assurance packaging in the life sciences sector, has an opening for a sales director, responsible for sales growth in North America.

• Sonoco ThermoSafe has posted the agenda for the next Leading Minds Seminar, to be held Nov. 6-7 in London. Co-hosted by ELPRO, the seminar is a chance for pharmaceutical manufacturers, supply chain partners and government representatives to discuss temperature-assurance packaging and data monitoring in a collaborative environment.

ASHRAE Learning Institute will offer 20 courses during the 2019 ASHRAE Winter Conference and AHR Expo. The conference will be held in Atlanta Jan. 12-16. Courses include "Advanced Designs for Net Zero Buildings," "Thermal Energy Storage Systems for Air Conditioning" and "Solar PV and Thermal System Analysis and Design."

Patent application: Personal cooling device with PCM

Ben Welter - Friday, October 12, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180289531 (applicant Relief Technologies Inc., San Francisco, Calif.):

Relief Technologies patent drawing"A cooling device includes a package substrate, a plurality of cooling units, and device electronics. The plurality of cooling units are configured to cool a user's body. Each cooling unit includes a plurality of semiconductor cooling elements sandwiched between a first cooling unit substrate and a second cooling unit substrate. Each of the cooling units is connected to the package substrate. The device electronics are coupled to the cooling units. The device electronics are configured to store a first cooling device profile that includes data indicating an amount of power to deliver to each of the cooling units over a period of time. The device electronics are configured to deliver power to the cooling units according to the first cooling device profile, wirelessly receive a second cooling device profile from an external computing device, and deliver power to the cooling units according to the second cooling device profile."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180289531.pdf

Patent application: Cooling circuit and method on a vehicle

Ben Welter - Friday, October 12, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180291798 (applicant Hutchinson SA, Paris, France):

"A temperature management system on a vehicle cooling circuit using a heat transfer liquid, the circuit comprising a path for circulating the liquid and, arranged on the path: in series, a means for circulating the liquid along the path, an engine for moving the vehicle, whose components are to be placed in a heat exchange relationship with the liquid, and a heat exchanger having an inlet and an outlet for said liquid in order to place this liquid in a heat exchange relationship with another fluid within the exchanger, mounted on a first leg, between the inlet and the outlet of the heat exchanger, a heat store into which said liquid can enter and from which it can exit, and valves positioned so that liquid arriving from the engine flows toward the heat exchanger and/or the heat store, the heat store being a latent heat storage and thermal energy release unit containing at least one volume: enclosing elements made of phase change material (PCM) for storing and releasing the thermal energy contained in said liquid in view of a heat exchange with this liquid (9), and around which is installed a thermal barrier comprising at least one first layer containing a phase change material and which is surrounded by one second layer containing a porous thermally insulating material to thermally isolate said volume from the outside."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180291798.pdf

Patent application: Insulating plastic foams based on polyolefins

Ben Welter - Thursday, October 11, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180291166 (applicant Qatar University, Doha, Qatar):

"A method of manufacturing an article or material, the method comprising: forming a blend composition, the blend composition comprising a polyolefin, a phase change material, and an optional cross-linking agent, and an optional additive material; executing an operation comprising cross-linking the polyolefin to form a cross-linked intermediate composition; executing an operation comprising foaming the cross-linked intermediate composition to form a foamed article or material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180291166.pdf

Patent application: Even carbon number paraffin composition

Ben Welter - Thursday, October 11, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180290946 (applicant REG Synthetic Fuels LLC, Ames, Iowa):

"Paraffin compositions including mainly even carbon number paraffins, and a method for manufacturing the same, is disclosed herein. In one embodiment, the method involves contacting naturally occurring fatty acid/glycerides with hydrogen in a slurry bubble column reactor containing bimetallic catalysts with equivalent particle diameters from about 10 to about 400 micron. The even carbon number compositions are particularly useful as phase change material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180290946.pdf

Patent application: Protective gear and operating control method thereof

Ben Welter - Thursday, October 11, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180290044 (applicant Boe Technology Group Co. Ltd., Beijing, China):

Boe patent drawing"Protective gears and operating control methods thereof are provided. The protective gear includes at least one impact-resistant pad, containing a phase-change material and capable of at least partially wrapping a protected area; a phase-change controller, including a heating device and a cooling device configured to control the phase-change material; and a control circuit, configured to send a signal to the phase-change controller to control the phase-change material to be in a solid phase state after detecting a fall-down of the protected area, and send another signal to the phase-change controller to control the phase-change material to be in a liquid phase state after detecting an un-fall-down of the protected area."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180290044.pdf

Research roundup: Crude glycerol polyurethane composite foams; heat transfer analysis; Kalina cycle; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, October 10, 2018

From Materials:

Thermal Energy Storage and Mechanical Performance of Crude Glycerol Polyurethane Composite Foams Containing Phase Change Materials and Expandable Graphite

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Review on heat transfer analysis in thermal energy storage using latent heat storage systems and phase change materials

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Recent developments in phase change materials for energy storage applications: A review

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Integrated power generation cycle (Kalina cycle) with auxiliary heater and PCM energy storage

From Minerals:

Mullite Stabilized Palmitic Acid as Phase Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Microencapsulated phase change material (MEPCM) saturated in metal foam as an efficient hybrid PCM for passive thermal management: A numerical and experimental study
Inverse method to estimate air flow rate during free cooling using PCM-air heat exchanger

Research roundup: Ternary hydrated salt mixture; earth-air heat exchanger; shape-stabilized fly ash composite PCM; more

Ben Welter - Monday, October 01, 2018

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Two types of composite phase change panels containing a ternary hydrated salt mixture for use in building envelope and ventilation system
Research on cooling performance of phase change material-filled earth-air heat exchanger
An experimental investigation of the phase change process effects on the system performance for the evacuated tube solar collectors integrated with PCMs

From Solar Energy:

Carbon based material included-shaped stabilized phase change materials for sunlight-driven energy conversion and storage: An extensive review

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Experimental Study of Water Solidification Phenomenon for Ice-on-Coil Thermal Energy Storage Application Utilizing Falling Film

From Powder Technology:

Preparation and thermal properties of stearic acid-benzamide eutectic mixture/expanded graphite composites as phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer:

Experimental and numerical study of melting of the phase change material tetracosane

From Particuology:

Effect of particle size on the thermal performance of NaNO3/SiO2/C composite phase-change materials

From Materials Chemistry and Physics:

Low-cost, shape-stabilized fly ash composite phase change material synthesized by using a facile process for building energy efficiency

From Construction and Building Materials:

Preparation and thermal properties of encapsulated ceramsite-supported phase change materials used in asphalt pavements

From Applied Energy: