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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.

Two Entropy advisors, Dr. Mohammed Farid and Lucas B. Hyman, are pleased to take your questions about PCMs and thermal energy storage. Send your questions to bwelter@puretemp.com. We'll select the best and post the answers here each week.

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PCM briefing: Abstracts due for heat and thermal energy conference; chemical industry employment projections

Ben Welter - Tuesday, July 11, 2017

• Abstracts are due July 14 for the 19th International Conference on Heat and Thermal Energy, to be held in London Sept. 20-21. Conference topics include novel storage concepts; thermal energy storage in buildings; thermal energy storage materials; polymeric materials; and micro- and macro-encapsulation methods. Researchers from  Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts will present their findings on "Unbranched, Saturated, Carboxylic Esters as Phase Change Materials."

• From Chem.Info: "How Much Will Chemical Industry Employment Grow By 2019?

• A mattress powered by Zotto's "ThermaPhase technology" is one of eight products on Forbes magazine's "Must Have Summer Tech Gift Guide." 

• Unrelated link of the week, from Bored Panda: "Architect Turns Old Cement Factory Into His Home, And The Interior Will Take Your Breath Away

UK student honored for designing mobile cooler for fish vendors

Ben Welter - Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Fish vendor basket

A University of Hertfordshire student who designed a fish cooler for street vendors is the runner-up in the UK’s prestigious New Designer of the Year competition. The New Designers exhibition, now in its 32nd year, features the work of top students from the UK’s leading design schools.

Kiran Sunil’s “Machhalee Basket” is essentially an EPS cooler equipped with phase change material. Judges described it as “a sensitively designed product – an example of bottom-up, frugal innovation, demonstrating genuine social impact and purpose.” The award includes a cash prize of £500.

Sunil, 22, was born and raised in the United Kingdom and is of South Indian descent. He recently earned a bachelor's degree in industrial design at Hertfordshire. He discussed details of his final-year project in an email interview.

Kiran Sunil with winning displayQ: What does “Machhalee” mean?

A: "Machhalee" is a Hindi word for “fish.”

Q: How did you come up with the idea?

A: My family and I regularly travel to India usually every 2-3 years, so for me the sight of fish vendors on street corners and at local marketplaces was a common and familiar sight, as it is to native Indians. However it always occurred to me the huge contrast between our experience in places like the UK of buying fish in comparison to theirs. Often their platform was very makeshift, working from the ground unprotected in the baking hot sun and with little to no ice. Generally poor quality.

In conjunction for my dissertation I gained a deeper insight into what I wanted to do for my final project, when I began tackling issues between wealth divides and how this affects the designs that we consume and use. Inspired by the works of Victor Papanek and Emily Pilloton of designing for social change, I decided that for this project I wanted to design something for those less well off in developing countries, those who were in true need of good design. However it was important for me that I didn't want to create a product that revolved around aid. This was about empowerment and strengthening honest business, more importantly I wanted to create a product from the people and for the people.


Q: Did you talk with fish vendors as part of your research?

A: While I wasn’t able to talk directly to fish vendors in India due to the disconnect, I came pretty close. It was important that I design honestly and according to the needs of the vendors. I enlisted the help of many NGOs including the likes of the Selco Foundation in India as well as the National Association of Street Vendors of India, two huge players in my research. With their help I was able to identify all the key needs, patterns and processes in order to create the most appropriate design.

Q: How did you hear about phase change material?

A: One of my visiting lecturers, Ian Hunter from Material Council, mentioned its usage in cheap and effective cooling systems and so it piqued my interest. For a while we gained and lost interest in the idea while the designs developed before finally realizing it massive potential.

Q: How many PCM types did you try before settling on one?

A: I researched PCMs for a duration while doing the project. I moved from organic paraffin wax based ones to salt hydrates and so on. Ultimately I decided that using more environmentally friendly sources such as vegetable and animal fat PCMs would be better due to their stability, sustainability, re-use and wide temperature range. Also it occurred to me that it was possible for these PCMs to be locally manufactured and sourced by farmers, making it possible for them to benefit from the mix as well.

Q: Which PCM are you using and how is it contained?

Sunil basket cutawayA: After getting in contact with your associates at Entropy Solutions, I decided that PureTemp 8 from your range was the most appropriate due to it being agriculturally sourced and having a great heat storage capacity of 178J/g. It was also important that the PCMs be cooled passively at similar temperatures that ice are stored and manufactured in. In this case it was so that Ice vendors were still inclusive in process and could supply and recharge the PCM packs using their facilities at a fixed lease based price to the fish vendors. The fish vendors in turn would use the packs and return them in the evening for recharging, creating a harmonious cold chain.

I decided macroencapsulation was the best and most secure way to go using the plastic pouch method. On top of this the pouches [shown in yellow in cutaway drawing] would sit inside thin sheet metal aluminum containers, adding an extra layer of protection while still allowing for heat conduction
.

Q: What if any insulation material is used in the cooler?

A: The majority of the insulation comes from the medium grade EPS that makes up the main body of the basket. This is a common and cheap material used in the fishing trade and so seemed appropriate. On top of this on the interior the fish sits inside a polyester tarpaulin bag and on the exterior the main body sits inside a secondary woven bamboo basket.

Q: How long did it take you to complete the project, from concept to prototype?

A: About 3½ months. It was part of our second semester and made up our final major project.

Q: What do you estimate the retail cost might be, when in full production?

A: I designed and planned the cooler in such a way for minimal cost with maximum effect. I truly made use of the fruits of India's economy when considering how to do this. All materials are locally sourced and in abundance either by methods of cheap manufacture or locally available materials making it easy to repair and easy/cheap to replace.

On top of this I took into consideration the consumption styles of vendors and realized that what might work best was a lease-based platform. In this case the vendors could buy the basket outright for a small price and were given the opportunity to lease/purchase the PCM packs and display assembly if they required it. All costs considered, I estimate the vendors expenses would be no more than 20 rupees a week.


Q: Do you have plans to commercialize the cooler?

A: A few companies have shown interest in commercializing the cooler. However while it shows great promise and practicality, for now it is just a concept and has room for development and improvement, if it is to be successfully implemented. I believe in an open sourcing philosophy, especially when it comes to the potential for my target audience that it could help.

Q: What do you plan to do with the £500 prize?

A: I plan on using it to re-invest in my career, however I’m not sure entirely how. I might purchase a new laptop, or I could possibly use it for a plane ticket if the opportunity to take my work elsewhere calls!

From Italy to Singapore by bicycle, with a little help from PCM

Ben Welter - Monday, July 03, 2017

Italian couple celebrate completion of 18,000-kilometer ride to Singapore

They made it! The Italian couple who embarked on a 17,550-kilometer bicycle trek last June arrived in Singapore last week. Chiara Ricciardi and Riccardo Rocchi began the yearlong journey, dubbed "Piece of Cake," to raise awareness about diabetes. Ricciardi has type 1 diabetes and requires a daily dose of insulin. She used Pelican BioThermal's Credo ProMed pack to keep insulin at the right temperature. 

Their latest Facebook post: "385 days. 21 countries. Bottom line: with type 1 diabetes, you can do it. But also ... We've learned that the world is a better place than they say, people help and help you. ... The engine is overrated, time is the biggest luxury of the 21st century."

http://www.forapieceofcake.com/en/

Ohio company wins grant to develop geothermal energy storage with PCM

Ben Welter - Monday, July 03, 2017

Melink Corp. of Milford, Ohio, is one of 13 small companies to receive a share of $4.5 million in grants recently announced by the U.S. Department of Energy. 

The grants are funded through the department’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. The 13 companies are receiving the funding to develop "energy-efficient technologies in the buildings sector with a strong potential for commercialization and job creation." 

Melink, a global provider of energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions for the commercial building industry, added a new division in April to serve the geothermal heating, ventilation and air conditioning market. Melink received its grant to explore the development of geothermal seasonal energy storage based on phase change materials that could "dramatically lower the cost of storing energy."

http://www.einnews.com/pr_news/389670615/energy-department-announces-nearly-4-5-million-for-innovative-small-businesses-focused-on-building-energy-efficiency-technologies

Strong growth projected for global PCM market through 2022

Ben Welter - Monday, July 03, 2017

The global demand for advanced phase change materials, estimated to be $235.3 million in 2016, is expected to reach $638.7 million by 2022, according to the research firm MarketsandMarkets. The five-year compound annual growth rate, 17.66 percent, is lower than the 19.9 percent CAGR projected by Mordor Intelligence earlier this year.

According to the MarketsandMarkets report:  

"The inorganic PCM segment accounts for the largest share among all type segments. The market for inorganic PCM is estimated to grow owing to the increasing usage in various applications due to its good thermal conductivity, high latent heat of fusion, non-flammability, and low cost. Inorganic PCM finds usage in various applications such as TES, cold chain & packaging, HVAC, and refrigeration & equipment.

"The building & construction application segment is expected to be the largest application segment of this market, owing to the stringent regulations regarding greenhouse gas emissions and increasing investments in net-zero energy or low carbon buildings in region such as Europe and North America. In addition, the growing demand for green buildings and presence of stringent building codes in region such as North America and Europe boost the PCM market in building & construction application."

http://www.transparencymarketresearch.com/advanced-energy-storage-systems.html

PCM briefing: Cleanergy lands CSP contract in China; ASHRAE extends global reach

Ben Welter - Monday, July 03, 2017

• Team Sky cyclists competing in this year's Tour de France are using Inuteq's Siku vest to cool down after each stage. The Dutch company's hybrid vest combines PCM and evaporative cooling technologies. Inuteq says it is supplying its cooling products to two other teams: Bahrain Merida and Cannondale Drapac.

Calmac, the New Jersey company whose thermal energy storage tanks help cool more than more than 4,500 buildings worldwide, including the corporate headquarters of JC Penney, Marriott and Google, was profiled in Inc. magazine last week.  

Ember Technologies' temperature-controlled mug is a finalist in the 2017 International Design Excellence Awards in the Kitchen & Accessories category. The winners will be announced Aug. 16 at the International Designers Society of America conference in Atlanta. 

Cleanergy AB of Sweden has signed an agreement to deploy a 200-MW concentrating solar energy project in China. A Cleanergy spokeswoman confirmed that phase change material will be used in the CSP project's thermal storage system but declined to provide details about the PCM. 

Midsize energy and chemical companies are among the least prepared for the disruption that technological innovation and other changes will bring, a new report from Capital One Commercial Bank says.

• A U.S. House appropriations subcommittee last week advanced a bill that would impose deep cuts in renewable energy and efficiency programs at the Department of Energy and eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, ARPA-E.

ASHRAE has announced the formation of a new ASHRAE Region in Europe and strategic partnerships with two European organizations: the UK-based Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers and the Belgium-based Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning Associations.

• PCM will be among the topics at the 3rd International Conference: Innovative Materials and Smart Technologies for Environmental Safety. The conference will take place Sept. 27-29 in Latvia. The student conference includes a lecture titled "Heat Transfer Enhancement in Phase-Change Materials" by Dr. Gennady Ziskind, professor of mechanical engineering at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. 

BASF, Cargill, Procter & Gamble and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH have joined together in a development partnership to help establish a sustainable certified and transparent supply chain of coconut oil in the Philippines and Indonesia.  

• New from Zion Market Research: "Temperature Controlled Packaging Market: Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecasts 2016–2024"

Bio-Based World News reports that the biobased sector of Finland's economy is now worth 60 billion euros. About 60 percent of the sector is rooted in the country's forest industry. 

Patent application: Facial massaging mask with PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 29, 2017

Massaging mask patent drawingU.S. patent application 20170181924 (applicant HCT Group Holdings Ltd., China):

"A facial massage device configured to be positioned on a human face may include a plurality of layers. An intermediate portion may be disposed between an outer cover and an inner liner. The intermediate portion may include a plurality of individually actuatable massage elements. In some cases, the individually actuatable massage elements may be pneumatically actuated. In other cases, the individually actuatable massage elements may be mechanically actuated. ... [T]he inner liner may be formed of a foam or gel material ... [that] may include phase change materials which are useful in conveying the cooling sensation, since phase change materials, by definition absorb heat energy when changing phases."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170181924.pdf

Patent application: Automobile interior temperature stabilizer

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 29, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170184348 (inventor Roger Li-chung Wu, West Covina, Calif.):

"An automobile interior temperature stabilizer includes a holder adapted for placing within a vehicle cabin and a temperature stabilizing member which is made of latent heat material that absorbs and releases heat without rising in its temperature and is disposed in the holder, wherein the temperature stabilizing member has a threshold temperature range that the temperature stabilizing member is arranged for absorbing cabin heat within the vehicle cabin to cool down the vehicle cabin when an interior temperature of the vehicle is higher than the threshold temperature range, and the temperature stabilizing member is arranged for releasing stored heat to the vehicle cabin to warm the vehicle cabin when an interior temperature of the vehicle is lower than the threshold temperature range. ... The temperature stabilizing member, which is made of phase change material (PCM), will collect heat during the day (high temperature), and will release heat at night (low temperature) to provide an optimal cabin temperature, resulting in energy efficiency and cost saving."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170184348.pdf

Research roundup: INPATH-TES Ph.D. program; waste-to-energy plants; EnergyPlus-based building model; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 29, 2017

INPATH-TES: Innovative pathways to PhD research in thermal energy storage [Sustainable and Renewable Energy Engineering]

Application of high temperature phase change materials for improved efficiency in waste-to-energy plants [Waste Management]

Experimental investigation and EnergyPlus-based model prediction of thermal behavior of building containing phase change material [Journal of Building Engineering]

Experimental Analysis of Graphite Dispersed Salt Hydrates based Phase Change Materials to Determine Enhancement in their Thermophysical Properties [pdf] [Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences]

Use of phase change materials during compressed air expansion for isothermal CAES plants [35th UIT Heat Transfer Conference]

Simulation of Melting Process of a Phase Change Material (PCM) using ANSYS (Fluent) [pdf] [International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology]

Cellulose/Paraffin Composite Fibers for Thermal Energy Storage and Temperature Regulation [IUMRS International Conference in Asia]

Enhanced Specific Heat Capacity of Binary Chloride Salt by Dissolving Magnesium for High-temperature Thermal Energy Storage and Transfer [Journal of Materials Chemistry A]

Research roundup: Graphite particle fillers; sodium nitrate microcapsules; domestic space heating in UK; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Effect of temperature and graphite particle fillers on thermal conductivity and viscosity of phase change material n-eicosane [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Thermal stability of sodium nitrate microcapsules for high-temperature thermal energy storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Phase change materials to meet domestic space heating demand in the UK - A numerical study [Journal of Fluid Flow, Heat and Mass Transfer]

Synthesis of three-dimensional graphene aerogel encapsulating n-octadecane for enhancing phase-change behavior and thermal conductivity [Journal of Materials Chemistry A]

A recyclable thermochromic elastic phase change oleogel for cold compress therapy [Applied Thermal Engineering]