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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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Research roundup: Solar TES in residential buildings; smart food packaging; expanded metal mesh; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Phase change materials for solar thermal energy storage in residential buildings in cold climate [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Development of Polystyrene-based Films with Temperature Buffering Capacity for Smart Food Packaging [Journal of Food Engineering]

Melting of phase change material assisted by expanded metal mesh [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Lattice Boltzmann simulation of convection melting in complex heat storage systems filled with phase change materials [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Improving Performance of Household Refrigerators by Incorporating Phase Change Materials [International Journal of Refrigeration]

• Preparation and thermal properties of form-stable phase change materials composed of palmitic acid/polypyrrole/graphene nanoplatelets [Energy and Buildings]

In pilot study, radiators store heat, cut use of peak load boilers

Ben Welter - Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Johan KensbyJohan Kensby, a Ph.D. student at Chalmers University in Sweden, is investigating how district energy systems can reduce the use of peak load boilers by storing heat in buildings connected to the network.

“Buildings have large thermal mass. Heat can be stored in the floor, walls, ceiling, and in the water in the radiator system,” he noted in a piece posted this week on the university's website.

In a pilot study, he found it is possible to store as much as 0.1 kilowatt hours of heat per square meter of a building without the indoor temperature varying by more than 0.5 degrees Celsius.

“The residents do not notice it," he said. "Temperature variations of this size are already present, for example when cooking.” 

http://www.chalmers.se/en/areas-of-advance/energy/news/Pages/Thermal-energy-storage-in-buildings-makes-district-heating-more-climate-friendly.aspx

Research roundup: 'Red Brick' TES; rocks as filler material; thermoelectric space cooling; more

Ben Welter - Monday, May 04, 2015

Preparation and thermal characterization of composite “Paraffin/Red Brick” as a novel form-stable of phase change material for thermal energy storage [International Journal of Hydrogen Energy]

Stability testing of thermal oil in direct contact with rocks used as filler material for thermal energy storage in CSP power plants [Energy Procedia]

Improving the Thermochemical Energy Storage Performance of the Mn2O3/Mn3O4 Redox Couple by the Incorporation of Iron [ChemSusChem]

Experimental and Numerical Evaluation of Longitudinally Finned Latent Heat Thermal Storage Systems [Energy and Buildings]

Facile synthesis and thermal performances of stearic acid/titania core/shell nanocapsules by sol–gel method [Energy]

Theoretical study on effective thermal conductivity of salt/expanded graphite composite material by using fractal method [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Study of a Thermoelectric Space Cooling System Integrated with Phase Change Material [Applied Thermal Energy]

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]