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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.




Job opening: Croda seeks PCM market applications specialist

Ben Welter - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Croda's Industrial Chemicals Division is looking for a market applications specialist with experience in phase change materials.

The applications specialist will help develop new products based on customer needs, develop new test methods and work on encapsulation projects. A degree in chemistry or chemical engineering, or equivalent experience, is required. Croda's PCM research and development team is located in Gouda, the Netherlands. Contact Marco Auerbach, industrial chemicals team leader,

Solar 2015 includes session on feasibility of seasonal ice thermal energy storage

Ben Welter - Monday, July 13, 2015

Dr. Richard D. Wilk, professor of mechanical engineering at Union College, will present research on the feasibility of seasonal ice thermal energy storage at the Solar 2015 conference at Penn State later this month. Other session topics include "The Great Solar Thermal Debate," "Research Advances in Solar Thermal," "Solar Thermal's Future: The Big Picture" and "High Performance Buildings."  

Dr. Richard D. WilkHere's a description of the July 29 poster session on seasonal ice storage:

"The system consists of a large insulated volume capable of storing large amounts of snow and ice collected in the winter, and storing it for weeks to months to produce chilled water for cooling buildings in hot weather. This project involved developing a transient heat transfer model to predict the time-dependent temperature of a snow/ice bed in a well-insulated compartment subjected to heat gain from the environment and simulated building cooling system return water. The model was used to study the effects of design parameters, like insulation type and thickness as well as the return water flow rate on the melt time."

On a blustery day, wind power generates 140% of Denmark's electrical demand

Ben Welter - Monday, July 13, 2015

At one point on a blustery day last week, Danish wind farms were producing 140 percent of the country's electricity needs, London's Guardian newspaper reports.

"Interconnectors allowed 80% of the power surplus to be shared equally between Germany and Norway, which can store it in hydropower systems for use later," the Guardian reported. "Sweden took the remaining fifth of excess power. ...

"A surge in windfarm installations means Denmark could be producing half of its electricity from renewable sources well before a target date of 2020, according to Kees van der Leun, the chief commercial officer of the Ecofys energy consultancy."

Research roundup: PCM performance in building components; heat sink optimization; integrated TES systems; more

Ben Welter - Monday, July 13, 2015

Experimental Thermal Performance Analysis of Building Components Containing Phase Change Material (PCM) [Procedia Engineering]

A numerical method for PCM-based pin fin heat sinks optimization [Energy Conversion and Management]

Thermal energy storage in building integrated thermal systems: A review. Part 2. Integration as passive system [Renewable Energy]

Thermal properties of shape-stabilized phase change materials using fatty acid ester and exfoliated graphite nanoplatelets for saving energy in buildings [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Thermal conductivity measurement of thermochemical storage materials [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Renewable jobs up 18% in 2014, IRENA reports

Ben Welter - Friday, July 10, 2015

The renewable energy industry employed more than 7.7 million around the world in 2014, the International Renewable Energy Agency reports. That's an 18 percent increase from the previous year’s figure of 6.5 million.

The five countries with the largest renewable energy employment were China, Brazil, the United States, India and Germany. Employment in the United States increased by 16 percent, reaching 724,000 jobs.

The IRENA report, "Renewable Energy and Jobs — Annual Review 2015," also provides a first estimate of employment related to large hydro power, an estimated 1.5 million jobs worldwide. That figure is not included in IRENA's overall jobs total for 2014.

Patent application: Modular prosthetic sockets with PCM-enhanced struts

Ben Welter - Friday, July 10, 2015

LIM Innovations patent 20150190252U.S. patent application (Assignee LIM Innovations, San Francisco):

"The invention relates to a prosthetic socket for a residual limb of the lower extremity or upper extremity of an individual person. ... The prosthetic socket is an assembly of components from groups of components that include (a) struts arranged longitudinally with respect to the residual limb, (b) proximal brim members arranged proximally to the struts and connected thereto; and (c) distal socket members disposed at the distal base of the prosthetic socket. The socket components within these groups may be modular in that they can vary with respect to dimensions and/or contours, and yet have common connecting features that permit assembly of the components together to form the prosthetic socket. ... [A] strut may be adjustable by changes that occur in phase change materials incorporated in the strut."

Patent application: Thermally insulated package with PCM panels

Ben Welter - Friday, July 10, 2015

Peli patent application 20150166244U.S. application 20150166244 (Assignee Peli BioThermal Limited, Great Britain):

"Thermally insulating package comprises an outer shell formed from a foam insulating material, a plurality of vacuum insulated panels removably received on the walls of the outer shell and a plurality of phase change material panels arranged within the vacuum insulated panels to define a payload space. ...

"The present invention seeks to provide a temperature sensitive package which provides good temperature control, but which is compact, robust and potentially less expensive than existing comparable products."

Research roundup: Encapsulation techniques; personal cooling system; adiabatic compressed air energy storage; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Encapsulation techniques for organic phase change materials as thermal energy storage medium: A review [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

A novel personal cooling system (PCS) incorporated with phase change materials (PCMs) and ventilation fans: An investigation on its cooling efficiency [Journal of Thermal Biology]

Adiabatic compressed air energy storage with packed bed thermal energy storage [Applied Energy]

On the Feasibility of Providing Power System Spinning Reserves from Thermal Storage [Energy and Buildings]

Performance Analysis of Thermal Energy Storage Prototype in Thailand [pdf] [Journal of Clean Energy Technologies]

STIG cycle graphic Performance of the solar hybrid STIG cycle with latent heat storage [Applied Energy]

Shape-stabilized phase change materials based on poly(ethylene-graft-maleic anhydride)-g-alkyl alcohol comb-like polymers [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Applications of organic phase change materials embedded in adsorbents for controlling heat produced by charging and discharging natural gas [Adsorption]

Development and stress behaviour of an innovative refrigerated container with PCM for fresh and frozen goods [Multidiscipline Modeling in Materials and Structures]

NRG, Ice Energy team up on behind-the-meter storage in California

Ben Welter - Wednesday, July 08, 2015

NRG Energy and Ice Energy have announced a partnership to help reduce California’s peak energy demand. The two companies will work together on 16 previously announced contracts to provide 25.6 megawatts of behind-the-meter energy storage for Southern California Edison

Ice Bear unitSubject to final approval from the California Public Utilities Commission, about 1,800 Ice Bear units will be installed in Orange County starting early next year. The Ice Bears, attached to standard rooftop commercial AC units, freeze ice at night when power demand is low and capacity abundant. The ice is then stored to provide cooling during the day, when power demand is high and capacity limited.

“Aligning with NRG makes perfect sense as both companies share a common goal of helping California utilities and their customers, as well as businesses build a sustainable future with clean, affordable and reliable energy,” said Mike Hopkins, CEO of Ice Energy. “Energy storage, particularly the distributed and efficient storage capacity provided by our Ice Bears, reduces reliance on fossil fuels and helps better integrate renewable energy sources into a smarter electric grid.”,+Ice+Energy+Enter+Partnership+in+California/10704851.html

Research roundup: Graphene oxide-grafted PCM; properties of granular materials; flat micro-heat pipe; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Novel slurry containing graphene oxide-grafted microencapsulated phase change material with enhanced thermo-physical properties and photo-thermal performance [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Properties of granular materials as heat transfer and storage medium in CSP application [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

PCM thermal storage system for ’free’ heating and cooling of buildings [Energy and Buildings]

Experimental study of the heat transfer characteristics of a new-type flat micro-heat pipe thermal storage unit [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Structural performance of water tank under static and dynamic pressure loading [International Journal of Impact Engineering]