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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.




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."

Research roundup: Laminar convection heat transfer; PCM-enhanced building components

Ben Welter - Thursday, May 14, 2015

Review of Laminar Convection Heat-Transfer with Microencapsulated Phase Change Material Slurry [Advances in Intelligent Systems Research]

•  Overview of Basic Solid–Liquid PCMs Used in Building Envelopes—Thermal and Energy Modeling of PCM-Enhanced Building Envelopes Methods, Encapsulation, and Thermal Enhancement [PCM-Enhanced Building Components]

Short History of PCM Applications in Building Envelopes [PCM-Enhanced Building Components]

Thermal and Energy Modeling of PCM-Enhanced Building Envelopes [PCM-Enhanced Building Components]

Phase change material cool for schools, says BASF's Tony Heslop

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tony Heslop, BASFTony Heslop, regional market development manager at BASF, weighs in on Britain's $3 billion school repair and improvement program.

"Under the initiative," he writes in the May issue of the Construction Index magazine, "draught-free ventilation is now mandatory and there is an expectation that passive cooling using thermal mass will be included in a school design." Adding thermal mass in the form of plasterboard and ceiling tiles infused with phase change material can help designers comply with the new standards.

Leading interdisciplinary team helped PCM researcher see big picture

Ben Welter - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dr. Sarah McCormackIn an interview on the European Cooperation in Science and Technology website, an assistant professor of engineering at Dublin's Trinity College talks about how COST has helped her see the big picture in her research.

Sarah McCormack chaired COST Action TU0802, developing an interdisciplinary community focused on renewable energy systems and phase change material.

"The main aim was to develop new materials for renewable energy storage applications in terms of heating and cooling, particularly renewable applications," she said. "This did not necessarily mean coming up with new modeling techniques, but more accurate ones, by finding ways to incorporate phase change materials or thermal energy storage processes into software readily available. ... The COST Action gave me a chance to meet other experts, look at the small-scale buildings aspects, and helped me understand how we can integrate these renewable energy systems."

Patent application: Phase change material pack for air conditioning system

Ben Welter - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150121944 (assignee: VKR Holding A/S, Denmark): "A phase change material (PCM) pack for an air conditioning system comprises phase change material sealed between a first thermally conductive layer forming a first outer surface of the PCM pack and a second thermally conductive layer forming a second outer surface of the PCM pack. At least the first or second outer surface of the PCM pack takes the form of a substantially planar surface having defined therein a plurality of depressions deviating from the planar surface towards the interior of the PCM pack in a direction perpendicular to the planar surface. The depressions improve heat transfer between the pack and an airflow passing over the surface of the PCM pack."

Research roundup: Mini-emulsion polymerization; microcapsules in garments; diesel engine waste heat recovery

Ben Welter - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Poly(methyl methacrylate) copolymer nanocapsules containing phase-change material (n-dodecanol) prepared via miniemulsion polymerization [Journal of Applied Polymer Science]

Influences of the PCM Microcapsules on Thermal Properties of the Garment [pdf] [International Conference on Information Sciences, Machinery, Materials and Energy]

Experimental Investigation of a Cascaded Latent Heat Storage System for Diesel Engine Waste Heat Recovery [Energy Sources]

Drake Landing seen as model for combining solar power, thermal storage in cold climate

Ben Welter - Monday, May 11, 2015

Schematic drawing of Drake Landing Solar Community

CleanTechnica's Glenn Meyers offers a fresh look at Drake Landing Solar Community near Calgary, Alberta. The subdivision's district heating system, which combines garage-mounted solar panels with thermal storage, supplies more than 90 percent of the space heating needs of 52 single-family houses. An array of 144 boreholes 37 meters deep serves as an in-ground heat sink for seasonal storage.

"U.S. developers with renewable energy goals should look closely at the DLSC model," Meyers writes. "When calculating the energy savings, the large infrastructure costs can be offset over time. Potential homeowners may need convincing about future economic benefits that might be gained from being more independent from traditional utilities."

Outlast's new acrylic fiber uses unencapsulated phase change material

Ben Welter - Monday, May 11, 2015

Outlast President Martin BentzOutlast Technologies and Thai Acrylic Fibre have developed a new acrylic fiber using unencapsulated phase change material.

Outlast says the new fiber performs four times better than the existing version in regulating temperature in apparel and blankets. 

“We are using now a non-encapsulated pPCM system and we no longer work with encapsulated mPCMs here,” explained Martin Bentz, president of the Golden, Colo., company. “This change allowed us to improve the performance of the new Outlast acrylic fibers enormously. With that, the spinning and dyeing properties are enhanced.” 

Papers sought for 2016 conference on building design for Gulf, Mediterranean climates

Ben Welter - Friday, May 08, 2015

Papers are being sought for a 2016 conference focused on building design and system technologies.  

Nesreen GhaddarThe second International Conference on Efficient Building Design: Materials and HVAC Equipment Technologies will take place Sept. 22–23, 2016, in Beirut, Lebanon.  The conference objective is to present advanced research on better building design, adapted to the hot, humid Gulf climate and the moderate, humid Mediterranean climate, according to conference chair Nesreen Ghaddar.

"This conference will serve as a platform for presenting advanced research in these topics with the intent to highlight emerging new HVAC technologies with renewables integration, optimal ventilation and indoor air quality and adapting alternative refrigerants to warmer climates," said Ghaddar, a professor of mechanical engineering at the American University of Beirut, one of the sponsors. "Specifically, direction is sought on which HVAC technologies best utilize solar PV power, what techniques to use for separate sensible and latent heat management, and how to develop hybrid systems that combine mechanical and mixed ventilation methods."

Abstracts are due Sept. 15, 2015.

EU seeks proposals for next-gen district energy pilot project

Ben Welter - Friday, May 08, 2015

The European Commission's Directorate-General for Energy is seeking proposals for a pilot project to develop next-generation district heating and cooling technology.   

"The pilot should contribute to developing the next generation district heating and cooling by integrating the intelligent use and control of distributed energy storage systems in the network; improving design and control of substations in the building; integrating multiple thermal generation inputs (renewable solar thermal, geothermal, waste heat) and storage, and to providing solutions for intelligent control of the overall network, in particular the thermal energy demand of the connected buildings, and both distributed and collective thermal energy storage systems."

The two-year contract is worth 1.75 million euros (1.9 million USD). The deadline for receipt of tenders is June 19, 2015.