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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.




Research roundup: Ground source heat pump with PCM; vertical shell and tube; novel mPCM slurry; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 04, 2015

Numerical study on ground source heat pump integrated with phase change material cooling storage system in office building [Applied Thermal Energy]

Numerical investigation of heat transfer mechanism in a vertical shell and tube latent heat energy storage system [Applied Thermal Energy]

Theoretical investigation of the energy performance of a novel MPCM (Microencapsulated Phase Change Material) slurry based PV/T module [Energy]

Hydrated salts/expanded graphite composite with high thermal conductivity as a shape-stabilized phase change material for thermal energy storage [Energy Conversion and Management]

Aluminum and silicon based phase change materials for high capacity thermal energy storage [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Little Lotus raises $130,000 on Kickstarter to help bring baby blankets, swaddles to market

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 04, 2015

Little Lotus sleeping bagLittle Lotus, Embrace Innovations' line of PCM-powered baby blankets, sleeping bags and swaddles, has completed its fund-raising campaign on Kickstarter, gathering more than $130,000 in pledges from 676 backers. Embrace Innovations is the for-profit social-enterprise arm of Embrace Global, a nonprofit whose low-cost infant warmer has helped more than 150,000 at-risk infants in India, Afghanistan and other developing nations. 

Little Lotus and the Embrace warmer both use phase change material to regulate body temperature. The Kickstarter campaign, intended to raise money to help bring the Little Lotus to market, tied the two products together: For every Little Lotus purchase over $100, Embrace Innovations pledged to donate $25 toward an infant warmer for a baby in a developing country. The swaddles ($150 a pair) and sleeping bags ($150 a pair) are available in limited quantities at

The Little Lotus line uses PCM embedded in a layer of fabric. Through a public relations representative, Embrace Innovations declined to discuss the PCM or the company's manufacturing plans. The Embrace warmer includes a pouch containing PureTemp 37 phase change material.

Massachusetts launches $10 million energy storage initiative

Ben Welter - Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie BakerMassachusetts' new energy storage initiative includes $10 million in investments and could lead to policy and regulatory changes. Some of the money will fund studies to analyze market opportunities and supply state policymakers with cost-benefit analysis and policy recommendations.

Gov. Charlie Baker says he wants Massachusetts to be an energy storage leader.

“The Commonwealth’s plans for energy storage will allow the state to move toward establishing a mature local market for these technologies that will, in turn, benefit ratepayers and the local economy,” Baker said. “Massachusetts has an exciting opportunity to provide a comprehensive approach to support a growing energy storage industry with this initiative's analysis, policy and program development.”

Research roundup: Thermal stability testing; nanofibers composite; barium-based PCM; domestic hot water tanks

Ben Welter - Monday, June 01, 2015

Review on the methodology used in thermal stability characterization of phase change materials [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Fabrication and characterization of capric–lauric–palmitic acid/electrospun SiO2 nanofibers composite as form-stable phase change material for thermal energy storage/retrieval [Solar Energy]

Effect of Barium-based Phase Change Material (PCM) to Control the Heat of Hydration on the Mechanical Properties of Mass Concrete [Thermochimica Acta]

An experimental and numerical investigation on the use of phase change materials in building elements: The case of a flat roof in Istanbul [Energy and Buildings]

Integration of PCM in Domestic Hot Water Tanks: Optimization for Shifting Peak Demand [Energy and Buildings]

Research roundup: Storage evaporator for vehicle energy management; Heisler chart; PCM applications in building environment; more

Ben Welter - Friday, May 29, 2015

Modeling Air Conditioning System with Storage Evaporator for Vehicle Energy Management [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Expanding Heisler Chart to Characterize Heat Transfer Phenomena in a Building Envelope Integrated With Phase Change Materials [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Experimental evaluation at pilot plant scale of multiple PCMs (cascaded) vs. single PCM configuration for thermal energy storage [Renewable Energy]

Virtual Special Issue - PCM applications in building environment [Building and Environment]

Synthesis and Characteristics of Hygroscopic Phase Change Material: Composite Microencapsulated Phase Change Material (MPCM) and Diatomite [Energy and Buildings]

Design and calculation of a new storage tank for concentrating solar power plant [Energy Conversion and Management]

Microfluidic fabrication and thermal characteristics of core-shell phase change microfibers with high paraffin content [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Synthesis and characterization of thermal energy storage microencapsulated n-dodecanol with acrylic polymer shell [Energy]

Exergy analysis of discharging multi-tank thermal energy storage systems with constant heat extraction [Applied Energy]

Kettering professors partner with Warmilu to improve incubator blanket

Ben Welter - Friday, May 29, 2015

Warmilu's incubator blanket

Two physics professors at Kettering University are working with a Michigan startup on an incubator blanket designed to help preterm infants born in remote parts of developing countries. The goal is to make Warmilu's IncuBlanket stay warmer longer.

"The 8-by-16-inch pouch is filled with phase change material," reports Michigan Live. "To get it warm, all a mother needs to do is boil it and place it in the blanket. Once the warming pack cools to room temperature, there is a spring to push to release more energy and more heat for a few more hours." 

Warmilu says the reusable packs can now maintain a temperature of 37º Celsius for two to five hours. The company hopes to extend that time to six to eight hours.

Research roundup: Flame retardancy of shape-stabilized PCMs; graphite nanoplates; phase change slurries; more

Ben Welter - Friday, May 29, 2015

Flame retardance property of shape-stabilized phase change materials [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Graphite nanoplates loading into eutectic mixture of adipic acid and sebacic acid as phase change material [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Numerical modeling of heat transfer in open-cell micro-foam with phase change material [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Simulation study on dynamic heat transfer performance of PCM-filled glass window with different thermophysical parameters of phase change material [Energy and Buildings]

Effect of carbon nanotube interfacial geometry on thermal transport in solid–liquid phase change materials [Applied Energy]

Numerical analysis of thermal storage performance with high-temperature phase change materials operated by condensing steam [Solar Energy]

Comparison of phase change slurries: Physicochemical and thermal properties [Energy]

Macroencapsulation and characterization of phase change materials for latent heat thermal energy storage systems [Applied Energy]

Patent application: Air conditioning system with supercooled PCM

Ben Welter - Friday, May 29, 2015

Carrier patent application 20150135743

U.S. patent application 20150135743 (assignee Carrier Corp., Farmington, Conn.): "An air conditioning system includes a chiller system including a compressor, a condenser, an expansion device and an evaporator; a phase change material in thermal communication with the condenser; an actuator coupled to the phase change material; and a controller providing a trigger signal to the actuator to initiate changing the phase change material from a supercooled state to a solid state."

NETenergy wins $40,000 at University of Chicago's New Venture Challenge

Ben Welter - Friday, May 29, 2015

Chicago startup NETenergy, an energy storage and management services provider, raked in $40,000 at the University of Chicago's Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge this week.

NETenergy, which won the $100,000 prize at the Clean Energy Trust Challenge earlier this year, was awarded $30,000 from the New Venture Challenge, plus a $10,000 Khosa Maker Prize. The company's thermal energy storage units use phase change composites to store cold energy, allowing customers to shift A/C production to off-peak hours, when electricity is cheaper. The units are paired with software that manages energy use.

Maestro, which is developing a countertop device that can cook pre-portioned healthy foods, won the challenge's top prize of $50,000, plus $20,000 from Pritzker Group Venture Capital.

Advanced energy storage market expected to reach $6.93 billion by 2022

Ben Welter - Friday, May 29, 2015

The global market for advanced energy storage systems is expected to reach $6.93 billion by 2022, according to Grand View Research.

"Rising electricity consumption on a daily basis coupled with increasing energy supply-demand gap has resulted in high need for storage capacity additions," according to the report. Thermal energy storage technology, which now accounts for more than 40 percent of capacity, will continue to dominate the market, "owing to high effectiveness in energy capturing and storing temporarily for use after a stipulated time period."