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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.




New building at Brussels Airport features seasonal thermal energy storage

Ben Welter - Friday, March 27, 2015

Connector, new building at Brussels Airport

The Connector, an $81 million addition to the Brussels Airport, opened to passengers this week. Seasonal thermal energy storage is among the building's energy-efficient features. The system covers about 70 percent of the energy needed to heat the building and about 30 percent of the energy needed to cool it. Rainwater from the roof is collected in a 177,000-gallon reservoir that supplies water for sanitary use.

Job posting: Junior Chemist at Entropy Solutions' lab in Alabama

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 26, 2015

Entropy Solutions has an opening at its lab in Tuscaloosa, Ala., for a skilled Junior Chemist. Candidates for this job must possess a basic knowledge of phase change materials, including synthesis and purification routes. A B.S. or M.S. degree in chemistry, with a minimum of 2 years of practical lab experience, is required.

AIRAH to hold workshop on solar heating, cooling April 23

Ben Welter - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

For our friends down under:

AIRAH — the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Airconditioning and Heating — will hold a workshop on solar heating and cooling at the University of Wollongong on April 23. The full-day event includes a tour of the university's Sustainable Buildings Research Centre, which houses rigs for the development and testing of photovoltaic thermal systems and phase change materials.

CALMAC's take on behind-the-meter energy storage

Ben Welter - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Thermal energy storage pioneer CALMAC examines the state of behind-the-meter TES and sees a future teeming with possibilities:

"Intermittency issues inherent to renewable energy generation mean that continued growth in distributed and behind-the-meter storage creates new opportunities for energy storage applications in zero energy buildings. Likewise, the rise of the green building movement has clued more contractors, engineers and architects into the cost-saving advantages of incorporating solar and energy storage for behind-the-meter generation."

Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

Ben Welter - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Phase Change Matters logoNew on LinkedIn: A group devoted to the discussion of phase change material and thermal energy storage, a place for PCM and TES experts and industry leaders from around the world to gather and share ideas. It's called Phase Change Matters, and it's intended as a highly interactive complement to the blog and newsletter of the same name.

The first topic up for discussion: PCM and off-peak cooling systems:

TES pioneers like CALMAC and Ice Energy have been installing ice-based energy storage systems for years. And district cooling has been around for decades. What are the main barriers to wider adoption of phase change material in these types of thermal energy storage systems? Complexity? Education? Cost?

You are invited to join the discussion. Here's a link to the group:

U.S. energy storage capacity poised for rapid growth

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

U.S. energy storage capacity is expected to more than triple over the next five years, according to a new report from GTM Research. Utility-scale installations accounted for 90 percent of new capacity in 2014, according to the report, but behind-the-meter storage, such as Ice Energy's load-shifting Ice Bear system, is gaining momentum. Analysts predict a "break-out" year for that segment in 2015, putting it on track to make up 45 percent of the overall market by the end of 2019.

Here's a summary from the Christian Science Monitor:

Research roundup: Insulated greenhouse with shutters; nano-media supercooling; multi-split air source heat pump

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The effect of nocturnal shutter on insulated greenhouse using a solar air heater with latent storage energy [Solar Energy]

Supercooling and cold energy storage characteristics of nano-media in ball-packed porous structures [AIP Advances]

Defrosting performances of a multi-split air source heat pump with phase change thermal storage [International Journal of Refrigeration]

Outlast PCM/down filling material makes FabricLink's Top 10

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Outlast Technologies' Universe PCM/down filling material has won a place on FabricLink's list of top 10 textile innovations for 2014-2015. The filling material "adds lightness, fluffy volume and naturalness, while regulating and optimizing the climate comfort."

The award honors commercially available materials and technologies that have launched during the past year. Other winners this year include 3M's Thinsulate Featherless Insulation, Carhartt's flame-resistant Extremes Arctic outerwear and Freudenberg's nonwoven polyester lining material.

Ohio teen's PCM proposal wins MIT THINK award

Ben Welter - Monday, March 23, 2015

Aditya JobAn Ohio teen's proposal to use phase change material to improve the efficiency of photovoltaic panels is one of three winners in MIT's annual THINK competition. Aditya Jog, a sophomore at Mason High School near Cincinnati, will receive $2,000 to build his project, a $500 scholarship and project mentorship from MIT students.

"Photovoltaic cells have the potential to utilize the planet’s most plentiful renewable energy source, yet their widespread use has been impeded because of relatively low efficiency," he wrote in his application. "The solar to electrical conversion efficiency of photovoltaic devices suffers when they operate at elevated temperatures. Current solutions rely on active heat dissipation, increasing both capital and operating costs. This proposal offers an alternative, passive heat dissipation system that employs a solid-liquid phase change material as a temperature regulator."

The THINK Scholars Program, sponsored this year by Thomson Reuters, is run by a team of MIT undergraduate students.