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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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New utilities plant at LAX has 1.5-million-gallon thermal energy storage tank

Ben Welter - Friday, May 01, 2015

LAX Central Utility Plant

Los Angeles International Airport has opened its new 75,000-square-foot central utilities plant. The $438 million facility includes a 1.5-million-gallon thermal energy storage tank and a 8.4 MW cogeneration plant consisting of gas-turbine-driven generators. The “waste” heat will be reused for heating and to power steam-driven chillers.

ARUP and Gruen Associates collaborated as subconsultants to contractors Clark/McCarthy on the project. The tank was built by Chicago Bridge & Iron.

http://www.cospp.com/articles/2015/04/8-4-mw-cogeneration-plant-to-power-los-angeles-international-airport.html

Modernization of system in Italy earns Global District Energy Climate Award

Ben Welter - Friday, May 01, 2015

The modernization of the district heating system in Lodi, Italy, was among the projects honored at the annual Global District Energy Climate Awards in Estonia this week. Improvements to the 11-year-old system include the addition of thermal energy storage tanks designed to store up to 10 MWh, with a peak charge/discharge of 5 MW.

Also honored were:

• A CHP system based on renewable biomass in Braunschweig, Germany. The new Hungerkamp system replaces 34 oil- and coal-fired boilers and is projected to eliminate 8,000 tons of CO₂ a year. 

• A combined heating and cooling system in Helsinki, Finland. An overall 80 percent energy saving is projected for the system, which relies on seawater for both heating and cooling.

• A deep geothermal system in Kirchweidach, Germany. The system supplies residents with renewable heat and electricity and heats a 30-acre greenhouse that grows peppers and tomatoes that would otherwise be imported. 

http://www.districtenergy.org/blog/2015/04/27/2015-global-district-energy-climate-awards-announced/

Patent application: Insect repellent, fireproof thermal paint with PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 30, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150111984 (inventor Alberto Vargas San Jose): "This remarkable invention provides: a vinyl-acrylic water base paint that contains encapsulated phase change materials of oleoresin from capsaicin or capsicum, derived directly from the placenta of the chili pepper. The paint also has fire-retardant properties, in one of its modes. The paint is also used to maintain the temperature of a closed enclosure, in a zone of temperature that depends on the components of phase change materials and where they can work in a range of temperatures suitable for zones of comfort and cooling areas, saving costs because of less use of air conditioning and heating equipment systems."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2015/0111984.html

Patent application: Temperature-regulating apparel with PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 30, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150106992U.S. patent application 20150106992 (applicant Under Armour Inc.): "The present invention is directed toward an article of apparel effective to regulate the temperature of the wearer. In an embodiment, the article of apparel includes a base textile with a thermal regulation membrane. The thermal regulation membrane contains a plurality of system-reactive components selectively engaged heat and/or moisture. In an embodiment, the printed coating includes a cooling agent, a phase change material, and a heat dissipation material. In operation, the article of apparel is effective to delay/diminish the rise in skin temperature (compared to a garment lacking the membrane), increasing wearer comfort."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150106992.pdf

Patent application: Heat storage member for canister

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 30, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150107561 (assignee Aisan Kogyo Kabushiki Kaisha): "A heat storage member housed in a canister together with an adsorbent capable of adsorbing fuel vapor has a sealed container and a phase-change material housed in the sealed container. The phase-change material becomes semisolid gel state at the melting point of the phase-change material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150107561.pdf

Research roundup: Expanded graphite with PCM; thermal cycle test; concrete with macroencapsulated PCM; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, April 28, 2015

RT100/expand graphite composite phase change material with excellent structure stability, photo-thermal performance and good thermal reliability [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Thermal Cycle Test of Binary Mixtures of Some Fatty Acids as Phase Change Materials For Building Applications [Energy and Buildings]

Development of structural–functional integrated concrete with macro-encapsulated PCM for thermal energy storage [Applied Energy]

Phase Change Materials—A Sustainable Way of Solar Thermal Energy Storage [pdf] [Energy Sustainability Through Green Energy]

Characterization and real-time testing of phase-change materials for solar thermal energy storage [Energy Research]

Latent Heat Thermal Storage (LHTS) for Energy Sustainability [Energy Sustainability Through Green Energy]


Axiom Exergy's 'Refrigeration Battery' set for supermarket trial

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 23, 2015

California startup Axiom Exergy says its "Refrigeration Battery" is ready for its first supermarket trial. The system stores water chilled at night, when electricity is cheapest, to take the load off condensers and compressors during the day. The system also provides backup refrigeration during power outages. Greentech Media's Jeff St. John reports that the company plans to begin scaling up to commercial production later this year.

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/axiom-exergy-turns-supermarket-fridges-into-energy-storage-assets

New School's University Center, Federal Center South win AIA sustainability awards

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 23, 2015

New School University CenterThe New School's University Center, a 370,000-square-foot mixed-use building in Manhattan, has made the American Institute of Architects' list of the Top 10 Most Sustainable Projects of 2015. The LEED Gold building, right, features a thermal energy storage system that makes ice at night, when electricity is cheaper, to help cool the structure during the day. University Center was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

Federal Center South, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office building in Seattle, was honored as the AIA's Top 10 Plus winner. The building's HVAC system includes heat-recovery chillers that extract heat from a thermal storage tank to warm the building in the morning, when demand is high. A rooftop tank is filled with 2-foot-long panels containing phase change material that freezes and thaws at 55 degrees, serving as a battery for storing energy. Federal Center South was designed by ZGF Architects.

http://www.archdaily.com/623000/aia-names-top-10-most-sustainable-projects-of-2015/

Ergodyne launches 3 redesigned cooling vests

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 23, 2015

Ergodyne of St. Paul, Minn., has launched three redesigned cooling vests featuring phase change material. The maker of workplace gear says flexible honeycomb cooling packs and a shorter, wider vest design give wearers increased comfort and mobility. Ergodyne says the cooling material is a "non-toxic, non carcinogenic substance." Product safety data sheets identify the PCM as a paraffin.  

http://ergodyne.com/newsevents/Pages/Ergodyne-Announces-New-Product-Additions-to-Phase-Change-Series.aspx