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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.




Bed show buzz: Temperature-regulating foams and fibers

Ben Welter - Friday, February 27, 2015

In its recap of last month's bedding trade show in Las Vegas, BedTimes magazine highlights two PCM-related "megatrends":

"Foam wave. The swelling popularity of foam components in all feels—often with poured gel and other temperature-regulating ingredients, cuts, contours, processes and treatments—cannot be overstated. Period."

"Yarns and fibers at the forefront. Many accessories and mattress fabrics contained viscose yarns that vendors sang the praises of—from 'cooling' to 'antibacterial.' Merino and other wools, organic cotton and other natural fibers had a strong showing among pillow and quilt fills. Other linens and accessories moved in the opposite direction—think polyester 'performance fibers.' "

Patent application: Composite construction panels and applications

Ben Welter - Friday, February 27, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150056404 (assignee Phase Change Energy Solutions Inc.):

"In some embodiments, a composite construction panel comprises a substrate layer, a cover layer separated from the substrate layer by one or more spacers, and at least one mat disposed between the substrate layer and the cover layer, wherein the mat comprises at least one phase change material disposed in at least one phase change region."

Armstrong says PCM ceiling tiles can help schools meet new rules

Ben Welter - Friday, February 27, 2015

Jeremy SumerayArmstrong Ceilings hosted a seminar in London this month explaining how schools can meet new regulations aimed at improving ventilation and thermal comfort in British classrooms.

Phase 2 of the Priority School Building Programme will rebuild or refurbish 277 schools across England at a cost of more than $3 billion.

Jeremy Sumeray, Armstrong’s head of sustainability, said the new Priority School Building Programme provides an ideal opportunity to install lightweight thermal mass. According to a report in Specification Online:

"He revealed how the use of such lightweight thermal mass – recyclable ceiling tiles which incorporate phase change material (PCM) - in a classroom at Belvoir High School in Nottingham had resulted in consistently lower peak temperatures with natural ventilation compared to an identical classroom with standard ceiling tiles."

Qatar's World Cup cooling solution 'very, very expensive'

Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup hinged partly on the promise of a pioneering method for cooling stadiums in the tiny emirate's searing summer heat, which can hit 50º Celsius in June. A 500-seat prototype showed how solar power, chillers and phase change material could be combined to chill and store water to cool stadium air and keep temperatures below 27º C on the field.

Artist's rendering of Al-Gharafa stadiumObservers were skeptical of the solution, and this week a FIFA task force recommended moving the international soccer tournament to November-December 2022. The panel cited the "consistently hot conditions" that prevail in the desert peninsula.

FIFA is expected to approve the move. Still, organizers say they're going ahead with the cooling plan, which has been criticized as overly ambitious and "not good from a long-term sustainability point of view." 

"Basically, you use the heat to produce cold," Graeme Maidment, professor of air conditioning and refrigeration at London South Bank University told the BBC. "It's doable. But it's going to be very, very expensive."

New BASF app calculates impact of PCM use in buildings

Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 25, 2015

PCM app screen shotBASF has just launched an Android app to help architects, engineers and investors assess the impact of phase change materials on a building's cooling load. The free app, which also includes tips for PCM users and links to industry research, calculates potential energy savings based on building materials that incorporate BASF's Micronal phase change material. According to the app description in Google's Play Store:

"Just enter the cooling load of a building conventionally calculated according to VDI 2078. After entering some additional data on the building situation and the desired PCM building material, you are provided with a figure which is a reduction factor for this cooling load, optimized for the application in question. This reduction factor is calculated on the basis of forecast dynamic simulations in standard rooms and applies the user's data to a suitable reference building, extrapolating it to the actual construction project in question.

"The app also takes economic efficiency into account and shows the user the break-even point when the costs required for buying and installing the PCM construction material have been covered by savings in facility investments and energy."

Innostorage training to focus on numerical modeling of thermal energy storage systems

Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Innostorage, an international research project aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions through the use of low-cost thermal energy storage, is offering a training session on numerical modeling. Participants will gather June 15-17 at the University of Lyon, France, to discuss their own ideas and hear lectures by Dr. Gennady Ziskind of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Dr. Albert Castell of the University of Lleida, Spain, and other experts in thermal energy storage and phase change materials.

Patent application: Heat recovery system incorporating PCMs

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 24, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150047579:

"A heat recovery system arranged to heat water includes at least one heat exchanger arranged to heat water by heat exchange with waste heat. ... A preferred type of heat storage unit for this aspect of the invention are those containing phase change materials in order to access the latent heat associated with phase change."

Research roundup: Multiphase ultra-low-grade TES; CCHP case study; building energy system optimization; nanoencapsulation

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 24, 2015

  • Multiphase ultra-low-grade thermal energy storage for organic Rankine cycle [International Journal of Energy Research]

  • Hourly operation strategy of a CCHP system with GSHP and thermal energy storage (TES) under variable loads: A case study [Energy and Buildings]

  • A comparison of thermal energy storage models for building energy system optimization [Energy and Buildings]

  • Review on nanoencapsulated phase change materials: Preparation, characterization and heat transfer enhancement [Nano Energy]

  • Universities to develop joint Ph.D. program on thermal energy storage

    Ben Welter - Monday, February 23, 2015

    Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 program to create a network of universities and research institutes to implement a joint Ph.D. program on thermal energy storage. Partners include Trinity College Dublin, Technical University of Eindhoven, University of Ghent, Warsaw University of Technology, Abengoa Research and KIC InnoEnergy. The program will focus on these technologies:

  • High-temperature thermal energy storage
  • Short-term storage technologies for load management
  • Seasonal storage technologies and storage


    Research roundup: Conventional chiller system; TES at 575° C and above; vermiculite-perlite composites; more

    Ben Welter - Monday, February 23, 2015

  • A comparison of the field performance of thermal energy storage (TES) and conventional chiller systems [Energy]

  • Experimental and numerical investigation of combined sensible–latent heat for thermal energy storage at 575° C and above [Solar Energy]

  • Experimental investigation of the specific heat of a nitrate–alumina nanofluid for solar thermal energy storage systems [International Journal of Thermal Sciences]

  • Preparation of energy efficient paraffinic PCMs/expanded vermiculite and perlite composites for energy saving in buildings [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

  • Electrospun fibers based on polyvinyl pyrrolidone/Eu-polyethylene glycol as phase change luminescence materials [Materials Letters]

  • The Potential of Phase Change Materials to Reduce Domestic Cooling Energy Loads for Current and Future UK Climates [Energy and Buildings]

  • Parametric Investigations of Using a PCM Curtain for Energy Efficient Buildings [Energy and Buildings]

  • Effect of Silver Nanoparticles on the Thermal Properties of Sodium Acetate Trihydrate [International Journal of Thermophysics]