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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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PCM briefing: ThermoSafe introduces new passive shipper; PCM-cooled rail containers hit market in China

Ben Welter - Saturday, August 24, 2019

ThermoSafe Pegasus ULD shipper• Sonoco ThermoSafe has announced the creation of a passive, temperature-controlled container that will be manufactured by AEROTUF of Charleston, S.C. The Pegasus ULD container will use AEROTUF’s patented AeroTHERM composite material technology, along with a gelled phase change material. "The Pegasus ULD will ultimately provide 2-8, CRT, and frozen temperature ranges depending on the PCM used for durations up to and exceeding five days," said Ben VanderPlas, manager of Engineering and Product Management at ThermoSafe, which is based in Arlington Heights, Ill. A launch date for the product has not been announced.

• The Chinese rail company that worked with the UK's University of Birmingham last year to develop a prototype of PCM-based freight container is bringing the concept to market. Hebei-based transport business CRRC Shijiazhuang sold 49 of the containers to a manufacturer in China this month. The low-emissions freight containers keep payloads cold without the need for fuel-generated refrigeration. "We are delighted to see our cold storage technologies start to make the commercial market," said Yulong Ding, director of the Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage. "We are working with our partners to extend the cold storage technologies to more applications."

Lagunitas Phase Change ale• Here's a co-branding opportunity for a PCM manufacturer with a taste for hops: Lagunitas Brewing Co. of Petaluma, Calif., has introduced Phase Change, "an unfiltered, wet-hop ale packed full of lupulin-drenched Simcoe, Citra & Mosaic hops." The brewer describes the beer as "somewhere between a solid and a liquid... a Phase Change of sorts."  

• More than 170 speakers are lined up for the 14th International Conference on Advanced Building Skins, to be held Oct. 28-29 in Bern, Switzerland. The Japanese architect and Pritzker laureate Shigeru Ban will deliver the keynote address. Thomas Friedrich of Innogration GmbH, Germany, will discuss "collection of thermal energy from the façade" and "decentralized PCM storage elements for saving thermal energy." Damien Mathis of Ai Environnement, Paris, will give a presentation on the "thermal performance of engineered wood flooring impregnated with phase-change materials." The registration fee is 680 euros and includes the conference documentation as well as meals during both days. Participants who register by Aug. 30 will receive a 10 percent discount.

Research roundup: Microencapsulated sugarcane wax; night ventilation; caprylic acid composite; more

Ben Welter - Friday, August 23, 2019

From Chemical Engineering:

Thermal properties and behavior of microencapsulated sugarcane wax phase change material

From Renewable Energy:

Experimental study on the influence of preparation parameters on strengthening stability of phase change materials (PCMs)
Climatic and seasonal suitability of phase change materials coupled with night ventilation for office buildings in Western China

From Applied Energy:

Thermal energy storage (TES) with phase change materials (PCM) in solar power plants (CSP). Concept and plant performance

From Materials Research Express:

Preparation and thermal characteristics of caprylic acid based composite as phase change material for thermal energy storage

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Thermodynamic assessment of an integrated renewable energy multigeneration system including ammonia as hydrogen carrier and phase change material energy storage

From Russian Journal of General Chemistry:

Symmetrical Fatty Dialkyl Carbonates as Potential Green Phase Change Materials: Synthesis and Characterisation

From Journal of Physics: Conference Series:

An Integrated Energy Power Generation with Energy Storage System

From Safety in Extreme Environments:

Review of energy storage technologies in harsh environment

From Materials Today: Proceedings:

Review on performance assessment of phase change materials in buildings for thermal management through passive approach

From International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology:

Sunlight-driven organic phase change material-embedded nanofiller for latent heat solar energy storage

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Application of a ground source heat pump system with PCM‚Äźembedded radiant wall heating for buildings

From Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research:

Theoretical Evaluation of an Organic Phase Change Material (PCM)-Inserted Dual-Functional Adsorbent for the Recovery of Heat of Adsorption

From Chemical Engineering Journal:

Flame-retardancy and thermal properties of a novel phosphorus-modified PCM for thermal energy storage

From Solar Energy:

Numerical study on charging characteristics of heat pipe-assisted cylindrical capsule for enhancing latent thermal energy storage

From Renewable Energy and Environmental Sustainability:

Use of phase change materials in concrete: current challenges

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Ambient pressure dried flexible silica aerogel for construction of monolithic shape-stabilized phase change materials

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Preparation and properties of phase change temperature-tuned composite phase change material based on sodium acetate trihydrate–urea/fumed silica for radiant floor heating system

From Sustainable Cities and Societies:

Cardinal orientation and melting temperature effects for PCM-enhanced light-walls in different climates

From Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry:

Phase change materials (PCMs) for improving solar still productivity: a review

Patent application: Substance delivery device with PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 22, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190254797 (applicant TG Medwise Ltd., Hod HaSharon, Israel):

PCM collar patent drawing"A delivery device includes a collar device for wearing on an animal, a dosing probe disposed on the collar device for delivering a substance therefrom, an actuator configured to deliver the substance from the dosing probe through an opening formed in the dosing probe, a controller in communication with the actuator and configured to control delivery of the substance from the dosing probe, and a sensor in communication with the controller and configured to sense that the collar device is touching fur or skin of the animal and the dosing probe is directed towards fur or skin of the animal."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190254797.pdf

Patent application: Article of clothing with PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 22, 2019

Under Armour patent drawingU.S. patent application 20190254362 (applicant Under Armour Inc., Baltimore, Md.):

"The present invention is directed toward an article of apparel effective to regulate the temperature of the wearer. In an embodiment, the article of apparel includes a base textile with a thermal regulation membrane. The thermal regulation membrane contains a plurality of system-reactive components selectively engaged heat and/or moisture. In an embodiment, the printed coating includes a cooling agent, a phase change material, and a heat dissipation material. In operation, the article of apparel is effective to delay/diminish the rise in skin temperature (compared to a garment lacking the membrane), increasing wearer comfort."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190254362.pdf

Patent application: Ice-based thermal energy storage device

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 22, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190257593 (applicant Boreales Energy, Hérouville-Saint-Clair, France):

"Disclosed is a heat exchange device including a first thermally conductive tube that is hollow over its length, a second thermally conductive tube that is hollow over its length, and including a thermally conductive fin, in which the fin extends lengthwise along the first tube, the fin extends lengthwise along the second tube and the fin extends width-wise between the first tube and the second tube. ... The invention is open to industrial application or useful in the field of heat accumulators, transferring heat between two phase change materials and in particular for storing energy in the form of ice from freshwater or saltwater or brackish water."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190257593.pdf

PCM briefing: Funding for AMP Clean Energy project; 1414 Degrees to test 'SmartFarm" applications

Ben Welter - Monday, August 19, 2019

Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership has awarded funding to a joint effort by AMP Clean Energy and the University of Birmingham to develop a thermal energy storage system. The system will incorporate phase change material developed by the university for use in AMP’s Urban Reserve flexible electricity generation plants, which will turn waste heat into electricity. The amount of funding was not disclosed.

• Geocryologist Christopher Stevens of SRK North America will give a PCM-related presentation at this week's International  Conference on Cold Regions Engineering in Quebec City: "Phase Change Materials – Innovation in Adaptation Technology to Address Permafrost Thaw" (Aug. 21).

• Australian start-up 1414 Degrees has announced a joint project with Nectar Farms to test “SmartFarm” applications of 1414's technology, which stores electricity as thermal energy by heating and melting containers full of silicon. 

Patent application: Temperature regulating polyurethane gel

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 15, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190249058 (applicant Technogel Italia S.r.L., Pozzoleone, Italy):

"A method for the production of a temperature regulating polyurethane gel composition and corresponding articles includes fatty acid esters as a phase change material (PCM) directly incorporated in the fluid phase of a polyurethane gel without encapsulation. The liquid or melted PCM is solved in the polyol component of the gel and is able to crystallize and melt within the gel structure reversibly. The polyurethane gels are under-crosslinked and include an at least nominal three functional ethylene oxide-comprising alkylene oxide polyether polyol with 0 to 40% EO and an isocyanate with an effective functionality of from 1.5 to 3.5. The gels are useful in articles where the gel can be positioned close to the human body for temperature regulating purposes, and especially to improve the sleeping comfort of a resting person."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190249058.pdf

Patent application: Eco smart panels for energy savings

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 15, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190249904 (applicant SIDCO Homes Inc., San Jose, Calif.):

"An eco-smart panel is described comprising a a solar thermal panel, a phase change material, a metal foil layer, and a structural frame constructed of materials including wood studs, gypsum, or fiberglass-reinforced concrete. The materials may be variously configured to create modular systems for fabricating buildings or structures. Eco-smart panels may be utilized to create buildings or structure with enhanced energy efficiency, increased fire resistance, increased flood resistance, and decreased construction cost and time."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190249904.pdf

Research roundup: Analysis of hysteresis method in EnergyPlus; pinecone biochar; passive cooling; thermal responses of concrete slabs; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 15, 2019

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Application and sensitivity analysis of the phase change material hysteresis method in EnergyPlus: A case study

From Scientific Reports:

A promising form-stable phase change material prepared using cost effective pinecone biochar as the matrix of palmitic acid for thermal energy storage

From Applied Energy:

Geometry-induced thermal storage enhancement of shape-stabilized phase change materials based on oriented carbon nanotubes
Passive cooling through phase change materials in buildings. A critical study of implementation alternatives

From Cement and Concrete Composites:

Thermal responses of concrete slabs containing microencapsulated low-transition temperature phase change materials exposed to realistic climate conditions

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Preparation and thermal properties of low melting point alloy/expanded graphite composite phase change materials used in solar water storage system
Frost and high-temperature resistance performance of a novel dual-phase change material flat plate solar collector

From Energy:

Novel micro-encapsulated phase change materials with low melting point slurry: Characterization and cementing application

From IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering:

Thermal performances and characterization of microencapsulated phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From Journal of Physics: Conference Series:

Effect of thermal performance on melting and solidification of lauric acid PCM in cylindrical thermal energy storage

From Construction and Building Materials:A sodium acetate trihydrate-formamide/expanded perlite composite with high latent heat and suitable phase change temperatures for use in building roof

From Materials Research Express:

Investigation of magnesium nitrate hexahydrate based phase change materials containing nanoparticles for thermal energy storage

From Journal of the Brazilian Society of Mechanical Sciences and Engineering:

Selection of phase change material for solar thermal storage application: a comparative study

From Renewable Energy:

Experimental study on the thermal performance of a grey water heat harnessing exchanger using phase change materials

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Climate applicability study of building envelopes containing phase change materials

New dorm at Massachusetts college features 18,000+ square feet of PCM mats

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 15, 2019

Garfield passive house elements

A new dormitory at Williams College in Massachusetts is equipped with 18,200 square feet of mats filled with phase change material.

Garfield House, completed in time for the first students to move in this month, is designed to achieve Passive House PHIUS+ certification and LEED Gold certification. It features R-38 walls, R-60 roofs, triple-pane windows, high-efficiency energy recovery ventilation units, drainwater heat recovery and a 50 kw photovoltaic array.

The Infinite R PCM mats, made by Insolcorp LLC of New London, N.C., will help keep the passively cooled building comfortable when the weather is warm. The PCM is a salt hydrate with a peak melting point of 73 degrees F and a thermal storage capacity of about 170 joules per gram. The mats are deployed within Garfield's interior walls and above ceilings.

Jacob Higginbottom Jacob Higginbottom, director of higher education design at SGA in Boston, was project manager. He first learned about the potential use of phase change material in building envelopes and interiors in March 2018.

"A member of our team had run across the Infinite R product at a trade show and our client was looking for ways to introduce passive cooling techniques since it’s their campus standard to build residence halls without active cooling," said Higginbottom, right. "Upon research we convinced the client that this could help and they decided to give it a try."

Garfield House has no active cooling system. Did that present any special challenges?

"The fact that Garfield did not have cooling wasn’t necessarily a challenge for the PCM, but perhaps was more of an opportunity for the project itself," said Mick Dunn, Insolcorp president. "The project wasn’t without a cooling source altogether. The design team implemented well-designed ERV/ventilation to leverage cool overnight temperatures. As part of the Passive House design process, some issues were identified with cooling and being able to maintain comfort without the introduction of A/C. So we worked with them to analyze a suitable amount of PCM to help address that cooling issue and help negate the need for investment in mechanical cooling other than ventilation.

"We’ve had numerous applications where the PCM has been used with no active cooling. Most of these have been very large industrial applications where the PCM has been used to control peak plant temperatures in buildings with very high internal heat loads. The results have been very good, and we’ve seen reductions as much as 10 to 15F compared with baseline temps. Sometimes we’ll be using a higher temp PCM to promote natural re-freezing. In more conventional occupied office/housing applications we’d typically still be looking for some kind of mechanical cooling mechanism such as ventilation if air conditioning is not present. And we’d probably be more likely to consider this as a viable strategy in climates such as California or New England than say Florida where humidity and overnight temperatures are very high."

The engineering firm Thornton Tomasetti of New York conducted whole building energy modeling in WUFI Passive, the program required by the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS). The models project cooling demand of 0.74 kBtu per square foot per year and a cooling load of 1.64 Btu per hour per square foot. A PCM thermal simulation model projects a peak cooling reduction of 10 degrees F.

Will the building's actual performance be measured against these metrics in the first year of occupancy?

Elsa Mullin, senior sustainability consultant at Thornton Tomasetti, says PHIUS "does not require post-occupancy measurement and verification after initial occupancy."

Higginbottom said LEED certification for the design portion is completed. All construction requirements have been submitted and he expects a LEED Gold certificate from the U.S. Green Building Council by the end of the month.

He said the use of PCM won't be a factor in the certification process.

"A building like this can easily achieve LEED Gold without the use of this material," he said. "PCM was introduced to address thermal comfort. Active cooling does not dramatically affect the building energy consumption in a use type like this (most loads come from domestic HW and plug loads and ventilation fans which are still required irrespective of cooling design)."

It's the first time Higginbottom has used PCM in a project. He hopes to use it in future projects.

"The interesting part about this product is the ability to fine-tune a building towards net zero or net positive and also to flatten out the demand for cooling and possibly downsize equipment in the future and save money on operating and up front costs," he said. "We would like to have more research to back that up, but it’s a speculation on our part that this would be a benefit to building owners’ first costs and life-cycle costs."