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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 monthly PCM newsletter. Or join the discussion on LinkedIn.




Green Chemistry 101

Ben Welter - Wednesday, November 26, 2014

John Warner
"Bioneer" John Warner, a chemist, professor and co-founder of the Warner-Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry, appeared on KGNU's "How on Earth" podcast this month to talk about green chemistry and biomimicry.

"We know that everything nature happens at room temperature, at ambient pressure and using water for the most part as a solvent," Warner said. "... Why does nature work so well at these moderate temperatures?"

You could even say it glows

Ben Welter - Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Rudolph Microencapsulation of PCMs typically involves a single purpose: thermal energy storage. What if you could make that material glow as well? That's what three researchers at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology set out to find. They designed and synthesized PCM microcapsules with an n-eicosane core and zirconium dioxide shell to attain the characteristics of latent-heat storage/release and photoluminescence. Potential applications include intelligent fibers and photosensitive devices.

Stay warm for less by storing heat better

Ben Welter - Monday, November 24, 2014

By examining heat flows in a three-bedroom house, the UK Energy Research Centre has found that phase change materials can store heat three times more effectively when combined with heat pumps than existing methods such as storage heaters. "What's great about storage is that heat can be generated off-peak while 'waste' heat can be saved for later use, thus increasing energy efficiency and cutting cost, assuming, of course, we have an appropriate tariff structure that incentivizes storage," the project's lead researcher, Philip Eames, told

What PCMs are available for use in catalytic converters?

Ben Welter - Friday, November 21, 2014

Subramanian Sendilvelan of Bharath University in Chennai, India, asks, via ResearchGate: What phase change materials are available at 300˚C for use in catalytic converters? A professor at Chaitanya Bharathi Institute of Technology in Hyderabad suggests a 2012 paper on the use of PCMs in vehicles might be useful in exploring that topic.

Encapsys' McKinney is honored for PCM presentation

Ben Welter - Friday, November 21, 2014

Jei McKinneyJei McKinney of Encapsys has won the Herman Stone Technical Excellence Award for her presentation “Art and Science of Microencapsulated Phase Change Materials,” presented during the Polyurethane Foam Association's fall meeting. McKinney, a senior business development manager at Encapsys, received the highest score of seven presented at the November program in Chattanooga, Ten. The topic: microencapsulation technology application in flexible polyurethane foam production.

Ice Energy wins innovation award for TES system

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 20, 2014

Ice Energy of Glendale, Calif., has won a Los Angeles Business Journal 2014 Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award. The company, which makes the Ice Bear thermal energy storage system, was honored as one of the region's "most impactful innovators." The Ice Bear system makes ice at night, when electricity is cheaper, and uses it to cool buildings during the day.

30.5% growth projected for biobased PCM market in Europe

Ben Welter - Wednesday, November 19, 2014

MicroMarket Monitor is projecting that Europe's biobased advanced phase change material market will reach $46.4 million in four years. "The market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 30.5% from 2013 to 2018," according to the report, scheduled for release Dec. 8. MicroMarket attributes the growth to demand for eco-friendly HVAC applications and "cost-effective prices" of biobased PCMs.

Sleepyhead's 'best bed ever' uses PCM-infused memory foam

Ben Welter - Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ekene IbekweFormer University of Maryland star Ekene Ibekwe is playing pro basketball in New Zealand, where he is touting Sleepyhead's Sanctuary bed. Phase change material is used to "absorb and distribute excess heat from around the body and dissipate it down through the mattress." "I’ve definitely noticed a difference since switching to Sanctuary,” says Ibekwe, a 6-9 forward who has also played professionally in Israel, France, Turkey, Iran, Spain, Germany and Puerto Rico. "I was after a firmer bed and now my aches and pains have disappeared!” 

BioPCM featured in case study of Australian home

Ben Welter - Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Phase Change Energy Solutions' BioPCM is being used in the upstairs walls of a house in Victoria, Australia.  “Everything is effectively the same as a reverse brick veneer system," said Jeremy Spencer, director of the Melbourne firm that designed the house. "But instead of bricks we have the phase change material that sits inside the cavity and behind plasterboard internal wall." The project is profiled in InfoLink, "Australia's Architecture, Building, Construction and Design Directory."