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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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Patent application: Thermal interface composite material

Ben Welter - Friday, September 28, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180277910 (applicant Regents of the University of California, Oakland, Calif.):

"A composite thermal interface material and methods are shown. Devices such as lithium ion batteries incorporating composite thermal interface materials show significant improvement in cooling performance. In one example, composite thermal interface materials shown provide cooling through both a phase change mechanism, and a heat conducting mechanism which directs heat away from the device to be cooled, such as electrochemical cells in a battery, to an external housing and/or a coupled heat exchange device such as radiating fins."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180277910.pdf

Patent application: Thermal energy storage phase change materials comprising triamines

Ben Welter - Friday, September 28, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180273819 (applicant Entropy Solutions LLC, Plymouth, Minn.)

"This invention generally relates to phase change materials, thermoregulation, thermal protection and insulation. In particular, in alternative embodiments, provided are organic Phase Change Materials having different chemical moieties including triamines, nitriles, anhydrides and/or benzoic acid and combinations thereof. ... In alternative embodiments, the Phase Change Material (PCMs) compositions and products of manufacture are used for thermal energy management and temperature stabilization in various applications such as building and insulation materials, automotive, airline, weapons systems, computers and electronics, clothing, packaging, cookware, garment and footwear, pharmaceuticals and drug storage systems, and other food and energy storage and temperature stabilization systems."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180273819.pdf

Patent application: Low remnant free microcapsules and method of making same

Ben Welter - Friday, September 28, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180273820 (applicant Microtek Laboratories Inc., Dayton, Ohio)

"A microcapsule or microcapsule having a polymer wall comprising a melamine formaldehyde reacted with a crosslinking agent to form a unit cell according to a general formula (II) and/or the polymer wall has a FT-IR Spectrum as shown in FIG. 4. The crosslinking agent is a mixture of a reaction product of a cyclic urea (U) and a multifunctional aldehyde (A), and at least one crosslinker selected from the following group: a reaction products of (i) an aminotriazine and at least one aldehyde selected from the group consisting of aliphatic monoaldehydes and multifunctional aliphatic aldehydes, (ii) urea and/or cyclic ureas and formaldehyde, or (iii) phenols and aliphatic monoaldehydes, or from alkoxycarbonylaminotriazines, or multifunctional isocyanates, epoxides, aziridines, and carbodiimides."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180273820.pdf

PCM briefing: Online master's degree in thermal energy storage; Alexium appoints new CFO

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 27, 2018

Dr. Luisa F. Cabeza• The enrollment period is open for an online master's degree program on thermal energy storage. The program, offered by the University of Lleida and the University of Barcelona, includes "training in technical aspects of TES and the energy system, but it also includes soft skills in patenting and entrepreneurship." The program is directed by Dr. Luisa F. Cabeza of the University of Lleida. 

Siemens Gamesa held a topping-out ceremony this week for its 30MWh electric thermal energy storage facility in Hamburg-Altenwerder, Germany. The pilot facility, which stores energy in 1,000 tons of rock fill at temperatures of 600º C, is in its final phase of construction and due to be fully commissioned in 2019.

• Lauren Boteler, a thermal/packaging engineer for the U.S. Army Research Laboratory's Sensors and Electron Devices Directorate, has been named Woman Engineer of the Year by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers' Electronics Packaging and Photonics Division.

Indonesia has imposed a three-year moratorium on new palm oil plantations and ordered a review of existing ones in an effort to address sustainability and environmental concerns.  

• The U.S. patent system, the first in the world to incentivize large numbers of ordinary citizens to innovate, has long been ranked No. 1 in the world. But over the past few years the system has fallen to 12th. Forbes reports that Andrei Iancu, the new director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is working to turn that around and "bring about a much-needed revitalization of the American patent system."

Alexium International has appointed Jason Lewis as chief financial officer, succeeding Aaron Krech, who resigned effective Sept. 30. Lewis has over 20 years of experience in financial roles in the specialty chemicals industry. Alexium also announced the appointment of Allen Reihman as chief commercial officer. He will lead the company’s sales, marketing and technology commercialization efforts. Alexium, based in Greer, S.C., and Perth, Australia, makes flame-retardant and PCM-enhanced fabric treatments.

10 BioPCM products added to USDA BioPreferred catalog

Ben Welter - Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Phase Change Energy Solutions has joined PureTemp and Croda International in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's BioPreferred catalog. The North Carolina manufacturer has registered 10 of its phase change materials in the program: BioPCM Q4, Q6, Q8, Q15, Q18, Q20, Q23, Q25, Q27 and Q29.

The USDA defines biobased products as finished or intermediate materials composed in whole or in significant part of agricultural, forestry or marine ingredients. The program’s purpose is to increase the purchase and use of biobased products. Products that meet the USDA BioPreferred program requirements carry a distinctive label for easier identification by the consumer.

Reyad Sawafta“BioPCM is now certified with 100% biobased content and listed among the USDA BioPreferred products, demonstrating our commitment to sustainability as we work to meaningfully reduce energy consumption," said Dr. Reyad Sawafta, chief scientific officer at Phase Change Energy Solutions.

Seven CrodaTherm products qualified for the program in 2016. PureTemp first qualified in 2014, and 23 PureTemp formulations are now designated as 100 percent biobased by the program.

Phase change material is not currently one of the 109 categories in the USDA's BioPreferred Program. Phase Change Energy Solutions, Croda and PureTemp became certified through a voluntary labeling initiative. The USDA published a proposal last week to add PCMs as a category of biobased products eligible for procurement preference by federal agencies and their contractors.

The BioPreferred Program was created by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 and expanded by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. Under the program, federal agencies are required, with some exceptions, to purchase biobased products within designated product categories when the purchase price of the product exceeds $10,000 or when the quantity of such products or functionally equivalent products purchased over the preceding fiscal year equaled $10,000 or more.

Research roundup: Myristic acid with ethyl cellulose shell; phase-change acoustic heat engine; hybrid personal cooling system; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, September 25, 2018

From Applied Energy:

Microencapsulation and thermal properties of myristic acid with ethyl cellulose shell for thermal energy storage
Fast and experimentally validated model of a latent thermal energy storage device for system level simulations
Numerical simulation and experimental validation of the solar photovoltaic/thermal system with phase change material
Low-temperature energy conversion using a phase-change acoustic heat engine

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Exploring additives for improving the reliability of zinc nitrate hexahydrate as a phase change material (PCM)

From Energy:

Laboratory assessment of residential building walls containing pipe-encapsulated phase change materials for thermal management
Review on thermal performances and applications of thermal energy storage systems with inorganic phase change materials

From Nano Energy:

Nanoconfinement effects on thermal properties of nanoporous shape-stabilized composite PCMs: A review

From International Journal of Thermal Sciences:

Study of heat and fluid flow during melting of PCM inside vertical cylindrical tube

From Building and Environment:

A new hybrid personal cooling system (HPCS) incorporating insulation pads for thermal comfort management: Experimental validation and parametric study

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

An analytical technique for the optimal designs of tube-in-tank thermal energy storage systems using PCM

From 2nd International conference on Advances in Mechanical Engineering:

Study of freezing characteristics of water based grapheme Nano-fluid PCM in a spherical capsule [pdf]
Enhancement of thermal conductivity of PCM using filler graphite powder materials [pdf]

From 10th International Conference on Applied Energy:

A Numerical Investigation into the Heat Transfer and Melting Process of Lauric Acid in a Rectangular Enclosure with Three Values of Wall Heat Flux

USDA seeks to add PCM category to BioPreferred Program

Ben Welter - Monday, September 24, 2018

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is proposing to add phase change material as a category of biobased products eligible for procurement preference by federal agencies and their contractors.

USDA BioPreferred labelPhase change material is not currently one of the 109 categories in the USDA's BioPreferred Program. But biobased PCM products are still eligible to participate in the program if they become certified through a voluntary labeling initiative, explained Caroline Tapscott, BioPreferred Program scientist. Products made by three PCM manufacturers – Croda Inc., Phase Change Energy Solutions and PureTemp LLC – qualified for the BioPreferred catalog through that initiative.

The current minimum biobased content for products in such "certification-only" categories is 25 percent. The USDA is proposing to raise the minimum to 71 for phase change materials. All PCM products now listed in the catalog meet that threshold.

The BioPreferred Program was created by the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 and expanded by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. The purpose is to increase the use of biobased products.

Under the program, federal agencies are required, with some exceptions, to purchase biobased products within designated product categories when the purchase price of the product exceeds $10,000 or when the quantity of such products or functionally equivalent products purchased over the preceding fiscal year equaled $10,000 or more.

In the document describing the proposed rule changes, the USDA says it "has been unable to obtain data on the amount of phase change materials purchased by federal procuring agencies" but "believes that some federal agencies and their contractors do and would likely purchase these types of products."

The USDA is proposing to add 29 other biobased categories as well, including adhesives, concrete curing agents, exterior paints and facial care products. Public comments on the proposed rule changes will be accepted until Nov. 13, 2018.

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/09/14/2018-19681/designation-of-product-categories-for-federal-procurement

Patent application: Articulated panel for thermal insulation

Ben Welter - Sunday, September 23, 2018

Hutchinson patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180266619 (applicant Hutchinson, Paris, France):

"An assembly comprising a structure provided with an interior volume in which is present for example at least one fluid capable of circulating in said volume and under the action of circulation means. Thermally insulating elements of VIP construction are arranged around a layer containing a PCM and extending around the peripheral wall that surrounds the volume. Protrusions fixed to the peripheral wall delimited spaces in which the thermally insulating elements are positioned."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180266619.pdf

Patent application: Body support cushion with multiple layers of phase change material

Ben Welter - Sunday, September 23, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180263377 (applicant Tempur-Pedic Management LLC, Lexington, Ky.):

"A body support cushion, e.g., mattress, has multiple foam layers, including a viscoelastic foam layer and a reticulated foam layer, and an outer cover. At least one of the foam layers and the outer cover each includes phase change material having latent heat properties that provide two intervals of dermal cooling."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180263377.pdf

Patent application: PCM panel and charging unit for cooling a cabinet of a merchandiser

Ben Welter - Sunday, September 23, 2018

Coca-Cola patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20180266739 (applicant The Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, Georgia):

"A phase change material panel for cooling a cabinet of a merchandiser is disclosed. The panel may include a refrigerant tube, an outer jacket surrounding the refrigerant tube, and a phase change material positioned between the refrigerant tube and the outer jacket and in contact with the refrigerant tube. ... The panel [shown at right] may be charged at or near the point-of-sale or remotely therefrom, such as at a warehouse, on a truck, at a distribution center, or the like and brought to the merchandiser."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180266739.pdf