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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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PCM briefing: Ice Energy seeks distributors in Australia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia; Thermetrics' new manikin can measure PCM effects

Ben Welter - Friday, August 31, 2018

• In an interview with Energy Storage Report, CEO Mike Hopkins discussed Ice Energy's plans to distribute its ice-based thermal energy storage technology in Australia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. In June, the California company announced a $40 million cash infusion from Argo Infrastructure Partners to finance the delivery of Ice Energy's residential and commercial thermal storage contracts.

Thermetrics manikin ANDIThermetrics says its new ANDI sweating thermal manikin has the "unrivaled ability" to measure both positive and negative heat flux and to respond to changing environmental conditions with "unprecedented" speed and accuracy. The new manikin was unveiled this week at the 12th International Meeting of Manikins and Modeling, hosted by the Swiss research institute Empa, in St. Gallen, Switzerland. The manikin can be used to evaluate the thermal performance of apparel, blankets and seats, as well as quantify the cool-to-touch or warm-to-touch temperature-buffering effect in fabrics containing phase change materials. 

• New from LP Information: "2018-2023 Global Eutectic Phase Change Material Consumption Market Report"

• New from Research and Markets: "Phase Change Materials (PCMs) - A Global Market Overview"

• The journal Nature reports that India is cracking down on predatory journals, publications that "actively solicit manuscripts and charge authors hefty fees without providing the services they advertise, such as editing and peer review." 

• Life science laboratories are finding creative ways to reduce the amount of plastic they throw away, The Scientist reports. 

Sonoco ThermoSafe will hold its next Leading Minds Seminar Nov. 6-7 at the Sheraton Skyline Hotel Heathrow, London, England. 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.

Viking Cold Solutions says the thermal energy storage system the company installed at a 93,000-square-foot frozen food distribution center in Richmond, Calif., has reduced peak period energy consumption by up to 43 percent and reduced overall freezer energy consumption by 35 percent. Viking installed the system at the Dreisbach Enterprises warehouse earlier this year. Plastic panels filled with a proprietary salt hydrate are installed evenly throughout the warehouse atop the existing product racks. The PCM absorbs heat as it melts, allowing chillers to run less frequently and still keep the warehouse within a few degrees of the target temperature. The system also includes intelligent controls and sensors to optimize energy use and alert managers to temperature abnormalities, equipment failure and power outages.

10-star energy home features 600 kg of biobased PCM

Ben Welter - Friday, August 31, 2018

10 Star Home exterior

All new homes in Australia must meet energy efficiency standards set in the National Construction Code, which includes the option of complying with the 6 Star Standard. Stars are calculated using computer simulation at the design stage to assess thermal performance based on elements such as orientation, layout, materials, insulation and glazing. The more stars, the better the thermal performance.

Victoria’s first 10-star energy home, completed in 2017, is estimated to cost only $3 a year to heat, cool and light. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom home features a 5kW photovoltaic solar roof, highly efficient LED lighting, cross-flow ventilation, industrial concrete floors, under-slab insulation, double-glazed windows and biobased phase change material in the walls and ceilings.

10 Star Home interiorThe 160-square-meter home was built by The Sociable Weaver of Melbourne in collaboration with Clare Cousins Architects. Natalie Woods, marketing manager at Sociable Weaver, answered questions about the project.

Q: The 10 Star Home has been described as “Australia’s first 10 star rated, carbon positive and zero waste home.” Is that accurate?

A: “The 10 Star Home is Victoria's first home to have a 10 star energy rating. We believe it to also be the first home in Australia to be carbon positive, 10 star rated, and built to zero waste and building biology principles.”

Q: What is the home’s status?

A: “The 10 Star Home is a permanent display home – this is so it can serve as an education resource to the public and to our industry peers. We also run our coastal office from the home, which means we can monitor the home's performance across all four seasons.”

Q: Has your company worked with PCM before? How did you hear about it?

A: “This is the first time we've used BioPCM in a build. It was recommended by our consultant Tim Adams at F2 Design.”

Q. Who supplied the PCM?

A: “The BioPCM was supplied by Phase Change Energy Solutions of Mitcham, Victoria.  The melt temperature range is 20-24C. It is contained in mats made of food-grade plastic.”

Q: How much PCM is used in the home?

A: “The ceiling is 162sqm at 2.7kg/sqm = 437kg and the walls 61sqm = 165kg.”

Q: Is PCM used in a mostly passive manner, assisted by natural ventilation with occasional help from ceiling fans?

A: “The 10 Star Home has been designed to maximum passive solar heating and natural cooling – this includes maximizing northerly sun through large north-facing double-glazed windows, thermal mass in concrete slab flooring and BioPCM insulation in the walls and ceiling.”

Q: What kind of feedback are you getting from people who tour the house, and those who work in the office there?

A:When people walk into the 10 Star Home, often from the cold windy Victorian weather outside, they always remark how warm it is inside the home. The team who work in the home find the space is always a beautifully comfortable temperature inside, no matter what the weather is outside. We can't wait to use this innovative product in a client's home and see how it can benefit a family day-to-day.”

Q: What lessons have you learned that will help you improve your next 10-star home – and where will it be built?

A: “It took a long time to get the design of the home perfect to ensure the carbon positive and 10 Star energy rating, so this was definitely a lesson in patience for everyone involved – but it was well worth it! We're still using the current 10 Star Home as a showcase to industry and clients so don't have plans to build another one just yet, however it would be great to build one in another location in Australia to showcase how the 10 star energy rating can be achieved in different climates.”

Q: Have you since used PCM products in any other projects?

A: “We haven't used Bio-PCM in any of our latest projects but are hoping to use it again soon as we've found it to be so effective in the 10 Star Home.”

Patent application: Moisture wicking and cooling capsules having an outer shell comprising a siloxane

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 30, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180242665 (applicant Microtek Laboratories Inc., Dayton, Ohio):

Microtek cooling capsule patent drawing"Microcapsules or macrocapsules have a core composition that includes a phase changing material (PCM) encapsulated within a polymer wall with an outer shell having a siloxane tethered to an exterior surface of the polymer wall by a surfactant. The siloxane may form a crystalline or a sol-gel outer shell. Methods of making such capsules and textile fabrics and clothing incorporating such capsules include treating pre-formed capsules with a surfactant solution followed by treating with a compound containing a siloxane functional group. The surfactant connects or tethers the siloxane to the exterior surface of the polymer wall and the siloxane forms an outer shell of the capsules."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180242665.pdf

Patent application: Phase change materials and methods of regulating temperature

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 30, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180244971 (applicant Croda International PLC, Yorkshire, Great Britain):

"The present invention provides a phase change material composition comprising an ester of a linear alcohol which has at least 4 carbon atoms and a linear carboxylic acid which has at least 4 carbon atoms, wherein the total number of carbon atoms in the ester is in the range from 13 to 31. The invention also provides products including the phase change material composition and methods of regulating temperature."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180244971.pdf

Research roundup: Shape-stable PCMs in building enclosures; eutectic fatty acid/damar gum; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, August 28, 2018

From Sustainable Cities and Society:

A review on applications of shape-stabilized phase change materials embedded in building enclosure in recent ten years

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Microencapsulation of eutectic and hyper-eutectic Al-Si alloy as phase change materials for high-temperature thermal energy storage

From Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics:

Thermal analysis and heat capacity study of polyethylene glycol (PEG) phase change materials for thermal energy storage applications

From Exergy for A Better Environment and Improved Sustainability:

Investigation of Thermal Characteristic of Eutectic Fatty Acid/Damar Gum as a Composite Phase Change Material (CPCM)

From Composites Part B: Engineering:

Fabrication, morphology and thermal properties of octadecylamine-grafted graphene oxide-modified phase-change microcapsules for thermal energy storage

From Chemical Engineering Transactions:

Study on the Temperature Characteristics of Phase-change Energy Storage Building Materials Based on ANSYS [pdf]

From International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies:

Free cooling using phase change material for buildings in hot-arid climate

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Experimental study on cold storage box with nanocomposite phase change material and vacuum insulation panel

PCM briefing: South African utility scraps CSP plant; Pelican BioThermal seeks Americas sales director

Ben Welter - Monday, August 27, 2018

• The second round of U.S. and China tariffs took effect last week, covering about $4.2 billion in chemicals and plastics. Based on 2017 exports to China, ICIS News says the U.S. commodity chemical products most affected are monoethylene glycol, styrene, EVA copolymers, linear low-density polyethylene, high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and ethylene dichloride.

Dr. Joachim KuhnVa-Q-tec AG's management board has extended the contract of CEO Dr. Joachim Kuhn, the company's founder, through Dec. 31, 2023.

• The South African utility Eskom has decided to scrap development of the 100MW Kiwano concentrated solar power plant and instead invest the money in battery storage.

Pelican BioThermal has an opening for director of sales - Americas in the company's U.S. office in Plymouth, Minn. The director will "oversee all aspects of the growth and development of BioThermal market" in North and South America. Job candidates researching Peli may want to watch the company's latest videos, which show how to assemble the new CoolPall Flex temperature-controlled shipper.

NorthVolt has an opening for a thermal/mechanical design engineer for battery system development at the company's office in Stockholm, Sweden. NorthVolt is building one of the first European large-scale lithium-ion battery factories.

• New from TMR Research: "Thermal Energy Storage Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Trends, Analysis, Growth, and Forecast 2017 - 2025"

• New from QY Research: "Global Phase Change Materials (PCM) Market Professional Survey Report 2018"

• New from Reports and Markets: "Global Cold Chain Equipments Market Insights, Forecast to 2025"

• In an Imaginasium interview, Encapsys President Mary Goggans talks about the Appleton, Wis., microencapsulator's transition to a standalone company over the past two years.

ThermAvant's new coffee mug is designed to get the 'burn' out faster

Ben Welter - Monday, August 27, 2018

ThermAvant Technologies, which introduced the temperature-regulating Lexo travel tumbler in 2016, introduced a new mug this summer called Burnout. The new model is designed to cool hot beverages to a drinkable temperature of 140 degrees F within minutes and keep it there for hours.

ThermAvant founder Bill Ma, an engineering professor at the University of Missouri, says the new mug has faster cooling times, a new lid that limits residue buildup and a lifetime warranty. The Burnout comes in two sizes: 12 ounces ($79.99) and 16 ounces ($99).

The mugs are made in ThermAvant’s 4,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Columbia, Mo. The company plans to move to a new facility with about 20,000 square feet of space later this year.

Ma answered questions about the new product via email:

ThermAvant Burnout mugQ: How is the Burnout mug different from your Lexo models? Both use biobased phase change material to regulate temperature.

A: “1. The cooling rate increases from 4-8 minutes to 2-6 minutes, depending on mug size and initial coffee temperature. The Burnout mug has an item inside to enhance heat transfer. 2. The drinking lid is updated. If you compare the Lexo lid with the Burnout lid, you can find the difference. 3. The Burnout mug has a red or black powder painting, which is unique. 4. The Burnout mug is made in USA. 5. Each mug has a unique number.  When the customer purchases it, he or she can register online and get the lifetime warranty, which will provide the best service. 6. The luxury packaging box.”

Q: Why did you decide to use a new name and new website for this product?

A: “The Burnout name is for taking the ‘burn’ ‘out,’ which can directly tell the feature of our mugs.”

Q: Do you plan to continue to manufacture and sell the Lexo models?

A: “Not in USA.”

Q: In a news account, the PCM in the Burnout is said to be "charged" as part of the assembly process. Describe how the PCM is inserted into the walls of the product and then solidified.

A: “We spent almost two years to develop the confidential equipment to charge PCM, which is confidential.”

Q: Talk about your plans to produce "high-, standard- and low-temperature variants of Burnout.” What three temperatures are you focusing on?

A: “In the near future, we are going to have high-, standard- and low-temperature mugs.”

Q: Anything else you'd like to add?

A: “We are going to launch instant drinking mugs, and two-temperature mugs in 2019.”

Patent application: Encapsulation

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 23, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180235893 (Procter & Gamble Co., Cincinnati, Ohio):

"An improved process of making a benefit agent delivery particle and consumer products incorporating such particles are disclosed. The process comprises the steps of providing a first composition of water phase 1, water phase 2 and water phase 3. Water phase 1 comprises water and an initiator; water phase 2 comprises water, a water-soluble or dispersible amine(meth)acrylate or hydroxyl(meth)acrylate and a multifunctional (meth)acrylate. Water phase 3 comprises water, and carboxyalkyl(meth)acrylate and a base or quarternary ammonium acrylate. The first two water phases are combined to prereact the hydroxy- or amine(meth)acrylate and the multifunctional (meth)acrylate to form a multifunctional hydroxyl-amine(meth)acrylate pre-polymer. The pre-polymer is combined with water phase 3; then an emulsion is formed by emulsifying under high shear agitation a second composition into said first composition; said second composition comprising an oil phase comprising an isocyanate and a benefit agent core material thereby forming a wall surrounding the benefit agent core material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180235893.pdf

Patent application: Thermal device for a fluid, with baffles, and associated circuits

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 23, 2018

Hutchinson thermal device patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180238635 (applicant Hutchinson, Paris, France):

"A thermal device comprising a fluid circulation circuit in which the fluid circulates over time at different temperatures, and a thermal store and heat exchanger arranged on said circuit and enclosing an interior volume in which the fluid circulates, and in which are arranged elements that store and release thermal energy, of PCM type, in contact with the fluid, for heat exchanges. The interior volume of the store and heat exchanger is provided with baffles."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180238635.pdf

Related:

U.S. patent application 20180238636: Unit for storing thermal energy

Patent application: Phase change compositions

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 23, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180237676 (applicant Sunamp Ltd., Edinburgh, Scotland):

"There are herein described phase change materials containing sodium acetate trihydrate having improved homogeneity, a process for the preparation of said materials, and their utility in phase change systems. More particularly, the present invention relates to the use of phase change compositions comprising sodium acetate trihydrate, at least one alkali soluble polymer for inhibition of sodium acetate anhydrous crystal formation in sodium acetatetrihydrate containing phase change materials, and at least one sodium acetate trihydrate nucleation promoter, and, if a lower phase change temperature is required, at least one melting point depressing agent."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180237676.pdf