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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: Outlast introduces Xelerate fabric; Warmilu signs 2 distributors

Ben Welter - Friday, May 19, 2017

Drawing of Outlast Xelerate

Outlast Europe's Martin Bentz spoke with T.EVO magazine this month about the company's new Xelerate fabric. The fabric, introduced at a German trade fair earlier this year, incorporates "heat spreader" technology, a process traditionally known for cooling electronic devices. Xelerate fabric features improved thermal conductivity, Bentz said, and is suitable for home textiles, sportswear and protective gear. In an email exchange with Phase Change Matters, Bentz declined to discuss specific partners or customers.

Warmilu, maker of the IncuBlanket infant warmer, reports that is on track for $300,000 in total 2017 sales after signing two distributors for Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia: Relief for Africa Foundation and Maternova. The IncuBlanket, which has been successfully tested in clinical trials in India, uses packs filled with sodium acetate trihydrate to keep infants warm for up to five hours. CEO Grace Hsia says the device recently cleared its first regulatory filing with Kenya's Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

Axiom Exergy has won a Gold Stevie for Energy Innovation in the 15th annual American Business Awards. Axiom's "refrigeration battery" enables supermarkets and food warehouses to store thermal energy at night when power is cheaper. The system, which uses salt-based phase change material, reduces peak power usage by up to 40 percent.

• Registration is open for IFAI's Expo 2017, set for Sept. 27-29 in New Orleans. The Industrial Fabrics Association International show will feature sessions on smart fabrics, military procurement, biomimesis and green certification.   

Pelican BioThermal has introduced a new Series 22 Universal system for its Credo brand of shippers. The system uses a dual PCM coolant system designed to be operational throughout the year.

National Law Review offers a fresh overview of green chemistry laws across the United States. "State chemical control regimes," the authors conclude, "are likely to increase cost and foster confusion about chemical safety, which is one reason that Congress agreed to modernize TSCA by adopting LCSA."

Monodraught's Cool-phase ventilation and cooling system was among the finalists honored at the National CSR Awards in London this week. The hybrid system, which won a "One to Watch" award, uses PCMs to store and release thermal energy, providing a free cooling load and reducing energy and maintenance costs.

• The agenda has been released for the 15th Cold Chain Global Forum to be held Sept. 25-29 in Chicago. Frank Butch, director of engineering at Sonoco ThermoSafe, will lead a master class on temperature assurance packaging certification.

Bloomberg BNA is offering a free webinar June 12: "Reviewing New Chemicals under Amended TSCA: Impact on Innovation." 

Outlast Europe's Martin Bentz spoke with T.EVO magazine this month about the company's new Xelerate fabric (shown below). The fabric, introduced at a German trade fair earlier this year, incorporates "heat spreader" technology, a process traditionally known for cooling electronic devices. Xelerate fabric features improved thermal conductivity, Bentz said, and is suitable for home textiles, sportswear and protective gear. In an email exchange with Phase Change Matters, Bentz declined to discuss specific partners or customers.

Research roundup: Crystallization of salt hydrates in polymeric foam; Glauber's salt; cetyl alcohol/HDPE composites; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, May 18, 2017

Numerical study on melt fraction during melting of phase change material inside a sphere [International Journal of Hydrogen Energy]

Crystallization of inorganic salt hydrates in polymeric foam for thermal energy storage application [Journal of Energy Storage]

Evaluating the passive and free cooling application methods of phase change materials in residential buildings: A comparative study [Energy and Buildings]

Microstructure and thermal properties of cetyl alcohol/high density polyethylene composite phase change materials with carbon fiber as shape-stabilized thermal storage materials [Applied Energy]

Screening alternatives for producing paraffinic phase change materials for thermal energy storage in buildings [International Journal of Energy Research]

Various Applications of Phase Change Materials: Thermal Energy Storing Materials [pdf] [International Journal of Emerging Research in Management]

Preparation and thermal properties of Glauber’s salt-based phase-change materials for Qinghai–Tibet Plateau solar greenhouses [International Journal of Modern Physics B]

Numerical analysis on the energy storage efficiency of phase change material embedded in finned metal foam with graded porosity [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Passive cooling potential in buildings under various climatic conditions in India [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

BASF sells Micronal PCM line to Microtek Labs

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Microtek Laboratories of Dayton, Ohio, today announced it has signed a contract to purchase BASF's Micronal line of microencapsulated phase change material. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Micronal logoThe Micronal line, introduced in 2004, includes six paraffin-based PCMs offered in liquid and powder form, with melt points ranging from 21° C to 26° C. Microencapsulated PCMs are used for thermal regulation in building and construction products, mattresses, textiles and packaging applications. Micronal is key component of building products such as Knauf wallboard and National Gypsum's ThermalCORE panels. 

Manufacturing of Micronal products will be transitioned to Microtek’s Dayton production facility by the end of the year. Microtek has taken ownership of all Micronal inventory and will begin working with Micronal customers on May 23.

“This is great addition to Microtek’s product line, creating a real advantage for customers who already have a defined manufacturing/coating process requiring a specific type of phase change product in their formulation,” said Randall Lane, Microtek’s chief strategy officer. “Microtek’s mission has always been to provide innovative solutions to enhance product performance for our customers. Adding Micronal to the product line allows Microtek to remain the world leader in microencapsulated PCM products.”

BASF, based in Ludwigshafen, Germany, said the sale will allow its dispersions and pigments division to focus on its core business, "dispersions and additives in the field of raw materials used in construction chemicals." BASF said the sale does not include Ludwigshafen production assets or employees.

Microtek, founded in 1985, is a privately held company focused on phase change material and microencapsulation services. It introduced its Nextek line of PCM capsules in 2016.

https://www.basf.com/en/company/news-and-media/news-releases/2017/05/p-17-225.html

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170517005136/en/Microtek-Laboratories-Announces-Acquisition-Micronal-Product-Line

PCM briefing: MiraCradle wins commercialization award; ThermoSafe introduces Certis 2-Day Platform

Ben Welter - Friday, May 12, 2017

Pluss Advanced Technologies of India has won a Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises award for successful commercialization of the MiraCradle, a low-cost passive cooling device for treating newborns suffering from birth asphyxia. India's president, Pranab Mukherjee, presented the award Thursday at a National Technology Day event in New Delhi. The device uses form-stable inorganic phase change materials.

Energy Storage North America is seeking nominations for its 2017 Innovation Awards. Thermal storage projects are eligible. Winners will be honored at ESNA's annual conference and expo, Aug. 8-10 in San Diego, Calif. The deadline for entering is June 2.

Sonoco ThermoSafe has expanded the Certis brand of one-way shipping solutions to include a two-day platform for the distribution of pharmaceutical and biological products. Like its three- and five-day predecessors, the Certis 2-Day Platform employs the same pack-out for 2-8° C, 15-25° C and frozen shipments. It uses just four shippers and three types of phase change material to create 12 shipping solutions.

Entropy Solutions, maker of PureTemp phase change materials, will be among the companies honored with a Eureka! Innovation Award at a reception in June. The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal awards program, now in its fourth year, recognizes "game-changing" Minnesota businesses in energy, manufacturing, media, health care, product design, engineering, architecture and other categories.

SupplyChainBrain recently spoke with supply chain executives about about the tools, talents and techniques needed to create accurate and responsive demand forecasts. Jane Kaiser, director of North American supply chain planning for Monsanto, cites collaborative forecasting as one way suppliers and customers can succeed. "It’s a question of [better] data mining, being truthful with each other, talking to one another," said Kaiser.

• As air freight rates remain high and capacity tightens, more temperature-sensitive medicines are moving by ocean freight, writes Cathy Robertson of Logistics Trends & Insights.

• New from QYResearch: "Global Phase Change Materials Market Forecast 2017-2022 Industry DuPont, BASF SE, Royal Dutch Shell, Climator Sweden."

• A seminar titled "PCM and Thermal Energy Storage: Characterization of TES Materials by Thermal Analysis, Calorimetry and Thermal Conductivity" will be held in Milan and Naples next week. The free seminar, presented by Automation Ltd. in collaboration with Milan Polytechnic and others, will focus on how the thermal analysis, calorimetric and thermal conductivity methods can be used to investigate the different TES techniques and to characterize the transitions or reactions of typically used materials (fatty acids, paraffins, organic substances, inorganic salts, adsorbents, clathrates).

• In a piece written for North American Clean Energy, Axiom Exergy's Ryan Anderson outlines the benefits of thermal energy storage systems. Saltwater-based systems, he writes, avoid "many of the often hidden, balance of systems costs that electrochemical or flow batteries must account for, such as power converters, fire suppression, and interconnection charges/regulatory time."

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Agenda set for expert forum on Germany's VDI Guideline 2164

Ben Welter - Friday, May 12, 2017

The agenda for the Expert Forum for VDI Guideline 2164, set for June 20 in Düsseldorf, is now available. Several members of the RAL Quality Association PCM will present lectures. 

Dr. Bernd Boiting, chairman of the VDI 2164 committee, will present a brief overview of the guidelines. Other speakers include Esther Kieseritzky of Rubitherm; Marco Schmidt of BASF and Stefan Thomann, managing director of the quality association. 

The Association of German Engineers' building and building technology group (Verein Deutscher Ingenieure, or VDI) will host the meeting. VDI Guideline 2164 defines the fundamentals for latent-heat storage systems in buildings. To register for the forum, visit:

https://www.vdi.de/technik/fachthemen/bauen-und-gebaeudetechnik/artikel/berechenbarer-einsatz-von-phasenwech-selmaterialen.

Patent application: Temperature-controlled cargo container

Ben Welter - Thursday, May 11, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170131014 (applicant Sonoco Development Inc., Hartsville, S.C.):

"Temperature controlled cargo containers may include thermal masses conditioned to temperatures above and/or below a target temperature. Example thermal masses may include plates including phase change materials, such as eutectic materials. One or more fans may be selectively operated to circulate air in the cargo container across one or more of the thermal masses to maintain the temperature within the cargo container within a prescribed temperature band. Some example temperature controlled cargo containers may include refrigeration units and/or heaters for regenerating the thermal masses when receiving power from an external power source and/or may include one or more rechargeable batteries for providing power during transport or storage independent of external power sources."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170131014.pdf

Patent application: Thermal regulating building materials and other construction components containing PCMs

Ben Welter - Thursday, May 11, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170130112 (applicant Outlast Technologies LLC, Golden, Colo.):

"In accordance with one aspect, a material for energy management and peak energy reduction in a building structure, comprises an insulative base material, a first phase change material, and a functional polymeric phase change material that dynamically absorbs and releases heat to adjust heat transfer at or within a temperature stabilizing range. The functional polymeric phase change material has at least one phase change temperature in the range between −10° C. and 100° C. and a phase change enthalpy of at least 5 Joules per gram, the functional polymeric phase change material including a plurality of polymer chains that include a backbone chain and a plurality of side chains, wherein a first portion of the plurality of polymer chains are crosslinked to each other, wherein a second portion of the plurality of polymer chains are crosslinked with the first phase change material and a third portion of the plurality of side chains are mechanically entangled with the inorganic insulative base material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170130112.pdf

Research roundup: Hydrogen-based PCM micro engine; PV module temperature stabilization; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A new hydrogen-based phase change material open-cycle micro engine [International Journal of Hydrogen Energy]

Photovoltaic module temperature stabilization with the use of phase change materials [Solar Energy]

A review of salt hydrates for seasonal heat storage in domestic applications [Applied Energy]

Shape-stabilized composite phase change materials with high thermal conductivity based on stearic acid and modified expanded vermiculite [Renewable Energy]

Experimental investigation of a latent heat storage for solar cooling applications [Applied Energy]

Novel CFD-based numerical schemes for conduction dominant encapsulated phase change materials (EPCM) with temperature hysteresis for thermal energy storage applications [Energy]

Performance evaluation of a novel solar photovoltaic–thermal collector with dual channel using microencapsulated phase change slurry as cooling fluid [Energy Conversion and Management]

U.S. patent applications: Packing, packaging and encapsulation

Ben Welter - Friday, April 28, 2017

Method of packing a temperature-sensitive product

U.S. patent application 20170115046 (applicant Packaging Technology Group Inc., Fall River, Mass.):

PCM packaging patent drawing"A method of packing a temperature sensitive product utilizes a temperature controlled product shipper that includes a phase change material bladder which can be filled at the point of packaging. The temperature sensitive product is contained within a product box or master case, which is in turn packed inside an insulated liner and an outer box. The PCM bladder fits between the master case and the insulated liner and is filled with a preconditioned flowable PCM at the point of packing just before closing the box for shipment."

Convection-based temperature-assured packaging system

U.S. patent application 20170113868 (applicant Sonoco Development Inc., Hartsville, S.C.):

"A packaging system for a temperature sensitive payload is provided. The system includes side panels and end panels forming a product compartment. Cooling layers within the product compartment are located below and above the products. Channel members located between the side panels and the payload and between the end panels and the payload create vertical channels having rectangular cross sectional areas for convective air movement. ... In a refinement each of the bottom cooling layers comprises multiple refrigerant components arranged edge to edge to form a layer within the packaging system. Each refrigerant component may comprise a phase change material (such as water) and a protective outer container."

Encapsulation

U.S. patent application 20170113200 (applicant Encapsys LLC, Appleton, Wis.):

"An improved process of making a benefit agent delivery particle and an improved microcapsule made by such process are disclosed. The process comprises the steps of providing a first composition of water phase 1, water phase 2 and water phase 3. Water phase 1 comprises water and an initiator; water phase 2 comprises water, a water-soluble or dispersible amine(meth)acrylate or hydroxyl(meth)acrylate and a multifunctional (meth)acrylate. Water phase 3 comprises water, and carboxyalkyl(meth)acrylate and a base or quarternary ammonium acrylate."

Axiom Exergy system installed at Whole Foods in California

Ben Welter - Friday, April 28, 2017

Axiom Exergy has completed the first installation of its thermal storage system at a Whole Foods Market store in Los Altos, Calif.

In just three years, notes Greentech Media, Axiom has transitioned from a garage startup to a revenue-generating company with a major supermarket customer.

Axiom system integratorAxiom's "Refrigeration Battery" system is designed to reduce a supermarket's peak power use by up to 40 percent and provide backup cooling during power outages. It uses the excess capacity of a customer's existing refrigeration system to "store cooling" at night by freezing tanks of salt water. The frozen tanks supply refrigeration to the building during periods of peak demand, reducing the need to run energy-intensive compressors and condensers.

The "passive retrofit" at Whole Foods did not require modification of the store's existing refrigeration system. The thermal storage tanks were placed in the loading dock area behind the store, and Axiom's system integrator was installed next to the compressor racks in the mechanical room. Axiom says the system has successfully charged and discharged 1040 kWh of load for up to 10 hours a day over the course of several months.

"We are proud to be leading our industry by being the first to use such an innovative technology to shift our large refrigeration-based energy loads to off-peak hours," said Tristam Coffin, director of sustainability and facilities at Whole Foods.

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/axiom-exergy-brings-its-refrigeration-batteries-to-market-in-three-years