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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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Utilities can maintain profits while reducing energy consumption, Economist says

Ben Welter - Friday, April 10, 2015

The Economist lists ice-based energy storage systems as among the technologies that can slash energy consumption without dampening economic growth.

"Storing off-peak energy as ice is particularly useful for air-cooling systems, one of the industrialised world’s biggest energy hogs," the Economist notes. "Air conditioning in commercial buildings accounts for about 5% of America’s electricity use. But in some parts of the country, on a hot day, the figure can reach 30%. Cooling systems from Calmac, a firm that used to make furnaces, store energy by cooling water mixed with antifreeze when power is cheap, and release it when it is needed, rather than relying on power-hungry compressors to cool the building during peak daytime hours."

http://www.economist.com/news/international/21647974-slash-electricity-use-both-utilities-and-their-customers-must-play-their-part-green

A virtual tour of NYC's passive house movement

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 09, 2015

Map of NYC passive housesCurbed New York has compiled a list of 21 buildings in New York City designed to meet energy-use standards outlined by Germany's Passive House Institute. 

Most of New York's passive houses are in Brooklyn. The list includes 23 Park Place, NYC's first certified passive house; 951 Pacific, a three-unit row house that is aiming for "net zero" status, allowing each homeowner "the possibility of living without eternal power costs"; and 45-12 11th Street, which has been called the ugliest house in Queens.

ny.curbed.com/archives/2015/04/08/mapping_new_york_citys_booming_passive ...

Patent application: Utilizing waste heat in hybrid vehicle via PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 09, 2015

Patent application 20150089922 drawingPatent application 20150089922 (Assignee: Ford Global Technologies): "The system may reduce engine warm-up time and increase an amount of time an engine of a hybrid vehicle is deactivated while the hybrid vehicle is powered by a motor. In one example, a phase change material selectively stores and releases exhaust gas energy from and engine to improve vehicle operation."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150089922.pdf

Research roundup: Portable climate control; diatomite as PCM carrier material; translucent passive solar wall

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 09, 2015

Thermal battery for portable climate control [Applied Energy]

Diatomite: A promising natural candidate as carrier material for low, middle and high temperature phase change material [Energy Conservation and Management]

Full scale experimentation on a new translucent passive solar wall combining silica aerogels and phase change materials [Solar Energy]

PCM market projected to reach $339 million in the Americas by 2019

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 09, 2015

The market for advanced phase change materials in the Americas will reach $339.56 million by 2019, according to the latest report from MicroMarket Monitor. That's a compound annual growth rate of 19.9% from 2014 to 2019. The report identifies the shipping, packaging and refrigeration segment as a key driver and attributes much of the growth to initiatives by the Emerging Technologies Coordinating Council, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and other bodies.

MicroMarket Monitor is planning to release similar reports next month on the PCM markets in Asia-Pacific and Middle East-Africa. The Asia-Pacific market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 19.2 percent from 2013 to 2018. The Middle East-Africa market is expected see a CAGR of 11.9 percent in the same period.

http://www.micromarketmonitor.com/market/americas-advanced-phase-change-materials-3734986145.html

Free primer on thermal energy storage

Ben Welter - Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Looking for a good primer on thermal energy storage? GreenCE offers a free online course on the topic, "Thermal Energy Storage: A Vital Ingredient to a Low Carbon Future." AIA members and LEED professionals can earn continuing education credits by completing the hourlong course and passing a quiz. 

Other free courses include "Energy Efficiency and HVAC System Design" and "Off the Grid Part 1 - A Case Study."

http://www.greence.com/cgi-bin/info.pl?action=course&id=37

Trane/CALMAC system is finalist in 2015 chiller competition

Ben Welter - Wednesday, April 08, 2015

An ice-enhanced, air-cooled chiller plant is among the finalists in Consulting-Specifying Engineer's 2015 Product of the Year competition. The system, which combines Trane's EarthWise plants with CALMAC's IceBank tanks, shifts energy demand to off-peak hours, when electricity is cheaper.

The three other finalists in the chiller category: The Danfoss Variable Twin Turbo series of water-cooled, evaporative cooled compressors; the 1,500-ton capacity Daikin Magnitude magnetic bearing chiller; and the WaterFurnace WC Screw Chillers. 

http://www.csemag.com/single-article/consulting-specifying-engineer-2015-product-of-the-year-finalists-chillers/4034db578361f5779737d4b2816ed92a.html

Research roundup: PCM in transparent building elements; biomass and pit TES; hybrid thermal management for batteries

Ben Welter - Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Phase change materials (PCMs) integrated into transparent building elements: a review [Materials for Renewable and Sustainable Energy]

A hybrid optimization model of biomass trigeneration system combined with pit thermal energy storage [Energy Conversion and Management]

A hybrid thermal management system for lithium ion batteries combining phase change materials with forced-air cooling [Applied Energy]

Steep growth projected for Europe's organic PCM market through 2018

Ben Welter - Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The European market for organic phase change materials is projected to see a compound annual growth rate of 20.4 percent from 2013 to 2018, according to the latest report from MicroMarket Monitor. Organic PCMs fall into two categories: paraffins (derived from petroleum) and fatty acids (derived from animal fat and plant oils). The report, to be released May 2, attributes much of the growth to new government rules aimed at reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.

http://www.micromarketmonitor.com/market/europe-organic-advanced-phase-change-materials-8730183541.html

Research roundup: PCM in free-moving ceiling; phase interface effects; window shutter; solar chimney; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Melting processes of phase change materials in an enclosure with a free-moving ceiling: An experimental and numerical study [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Phase interface effects in the total enthalpy-based lattice Boltzmann model for solid–liquid phase change [Journal of Computational Physics]

Electroless plating of copper layer on surfaces of urea–formaldehyde microcapsule particles containing paraffin for low infrared emissivity [Particuology]

Constructal design of phase change material enclosures used for cooling electronic devices [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Numerical study of PCM solidification in a finned tube thermal storage including natural convection [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Effect of water based AL2O3 Nanoparticle PCM on cool storage performance [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Optimization of Heat Exchange in a Heat Accumulator with Latent Heat Storage [Procedia Technology]

Performance of a window shutter with phase change material under summer Mediterranean climate conditions [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Review on shell materials used in the encapsulation of phase change materials for high temperature thermal energy storage [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

An experimental study on the thermal performance of a solar chimney without and with PCM [Renewable Energy]