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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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Patent application: Gel comprising PCM and gelling agent

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 31, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170247593 (Cold Chain Technologies Inc., Franklin, Mass.):

CCT patent application photo"Gel including a phase-change material and a gelling agent. In one embodiment, the phase-change material may be n-tetradecane, n-hexadecane or mixtures thereof. The gelling agent may be a high molecular weight styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene (SEBS) triblock copolymer with a styrene:rubber ratio of about 30:70 to 33:67% by weight. To form the gel, the phase-change material and the gelling agent may be mixed at an elevated temperature relative to room temperature to partially, but not completely, dissolve the gelling agent. The mixture may then be cooled to room temperature. Alternatively, the phase-change material and the gelling agent may be mixed at room temperature, and the mixture may then be heated to form a viscoelastic liquid, which is then cooled to room temperature. The invention is also directed at a method of preparing the gel, a thermal exchange implement including the gel, and a method of preparing the thermal exchange implement."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170247593.pdf

Research roundup: Carbonized rice; erythritol-xylitol; integrated double skin façade; paraffin-based TES system; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Form stable composite phase change materials from palmitic-lauric acid eutectic mixture and carbonized abandoned rice: preparation, characterization, and thermal conductivity enhancement [Energy and Buildings]

Mitigation against Crude Oil Wax Solidification using TES Fin [Chemical Engineering Research and Design]

Heat transfer analysis of an integrated double skin façade and phase change material blind system [Building and Environment]

Experimental Phase Diagram Study of the Binary Polyols System Erythritol-Xylitol [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Study of Various Aspects of Phase Change Material During Solidification and Melting: A Review [pdf] [International Journal of Scientific Research in Science and Technology]

Development in Paraffin Based Thermal Storage System Through Shell and Tubes Heat Exchanger With Vertical Fins [ASME 2017 11th International Conference on Energy Sustainability]

Patent application: Heated packs with phase change material

Ben Welter - Monday, August 28, 2017

Heated packs patent application drawingU.S. patent application 20170239081 (applicant Schawbel Technologies LLC, Burlington, Mass.):

"The present invention provides heated packs with improved functionality and battery retention. Those features are achieved by the inclusion of an intelligent circuit, incorporation of a phase-changing material, or both. The intelligent circuit includes a feedback loop that adjusts the temperature (and thus demand on the battery) based on user commands or temperature sensors." 

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170239081.pdf

Patent application: Cellulosic fibers with enhanced reversible thermal properties

Ben Welter - Monday, August 28, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170241045 (applicant Outlast Technologies LLC, Golden, Colo.):

"A cellulosic fiber includes a fiber body including a cellulosic material and non-encapsulated phase change material dispersed within the cellulosic material. The non-encapsulated phase change material forms a plurality of distinct domains dispersed within the cellulosic material. The non-encapsulated phase change material has a latent heat of at least 40 Joules per gram and the cellulosic fiber has a latent heat between 9.8 Joules per gram and 132 Joules per gram and a transition temperature in the range of 0° C. to 100° C., and cellulosic fiber provides thermal regulation based on at least one of absorption and release of the latent heat at the transition temperature."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170241045.pdf

PCM briefing: Inventory reset rule takes effect; va-Q-tec reports strong first half

Ben Welter - Monday, August 28, 2017

• Thermal energy storage, a proven technology for years in Europe, is now a "budding HVAC option" in the United States, ACHR News reports. “In many ways, applications haven’t changed,” said Steve Benz, a 35-year veteran of the thermal storage industry and Evapco’s director of global thermal storage and district energy. “What has changed is related to the electric market — with an emphasis today on sustainable energy production and electricity storage."

Jane Chen• In an appearance at Stanford School of Engineering, Embrace founder Jane Chen, right, talked about the challenges she faced in developing and expanding the use of the PCM-based infant warming blanket. "You will inevitably fail," she said, "and you need to have the courage and the persistence to get back out there, learn from your mistakes, and try again."

• The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published the final TSCA inventory reset rule. The rule, which is effective immediately, creates new reporting obligations for companies that manufacture or import chemical products.

Va-Q-tec AG is reporting a strong first half of the year, with revenue 44 percent higher than the same period last year. The company, based in Würzburg, Germany, develops, manufactures and sells vacuum insulation panels and phase change materials. 

• Monday, Aug. 28, is the deadline for submitting entries in Bio-Based World News' bio-based innovation competition for the Americas. The two categories are product of the year and chemical innovation of the year. The awards will be presented at the Bio-Based Live conference in San Diego Sept. 25-26. 

Singapore's "Grid 2.0" may include district cooling systems that incorporate phase change materials. 

Sonoco ThermoSafe has an opening for product manager in Arlington Heights, Ill. 

• New from Market Research Future: "Global Thermal Energy Storage Market Research Report - Forecast to 2022"

SaltX Technology of Sweden and Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. Ltd of China have reached an agreement to jointly develop and commercialize a "groundbreaking solution" for wind power with integrated energy storage.  

Ember secures $13 million to accelerate R&D, marketing initiatives

Ben Welter - Monday, August 28, 2017

Ember Technologies, maker of the Ember temperature-controlled coffee mug, has secured $13 million in Series C funding.

The close of this round brings Ember’s total funding to $21 million. Investors to date include Scott Cutler, CEO of StubHub, singer-songwriter Demi Lovato and National Football League star Ndamukong Suh. 

The $150 Ember mug uses phase change material and a microprocessor-controlled heating system to maintain hot beverages at temperatures set by the user. Ember plans to introduce "several new temperature-control products" in the next six to nine months. The additional capital will be used to accelerate R&D and marketing initiatives.

http://www.finsmes.com/2017/08/ember-technologies-raises-13m-in-series-c-funding.html

Europe holds PCM market lead, but North America is gaining

Ben Welter - Monday, August 28, 2017

In terms of value, Europe held the largest share of the global PCM market last year, according to the research firm MarketsandMarkets. An executive summary of the research firm's June report, "Advanced PCM Market: Global Forecast to 2022," estimates Europe's share at 49.7 percent.

"The trend towards energy efficiency in the region, accompanied by the growing demand for green buildings, fuels the growth of the advanced PCM market in the region," the summary says. "In addition, the presence of mandatory building energy codes and the increasing demand for housing in Germany and the U.K. drive the demand for advanced PCM in the region."

But MarketsandMarkets projects that North America will be the fastest-growing market for advanced PCMs between 2017 and 2022, with a compound annual growth rate of nearly 21 percent. Analyst Sushmita Singh cites "stringent building energy codes," growth in the housing sector and rising demand for green buildings as key factors.

This MarketsandMarkets graphic shows 2016 market shares in terms of value and compound annual growth rates (CAGR) between 2017 and 2022:

Research roundup: HDPE spheres; erythritol-based composites; shape-stabilized PCM sheets; graphite foam; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, August 23, 2017

High density polyethylene spheres with PCM for domestic hot water applications: Water tank and laboratory scale study [Journal of Energy Storage]

Numerical Simulation and Optimization of the Melting Process of Phase Change Material inside Horizontal Annulus [Energies]

Evaluation and comparison of erythritol-based composites with addition of expanded graphite and carbon nanotubes [Applied Energy]

Investigation of thermo-fluidic performance of phase change material slurry and energy transport characteristics [Applied Energy]

Numerical investigation of heat transfer performance of a rotating latent heat thermal energy storage [Applied Energy]

Application of shape-stabilized phase-change material sheets as thermal energy storage to reduce heating load in Japanese climate [Building and Environment]

Graphite foam as interpenetrating matrices for phase change paraffin wax: A candidate composite for low temperature thermal energy storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Alkali polyphosphates as new potential materials for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy]

Magnesium phosphate cements formulated with low grade magnesium oxide incorporating phase change materials for thermal energy storage [Construction and Building Materials]

Numerical and experimental investigation of an insulation layer with phase change materials (PCMs) [Energy and Buildings]

Patent application: Thermal energy storage PCMs comprising boronic acids

Ben Welter - Tuesday, August 22, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170226395 (applicant Entropy Solutions LLC, Plymouth, Minn.):

"Provided are Phase Change Material (PCMs) compositions for thermal management in different applications such as building, automotive, airplane, truck, shipping, packaging, textile and food storage and transport applications. Provided are compositions comprising non-toxic molecules with enhanced PCM characteristics comprising boronic acids and equivalents, including for example, non-aromatic cyclic boronic acids, alkyl boronic acids, alkene boronic acids, arylboronic acids, and related compounds. In alternative embodiments, provided are thermal energy storage compositions, products of manufacture or systems comprising: a phase change material (PCM) composition comprising a boronic acid or boronic acid derivatives, wherein the PCM undergoes solid to liquid and liquid to solid phase change transitions."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170226395.pdf

Free webinars on PCMs and temperature-assured packaging

Ben Welter - Monday, August 21, 2017

More than 200 people have registered for a series of Sonoco ThermoSafe webinars aimed at customers in the temperature-assurance packaging sector. The first, "Phase Change Materials: What are they, and how can they change your business?" will be held Tuesday, Aug. 22. Registration is also open for "Insulation Materials," "Ambient Temperature Profiles," "2-8° C Solutions," "Active vs. Passive Solutions" and "Single-Use vs. Reusable Packaging." 

http://www.thermosafe.com/tapwebinars