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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.




Patent application: Polyurethane phase change compositions

Ben Welter - Sunday, May 10, 2020

U.S. patent application 20200131363 (applicant Rogers Corp., Chandler, Ariz.):

"A method of manufacturing a polyurethane phase-change composition comprises forming a curable composition comprising a homogeneous mixture of an organic isocyanate, a polyol having a hydroxyl functionality of 1.5 to 5, and a phase-change material; and curing the curable composition to obtain a polyurethane phase-change composition, wherein the polyurethane phase-change composition has a transition temperature, determined by differential scanning calorimetry according to ASTM D3418, of 5 to 70° C."

Research roundup: Polythioether-based PCMS; alginate encapsulation; temperature stresses in concrete pavement; more

Ben Welter - Friday, May 08, 2020

From European Polymer Journal:

Extremely fast synthesis of polythioether based phase change materials (PCMs) for thermal energy storage

From Journal of Building Engineering:

Thermal behavior analysis of hollow bricks filled with phase-change material (PCM)

From Energies:

FEM Applied to Building Physics: Modeling Solar Radiation and Heat Transfer of PCM Enhanced Test Cells

From Iranian Polymer Journal:

Encapsulation of phase change materials with alginate modified by nanostructured sodium carbonate and silicate

From Energy & Fuels:

Aluminium ammonium sulfate dodecahydrate with multiple additives as composite phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From Materials Today: Proceedings:

Evaluation and reduction of temperature stresses in concrete pavement by using phase changing material
Optimization of Heat Energy Based on Phase Change Materials used in Solar Collector using Taguchi Method
Experimental and Theoretical Investigations on Thermal Conductivity of the Paraffin Wax using CuO Nanoparticles

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Novel synthesis of silica coated palmitic acid nanocapsules for thermal energy storage
Recent progress in phase change materials storage containers: Geometries, design considerations and heat transfer improvement methods
Effect of phase separation and supercooling on the storage capacity in a commercial latent heat thermal energy storage: Experimental cycling of a salt hydrate PCM
Energy efficiency optimization of the waste heat recovery system with embedded phase change materials in greenhouses: A thermo-economic-environmental study
Characterization of innovative mortars with direct incorporation of phase change materials

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

A trade study of a phase change system in a stratospheric airship based on a triple gasbag concept
Experimental evaluation of structural insulated panels outfitted with phase change materials
Lattice Boltzmann simulation of melting heat transfer in a composite phase change material

From Geothermics:

Parametric modeling and simulation of low temperature energy storage for cold-climate multi-family residences using a geothermal heat pump system with integrated phase change material storage tank

From Energy:

Multi-level uncertainty optimisation on phase change materials integrated renewable systems with hybrid ventilations and active cooling
A novel solar thermal system combining with active phase-change material heat storage wall (STS-APHSW): Dynamic model, validation and thermal performance

From Advances in Energy Research:

Theoretical Modeling of Phase Change Material-Based Space Heating Using Solar Energy

From Chemical Engineering Journal:

High latent heat and recyclable form-stable phase change materials prepared via a facile self-template method

From Composites Part B: Engineering:

In situ one-step construction of monolithic silica aerogel-based composite phase change materials for thermal protection

From Solar Energy:

Effects of external insulation component on thermal performance of a Trombe wall with phase change materials

From Journal of Architectural Engineering:

Experimental and Numerical Thermal Properties Investigation of Cement-Based Materials Modified with PCM for Building Construction Use

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Experimental and numerical study on the thermal performance of ventilated roof composed with multiple phase change material (VR-MPCM)

From Construction and Building Materials:

Multi-scale analysis on thermal properties of cement-based materials containing micro-encapsulated phase change materials

From Applied Energy:

D-mannitol@silica/graphene oxide nanoencapsulated phase change material with high phase change properties and thermal reliability
Novel bio-based phase change materials with high enthalpy for thermal energy storage

From Materials Today Energy:

A detailed review on heat transfer rate, supercooling, thermal stability and reliability of nanoparticle dispersed organic phase change material for low-temperature applications

From International Journal of Thermal Sciences:

Experimental study and assessment of high-tech thermal energy storing radiant floor heating system with latent heat storage materials

From Advanced Powder Technology:

Paraffin core-polymer shell micro-encapsulated phase change materials and expanded graphite particles as an enhanced energy storage medium in heat exchangers

Patent application: Modified dry ice system

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 24, 2020

U.S. patent application 20200072523 (inventors Chang Yup Seo, Woodridge, Ill.; Soujanya N. Jampala, Chicago, Ill.; Sameer H. Israni, Darien, Ill.; and Robert R. Sever, Arlington Heights, Ill.):

"This invention relates to a novel two-stage dry ice system for preserving perishable items during transport and methods thereof. The improved two-stage dry ice system includes dry ice and a phase change material specifically configured within a single and continuous holding volume with perishable items. Preservation of the perishable items for extended durations in comparison to other refrigeration techniques can be achieved as a result of the two-stage dry system having the ability to re-orient itself during transport."

More U.S. patent applications:

Sanitary mask | Turbo machine starter-generator | Phase change nanoparticles for lithium-ion battery safety | Thermal management material and matrix | Breast prosthesis

Patent application: Thermal energy storage apparatus

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 24, 2020

TES patent drawingU.S. patent application 20200088473 (applicant Climate Change Technologies Pty. Ltd., Wayville, Australia):

"A thermal energy storage apparatus, including: a block of a heat-absorbing material, the block defining at least one receptacle and being a contiguous block of compressed sintered graphite; and a phase change material stored in the or each receptacle, the phase change material being one that expands as it cools, wherein separation of side walls of the or each receptacle progressively increases as they extend upwardly from the base, whereby as the phase change material solidifies and expands it is urged upwardly to reduce pressure applied to the heat-absorbing material."

Patent application: Oil-in-water macro-emulsion process for forming solid gel beads

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 24, 2020

U.S. patent application 20200071586 (applicant Microtek Laboratories, Dayton, Ohio): 

"Solid gel beads formed from a gel product of a 5 carbon to 60 carbon alkane phase change material, 5 carbon to 60 carbon alkene phase change material, or a combination thereof and a styrene-based polymer are homogeneous, has an uneven exterior surface, and a major axis length in a range of 1000 μm to 100 mm. Methods for making the solid gel bead include providing water having a preselected temperature based on a linear relationship to the melting point of a phase change material composition, mixing the phase change material composition with the styrene-based polymer at or below the preselected temperature with stirring to form a pulp, and mixing the pulp into the water with turbulent mixing while maintaining the temperature of the mixture at the preselected temperature."

PCM briefing: EnergyNest is finalist for startup award; Croda website offers live chat

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 24, 2020

EnergyNest is one of 15 start-ups nominated as finalists of the Start Up Energy Transition Award 2020. EnergyNest's thermal battery consists of steel cassettes with pipes encased in a special type of concrete. The Norwegian company announced earlier this year that an EnergyNest battery with a capacity of 6-8 MWh would be installed at a brick manufacturing plant in Austria.

• "T-History Simplified: Combining a Universal Standard with an IoT Strategy," presented by Madison Hammerberg, product development engineering manager at CAVU Group, will be among the presentations at the Advancements in Thermal Management conference in Denver, Aug. 6-7, 2020.

Croda now offers live chat on its CrodaTherm website, The "Chat with a Croda Expert" feature is designed to provide visitors with "instant support."

Terrafore Technologies of Minneapolis is one of 13 companies to be awarded a Launch Minnesota Innovation Grant from the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development. The grants total $344,000; the amounts of individual grants were not disclosed. Terrafore is developing thermal energy storage to provide dispatchable solar power generation to the grid.

RayGen Resources Pty. Ltd. of Australia has been awarded $3 million AUD toward a feasibility study for a 4 MW “solar hydro” power plant in Victoria. The money will come from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. RayGen's system extracts heat from solar panels and stores it in a water reservoir acting as a heat store. The hot reservoir is paired with cold reservoir chilled by electricity from the solar panels and the grid. The temperature difference powers an Organic Rankine Cycle engine to generate electricity with a round-trip efficiency of 70%.

• The Swedish thermal energy storage company Azelio has completed the installation of "a system that will store solar energy from what is claimed to be the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant project," Energy Storage Journal reports. "The complex [in Morocco] is 2,500 hectares in size, and solar panels cover 1,000 square metres — which means it could potentially harvest a total of 2.6GW a year." The system uses recycled aluminum as the heat storage material.

Sunamp Ltd. of Edinburgh, Scotland, has signed a memo of understanding with Ripple Energy, a company that enables customers to part-own large-scale wind farms to power their homes. Under the agreement, Ripple will offer its customers Sunamp heat batteries, which use a specially formulated phase change material to store large amounts of energy from renewable and other sources and release it as heat to deliver hot water and space heating as needed.

Chinese manufacturer joins RAL Quality Association PCM

Ben Welter - Monday, March 23, 2020

Hangzhou Ruhr New Material Technology Co. of Hangzhou City, China, has joined the RAL Quality Association PCM. 

RuhrTech logoThe company, known as RuhrTech, develops phase change materials and PCM products for use in food and pharmaceuticals packaging; cooling and temperature control in the fields of electronic devices and power batteries; and energy-saving applications for central air conditioning, cold storage and buildings. Its cold-chain packaging customers include Johnson & Johnson, Allergan and Lilly.

Dr. Li Huang, one of the company's founders, is looking forward to "fruitful cooperation" with RAL members.

Stefan Thomann, the association's managing director, said: "I am delighted to welcome yet another ambitious company in our association that is committed to quality and commercially successful with PCM. RuhrTech will undoubtedly manage to tap into new markets and applications where PCM can play a positive and beneficial role.”

The RAL Quality Association PCM was established in 2004 to develop standards for the PCM industry. Members include Axiotherm, Microtek Laboratories, Rubitherm, Croda Europe, va-Q-tec, PCM Technology, Global-Systems Europe, Sasol, Sunamp Ltd., Pluss Advanced Technologies and PureTemp LLC.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the association's next assembly will be held as a web conference on April 1. The association's fall assembly is scheduled for Oct. 28, 2020, in Dusseldorf, Germany. More than a dozen representatives of member companies and monitoring institutes took part in last fall's assembly. Here's a group photo:

RAL group photo

Back row, from left: Bernd Boiting, FH Münster/Axiotherm; Thomas Haussmann, ISE; Stefan Thomann, RAL Quality Association PCM managing director; Michael Brütting, ZAE; Andreas Laube, w&a; Gerard Oortman, PCM Technology. 

Front two rows, from left: Jan van Acquoij, Pluss Advanced Technologies; Ben Welter, PureTemp LLC; Kate Fisher, Sunamp; Matthias Maywald, Sasol; Marco Auerbach, Croda; Thomas Wollheim, va-Q-tec; Harald Mehling, PCM consultant; Tim Riazzi, Microtek Laboratories; Esther Kieseritzky, Rubitherm; Claudia Friedrich, RAL Quality Association PCM.

Research roundup: Corn oil PCM in frozen food cooling machine; portable solar box cooker; expanded graphite/1-octadecanol composite; more

Ben Welter - Saturday, March 21, 2020

From Journal of Physics:

Corn oil phase change material (PCM) in frozen food cooling machine to improve energy efficiency

From Materials Today: Proceedings:

Investigating thermal properties of Nanoparticle Dispersed Paraffin (NDP) as phase change material for thermal energy storage

From Energy:

Effects of fluctuating thermal sources on a shell-and-tube latent thermal energy storage during charging process

From Solar Energy:

Design, realization, and tests of a portable solar box cooker coupled with an erythritol-based PCM thermal energy storage
Diversiform microstructure silicon carbides stabilized stearic acid as composite phase change materials

From International Journal of Thermofluids:

Investigating the performance of a thermal energy storage unit with paraffin as phase change material, targeting buildings’ cooling needs: an experimental approach

From Journal of Cleaner Production:

Energy and exergy analysis of wind farm integrated with compressed air energy storage using multi-stage phase change material

From Powder Technology:

Effect of nano-SiC on thermal properties of expanded graphite/1-octadecanol composite materials for thermal energy storage

From Journal of Energy Storage:

A multi-objective optimal design method for thermal energy storage systems with PCM: A case study for outdoor swimming pool heating application
Reducing PV module temperature with radiation based PV module incorporating composite phase change material
Numerical investigation on the effect of fin design on the melting of phase change material in a horizontal shell and tube thermal energy storage

From Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry:

Characterization of form-stable phase-change material for solar photovoltaic cooling

From International Journal of Thermophysics:

Thermophysical Properties of a Novel Nanoencapsulated Phase Change Material

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Lattice Boltzmann simulation of forced convection melting of a composite phase change material with heat dissipation through an open-ended channel
High power density thermal energy storage using additively manufactured heat exchangers and phase change material

From Energies:

Evaluation of the State of Charge of a Solid/Liquid Phase Change Material in a Thermal Energy Storage Tank [pdf]
Novel Simulation Algorithm for Modeling the Hysteresis of Phase Change Materials [pdf]

From Energy & Fuels:

Novel shape-stabilized phase change materials based on paraffin/EPDM@graphene with high thermal conductivity and low leakage rate

From Polymers and Polymer Composites:

Regulating phase-change temperatures of form-stable phase-change ternary composite fibrous membranes consisting of polystyrene nanofibers and fatty acid eutectics via co-electrospinning method

From Applied Energy:

A design protocol for enhanced discharge exergy in phase change material heat battery
Fabrication of heat storage pellets composed of microencapsulated phase change material for high-temperature applications
A high-thermal-conductivity, high-durability phase-change composite using a carbon fibre sheet as a supporting matrix

From Journal of Building Engineering:

Preparation and characterization of metal-organic framework /microencapsulated phase change material composites for indoor hygrothermal control

From Indoor and Built Environment:

Numerical and experimental investigation on dynamic thermal performance of floor heating system with phase change material for thermal storage

From Applied Clay Science:

A triply synergistic method for palygorskite activation to effectively impregnate phase change materials (PCMs) for thermal energy storage

From Chemical Engineering Journal:

Lignin-fatty acid hybrid nanocapsules for scalable thermal energy storage in phase-change materials

From Construction and Building Materials:

Phase change materials for pavement applications: A review

From Carbohydrate Polymers:

Shape-stabilization of polyethylene glycol phase change materials with chitin nanofibers for applications in “smart” windows

Patent application: Portable apparatus using PCM to create temperature stable environment

Ben Welter - Friday, February 14, 2020

U.S. patent application 20200041147 (assignee Fruition LLC, Lexington, Mass.):

"A carrying case utilizes a layer of phase change materials and a thermal insulation layer in order to provide a temperature-stabilized environment for enclosed payloads such as musical instruments during transport through an environment in which temperatures differ greatly from those to which they are normally exposed. In one aspect, the phase change materials and thermal insulation provide an extended period of temperature constancy, without the addition of either active thermal control or excessively bulky insulation."