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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: Heat storage material

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 05, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180094180 (applicant Hutchinson SA, Paris, France):

"The invention relates to a material including a support consisting of a porous composite material including at least one polymer phase forming a binder based on at least one polymer selected from thermoplastic polymers, elastomers, and elastomer thermoplastics, and at least one filler selected from thermally conductive fillers, the pores of the support consisting of the porous composite material being partially or entirely filled with at least one phase-change material. The invention also relates to a method for producing said material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180094180.pdf

Research roundup: PCM-based radiant heat exchanger; thermal performance of PCM roof modules; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Design and Analysis of PCM Based Radiant Heat Exchanger for Thermal Management of Buildings [Energy and Buildings]

A new ventilated window with PCM heat exchanger – performance analysis and design optimization [Energy and Buildings]

Thermal enhancement of paraffin/hydrophobic expanded perlite granular phase change composite using graphene nanoplatelets [Energy and Buildings]

Thermal Performance of Microencapsulated Phase Change Material (mPCM) in Roof Modules during Daily Operation [Energies]

Synthesis and Characterization of Thermochemical Storage Material Combining Porous Zeolite and Inorganic Salts [Heat Transfer Engineering]

Effect of percussion vibration on solidification of supercooled salt hydrate PCM in thermal storage unit [Renewable Energy]

A review of the applications of phase change materials in cooling, heating and power generation in different temperature ranges [Applied Energy]

Experimental and numerical study on the performance of a new high-temperature packed-bed thermal energy storage system with macroencapsulation of molten salt phase change material [Applied Energy]

Energy and exergy efficiencies assessment for a stratified cold thermal energy storage [Applied Energy]

Eccentricity optimization of a horizontal shell-and-tube latent-heat thermal energy storage unit based on melting and melting-solidifying performance [Applied Energy]

Numerical study on the thermal performance of lightweight temporary building integrated with phase change materials [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Thiol-yne photo-clickable electrospun phase change materials for thermal energy storage [Reactive and Functional Polymers]

Highly Graphitized 3D Network Carbon for Shape-stabilized Composite PCMs with Superior Thermal Energy Harvesting [Nano Energy]

Schematic illustration of PEG8000 @ CQDs-derived 3D porous carbon composite PCMs

Patent application: Spherical microcapsule

Ben Welter - Monday, April 02, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180085724 (applicant Holcim Technology Ltd., Jona, Switzerland):

"A method for the production of a microcapsule, in particular a microcapsule of spherical shape having a hollow capsule space therein, includes the steps of: a) preparing of a suspension of particulate cementitious material in a solvent b) preparing a dispersion by mixing the suspension of step a) with an immiscible fluid so that (i) the suspension is present as a dispersed phase in the fluid as a dispersion medium or that (ii) the fluid is present as the dispersed phase in the suspension as the dispersion medium, such that the particulate material of the suspension adsorbs at least partially at a phase boundary between the fluid and the suspension, and c) allowing the particulate material adsorbed at the phase boundary to hydrate with the formation of a microcapsule. ... [The microcapsule] is at least partially filled with a salt, a polymer, a drug, a biomolecule, a cell, a living cell, a fragrance, a flavor, enzymes, catalytic materials, flame retarders, phase change materials, absorbers and/or a dye."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180085724.pdf

Patent application: Efficient transfer of heat to passenger cabin

Ben Welter - Monday, April 02, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180086177 (applicant Hanon Systems, Daejeon, South Korea):

"A method of efficiently heating a passenger cabin of a vehicle includes heating a first fluid using a fluid heater. The first fluid flows through a thermal storage element to transfer thermal energy to the thermal storage element. The heating of the first fluid and the thermal storage element occurs during a recharging of a rechargeable power source used to power the vehicle. During operation of the vehicle and following discontinuation of the recharging of the rechargeable power source, the thermal energy stored to the thermal storage element is transferred to air to be distributed to the passenger cabin of the vehicle by flowing the first fluid through a first heat exchanger in thermal communication with the air to be distributed to the passenger cabin of the vehicle, thereby extending a range of the vehicle."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180086177.pdf

Patent application: Vessel assemblies for temperature control

Ben Welter - Monday, April 02, 2018

American Aerogel patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180086534 (applicant American Aerogel Corp., Rochester, N.Y.):

"This present disclosure provides a vessel assembly for use in temperature sensitive shipping that can maintain a payload temperature across a range of temperatures. Importantly, the vessel assembly of the present disclosure reduces the overall packaging materials used in a shipper box and prevents the 'wrong' mixture of PCM-containing vessels from being used. ... [The vessel assembly comprises] a vessel [21] having a first filling port [11]; and a bladder [20] optionally having a second filling port [10]; wherein the chamber of the vessel comprises a first phase change material; and the bladder comprises a second phase change material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180086534.pdf

Patent application: Devices for use with refrigeration devices

Ben Welter - Monday, April 02, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180087831 (Tokitae LLC, Bellevue, Wash.):

"A refrigeration device includes a thermal transfer unit with an evaporative region, an adiabatic region, and a condensing region with a reversible valve attached to the adiabatic region. The device includes a container sealed around PCM, with a set of refrigeration coils of a compressor unit in thermal contact with the PCM. A storage region is in thermal contact with the evaporative region of the thermal transfer unit. A controller is operably connected to the reversible valve and the refrigeration compressor unit. The storage region can be used to store cold packs within a predetermined temperature range for medical outreach."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180087831.pdf

Patent application: Battery pack with PCM

Ben Welter - Monday, April 02, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180090728 (applicant LG Chem Ltd., Seoul, South Korea):

"A battery pack according to the present invention comprises a battery cell and a battery case accommodating the battery cell, wherein the battery case comprises an inner case accommodating the battery cell, an outer case disposed outside the inner case, and a cooling member between the inner and outer cases to indirectly cool the battery cell by using cool air generated by cooling the inner and outer cases."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180090728.pdf

PCM briefing: A call for papers on energy storage for building applications; Peli BioThermal introduces CoolPall Flex

Ben Welter - Sunday, March 18, 2018

Energy and Buildings has issued a call for papers for a special issue on energy storage for building applications. Topics include "bio-inspired, bio-based, and bio-replicated storage materials and systems," "storage-based systems for mitigating indoor-outdoor microclimate" and "smart, multipurpose, multifunctional materials for sensible and latent thermal energy storage in buildings." Dr. Luisa F. Cabeza of the University of Lleida is among the issue's guest editors. Papers will be accepted between May 1 and July 31. Original manuscripts only.

Nebuma of Saarbrücken, Germany, has introduced a thermal energy storage system that can store around 16MWh of heat in a 20-foot container. The company says the blocks or granules in the tanks can be heated to up to 1,300ºC “with an efficiency that is second to none."

CoolPall FlexPeli BioThermal unveiled a new addition to its range of bulk temperature-control shippers this week at Clinical Trial Supply Europe in Milan. The CoolPall Flex is available in three heights with a capacity range of 140 to 767 liters. Options include standard insulation or vacuum insulated panels and water-based or PCM coolants in single or double coolant configurations. 

Harvard University's new district energy facility will feature the largest thermal storage tank in Massachusetts. The 1.3-million-gallon tank will store chilled water that will be used to cool buildings. It will also support some limited research applications.

• New from Pike Research: "Revenue From Net Zero Energy Buildings to Reach $1.3 Trillion by 2035"

• New from HeyReport: "2015-2023 World Micro-capsule Phase Change Composite Material Market Research Report by Product Type, End-User / Application and Regions / Countries

• New from HTF Market Intelligence: "Phase Change Materials Market Overview – Key Futuristic Trends and Competitive Landscape 2023"

• New from Transparency Market Research: "Cold Chain Packaging Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2017 - 2025

Ice Energy has announced the launch of "Keep Your Cool," a free HVAC replacement and energy storage program in Orange County, Calif. Under the program, qualifying businesses are eligible to receive fully installed HVAC and thermal energy storage systems, using Ice Energy’s proprietary Ice Bear unit. The system freezes water at night when demand for power is low. The stored ice is then used during the peak period of the day to provide uninterrupted cooling, using less energy and reducing air conditioning bills by up to 40 percent.

Work continues on effort to add PCM products to California energy code

Ben Welter - Friday, March 16, 2018

At its meeting earlier this month, the RAL Quality Association PCM discussed an update on an initiative to include phase change material in the Building Efficiency Standards contained in the California Code of Regulations.

The update, provided by Jeremiah Crossett, chief technology officer of NRGsim Inc., outlined the initiative’s timeline and cost projections.

Crossett is developing a database of PCM products and performing a detailed modeling study on a variety of PCM products in all California climate zones. The goal is to build a persuasive case for including PCMs in the next version of the standards, to be published in 2019.

Manufacturers of PCM building products are invited to submit products to Crossett for inclusion in the database. One or two products can be submitted for $2,000; an unlimited number can be submitted for $5,000. For Crossett’s modeling study, $2,000 covers one or two products; $5,000 covers an unlimited number.

Crossett hopes to complete work on the initiative by next winter. He said Insolcorp, which installs PCM building products in California, Nevada and other states, has been covering the costs. He asked if any members of the RAL Quality Association PCM would be interested in co-funding the initiative. Members suggested that the new PCM Industry Association of North America would be a better audience for that question. Companies interested in participating can contact Crossett at jcrossett@nrgsim.com.

Research roundup: Personal cooling device; China's cold chain; prismatic lithium ion batteries; more

Ben Welter - Friday, March 16, 2018

"Preparation and Characterization of Modified Porous Wood Flour/Lauric-Myristic Acid Eutectic Mixture as a Form-Stable Phase Change Material" [Energy & Fuels]

A novel phase based cooling system for prismatic lithium ion batteries [Institut International du Froid]

Optimization of solar photovoltaic system integrated with phase change material [Solar Energy]

A novel heat transfer enhancement technique for performance improvements in encapsulated latent heat storage system [Solar Energy]

Experimental and numerical investigation of a solar collector/storage system with composite phase change materials [Solar Energy]

Enhanced thermal conductivity of phase change material nanocomposites based on MnO2 nanowires and nanotubes for energy storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Enhancing the Thermosiphon-Driven Discharge of a Latent Heat Thermal Storage System used in a Personal Cooling Device [International Journal of Refrigeration]

An Overview of Current Status of Cold Chain in China [International Journal of Refrigeration]

Applications of Thermal Analysis to the Study of Phase-Change Materials [Handbook of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry]

Thermo-physical characteristics, mechanical performance and long-term stability of high temperature latent heat storages based on paraffin-polymer compounds [Thermochimica Acta]

High thermal conductive paraffin/calcium carbonate phase change microcapsules based composites with different carbon network [Applied Energy]