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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.




Up to $55 billion available in energy savings performance contracts

Ben Welter - Friday, April 03, 2015

The Department of Energy is seeking proposals for the implementation of energy savings performance contracts at any U.S. government site worldwide. Up to $55 billion is available, spread across 12 "indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity" contracts. Thermal energy storage is among the project categories. Reed Smith offers an excellent overview of the opportunity:

"Although bidding is limited to energy service companies ... this is still a great opportunity for teaming and/or subcontracting and financing some of the most innovative projects of this decade. With smaller government spending and more focus on holding contractors accountable, DOE’s ESPC program may be a blueprint for government contractors moving forward."

Dutch-led project explores use of high-temperature PCMs to improve industrial efficiency

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 02, 2015

A consortium led by the Energy Research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) is working to develop industrial heat storage applications using phase change materials. The two-year LOCOSTO project is focusing on the application of new PCMs with a substantial heat storage density at temperatures between 100°C and 250°C.

Participants include end users Dow Chemical and Emmtec Services, engineering consultant DWA, system supplier Bronswerk Heat Transfer and materials suppliers Nedmag, Salca and Croda.

Patent application: Thermal management system with PCM liner and panels

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 02, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150068242 [Pelican BioPharma, applicant]:

Patent application U.S. patent application 20150068242 drawing"A thermal management system includes a case; an insulation material provided within the case, the insulation material defining an interior volume of the insulation material; a liner arranged in the interior volume, the liner having an inner surface that extends toward a center of the case; an outer container of phase change material provided in the liner, the outer container comprising a plurality of outer panels containing a first phase change material, the plurality of outer panels comprising a bottom outer panel, a top outer panel, and side outer panels; and an inner container of phase change material provided in the outer container, the inner container comprising a plurality of inner panels containing a second phase change material; wherein an outer surface of each of the side outer panels is parallel with the inner surface of the liner."

Pluss Polymers seeks funding to help introduce new products

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 02, 2015

Pluss Polymers, a New Delhi-based maker of phase change materials and specialized polymers, is seeking to raise additional funding to help introduce new products, including a low-cost solar drier designed for small farms. 

“We are looking at raising another round of funding that should be complete in six to eight months. It would help us bring out newer products. The company is also looking at entering the retail, pharma transport and building market this year,” Samit Jain, business development director, told India's Financial Chronicle.

Gainesville library adding ice-based energy storage system

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 02, 2015

The county library in downtown Gainesville, Fla., is replacing its existing 195-ton chiller with a high-efficiency 130-ton chiller and five thermal energy storage tanks. The tanks will be used to collect and freeze water during off-peak hours, when electricity is cheaper. The ice will then be used to chill the building's air-conditioning system during the day. The CALMAC system is projected to save the county about $40,000 a year in energy costs.

Research roundup: Solid-liquid phase change region; latent heat and cold storage; energy requirements vs. comfort levels

Ben Welter - Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Thermal properties of n-pentadecane, n-heptadecane and n-nonadecane in the solid/liquid phase change region [International Journal of Thermal Sciences]

Parametrical analysis of latent heat and cold storage for heating and cooling of rooms  [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Phase change materials for photovoltaic thermal management [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Analysis of energy requirements versus comfort levels for the integration of phase change materials in buildings [Journal of Building Engineering]

Research roundup: PCM in building walls; chitosan-gelatin microcapsules; STES analysis; silicon carbide powder

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Thermal Energy Storage for Building: Thermodynamic and Heat Transfer
Analysis for Integration of PCMs in Building Walls
[ American Society for Engineering Education]

The Preparation and Characterization of Chitosan–Gelatin Microcapsules and Microcomposites with Fatty Acids as Thermal Energy Storage Materials [Energy Technology]

Net energy analysis of a solar combi system with Seasonal Thermal Energy Store [Applied Energy]

Preparation of Microcapsules Containing Phase Change Material and Silicon Carbide Powder with Interfacial Polycondensation Reaction Method [Materials Sciences and Applications]

Thermal storage expert Lucas Hyman joins Entropy Solutions board of advisors

Ben Welter - Monday, March 30, 2015

Lucas Hyman, P.E.Lucas B. Hyman, an internationally renowned authority on thermal energy storage, has joined Entropy Solutions Inc.’s board of advisors.

Mr. Hyman, founder and president of Goss Engineering Inc. of Corona, Calif., is a LEED-accredited mechanical engineer with more than 30 years of experience. His clients have included major universities, government agencies, schools, hospitals, industrial facilities, the military and private firms. He is the author of two books, “Sustainable On-site CHP Systems” (McGraw-Hill, 2009) and “Sustainable Thermal Storage Systems” (McGraw-Hill, 2011) and has published a number of papers and articles.

Research roundup: Nanomaterial composite PCMs; close-contact melting; mush region effect; underfloor heating; more

Ben Welter - Monday, March 30, 2015

Preparation and thermal properties characterization of carbonate salt/carbon nanomaterial composite phase change material [Energy Conversion and Management]

Close-contact melting in a horizontal cylindrical enclosure with longitudinal plate fins: Demonstration, modeling and application to thermal storage [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

A similarity solution to unidirectional solidification of nano-enhanced phase change materials (NePCM) considering the mushy region effect [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Application of PCM underfloor heating in combination with PCM wallboards for space heating using price based control system [Applied Energy]

Thermal conductivities and characteristics of ternary eutectic chloride/expanded graphite thermal energy storage composites [Applied Energy]

Q&A: Determining the melting point of phase change material

Ben Welter - Monday, March 30, 2015

Sankalp Arpit, a junior research fellow at the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai, asks:

"I am working on phase change material in which I am doing characterization. I am getting melting point as 168 degree Celsius in DSC. When I am keeping it in quartz glass by increasing its volume, and I am keeping it in furnace and I am also attaching thermocouple to it and I am measuring it by data logger, then I am getting 179 degree Celsius. Which is the correct method?”

Dr. Mohammed Farid's reply:

"There is no melting point but rather a melting range since these are not pure compounds. I assume you are referring to the start of the melting. If the DSC is done at a very low heating rate, such as 1°C/minute, then the measurement should be accurate but not if the heating rate is high. If the sample is placed in an oven and heated very slowly then that the measured melting point is correct, especially if a clear constant temperature is observed during melting."