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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: New denim features phase change material; Sasol 'back on the expansion trail'

Ben Welter - Monday, February 06, 2017

• Thinking about attending BiobasedWorld 2017 in Cologne, Germany, this month? Sorry, the trade show was canceled a few months ago due to the industry's "challenging economic environment." A related show is on the horizon: Bio-Based Live Europe in Amsterdam, May 31-June 1. The focus will be on "Process Innovation and Technology" and "Sustainable Products." Speakers include Freek Snieders, managing director, Croda International; and Jean Luc Dubois, scientific director, Arkema.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory takes a look at how University of Michigan researchers used a Cray XK7 Titan supercomputer to study melting in two-dimensional systems. Deeper understanding of the process, Oak Ridge says, "could yield insights into surface interactions in materials important to technologies like solar panels, as well as into the mechanism behind three-dimensional melting." 

• The cold chain packaging class developed by Sonoco ThermoSafe’s ISC Labs will be offered at the Cold Chain GDP & Temperature Management Logistics Global Forum in San Diego in May. The all-day session on May 25 will cover the design, development and qualification of temperature-controlled packaging. The conference agenda is available for download.

Biznews.com reports that chemicals giant Sasol is "back on the expansion trail, seeking out suitable acquisitions."

• Among the new fabrics on display at the Munich Fabric Start trade show this week: Cordura denim combined with Schoeller phase change material. 

• The University of the West of England has installed two Monodraught Cool-Phase hybrid units in the university's Estates Management Office in Bristol. Monodraught says its PCM-equipped systems have been shown to "use up to 90% less energy than traditional a/c systems."  

• The 12th Conference on Advanced Building Skins, scheduled for Oct. 2-3 in Bern, Switzerland, has issued a call for papers. Possible topics include financial models, new products, advanced design and building performance. The deadline is Feb. 10. 

Pelican BioThermal has announced that its new passive pallet shipper system, CrÄ“do Cargo, is now available to rent or buy. The reusable bulk shipper uses phase change material cooling panels to maintain temperature ranges +2C to +8C and +15C to +25C. 

Patent application: Microencapsulation of material using cenospheres

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 02, 2017

Cenosphere patent drawingU.S. patent application 20170030077 (applicant Board of Trustees, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Ala.):

"Disclosed are methods for incorporating core materials such as phase change materials or admixtures into building materials like concrete. The methods use cenospheres, which are then etched and loaded with the core material. The composition can also be coated with a thin film. Compositions containing cenospheres loaded with the various core materials are disclosed, as are building materials containing such compositions."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170030077.pdf

Patent application: TES facility with heat storage and heat release functions

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 02, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170030656 (applicant SFI Electronics Technology Inc., Taiwan):

SFI patent drawing"A thermal energy storage facility for use in heat storage and heat release comprises a heat storage/release mechanism constituted by multiple heat storage/heat exchange units stacked up, each unit at least comprises a heat storage board having parallel grooves for loading phase-change material (PCM) therein and a heat exchange plate having micro-channel groups for heat transfer fluid (HTF) flowed through to exchange heat with the PCM; particularly two or more the thermal energy storage facilities can be worked together by combination in series or/and in parallel to input of thermal energy, absorption of thermal energy and both simultaneously from the PCM, and the thermal energy storage facility capably operating at a heat storage temperature higher than 1200° C. is suited for use in solar thermal power generation system to improve overall efficiency of solar thermal power to reach 35-40%."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170030656.pdf

Research roundup: PU-PCM in refrigerated vehicle; indirect solar dryer; triplex tube heat exchangers; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 02, 2017

Experimental and numerical study of insulation walls containing a composite layer of PU-PCM and dedicated to refrigerated vehicle [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Development and experimental validation of a CFD model for PCM in a vertical triplex tube heat exchanger [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Recycled additions for improving the thermal conductivity of concrete in preparing energy storage systems [Construction and Building Materials]

Thermal behavior of indirect solar dryer: nocturnal usage of solar air collector with PCM [Journal of Cleaner Production]

Solar still with latent heat energy storage: A review [Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies]

2-D numerical investigation of melting of an impure PCM in the arbitrary-shaped annuli [International Journal of Thermal Sciences]

Melting enhancement in triplex-tube latent heat energy storage system using nanoparticles-metal foam combination [Applied Energy]

A concept of a thermal comfort system with energy storage in structure of the building [Problemy Eksploatacji]

Impact of Sodium Silicate Pentahydrate as Phase Change Material in Concrete Cubes for Enhancing the Thermal Comfort [pdf]
[International Journal of Civil Engineering and Technology]

Patent application: Mattress containing microencapsulated PCM

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170020299 (applicant Milliken & Co., Spartanburg, S.C.):

"A mattress containing a core section, a high loft non-woven layer at least partially covering a first side of the core section and containing a plurality of heat and flame resistant fibers, bulking fibers, and binder fibers, a ticking layer at least partially covering the high loft non-woven layer and containing a textile layer, a pattern coated layer. The pattern coated layer may be printed on the high loft non-woven layer, the ticking layer, or any layer between the high loft non-woven layer and the ticking layer. The pattern coated layer contains a blend of microencapsulated phase change material (PCM) and a binder, wherein the PCM is fully encapsulated by the binder."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170020299.pdf

Drexel professor looking for partners to scale up de-icing material

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dr. Yaghoob Farnam, an assistant professor in Drexel University’s College of Engineering, knows that harsh winters pose a significant challenge for the folks who design, build and maintain roads. In an interview with Drexel's News Blog this week, he shared some background on his research:

"One of the things that my research group has been looking for is better options for deicing. We are designing special types of phase change material — like paraffin wax or vegetable oil — that can be used to expedite the snow/ice melting process. Right now we have lab-scale work that is very promising. We have proven that these materials can melt about two inches of snow and they will stay in the pavement for longer periods of time, which saves the labor of reapplying it before every snow/ice event. Imagine how much salt and snow plowing could be avoided! By keeping the snow and ice from sitting on the road surface, the phase change materials could also reduce damage from freeze-thaw cycles.

"We are reaching out to local departments of transportation, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration, as possible research partners who could help support full-scale outdoor testing — and benefit from the findings."

https://newsblog.drexel.edu/2017/01/26/qa-how-do-winters-mood-swings-affect-our-roads/

Swiss symposium on thermal energy storage draws 135 participants

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

TES economics, microencapsulation and new materials were among the topics at this year's Swiss Symposium Thermal Energy Storage in Lucerne.

The symposium, held Jan. 20 at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, drew 135 participants. Prof. Dr. Jörg Worlitschek, who organized the gathering, described the feedback from participants as “really positive.”

The 5th Swiss Symposium Thermal Energy Storage will be held on Jan. 26, 2018. Here’s a brief look at a few of this year’s presentations:

Dr. Luisa CabezaThermal Energy Storage: Possibilities and Outlook: Luisa F. Cabeza, right, University of Lleida, Spain, provided an overview of the basic principals and benefits of TES and offered an up-to-date look at strategic research priorities for sensible TES, latent TES and thermochemical storage.

Development of Latent Heat Transportation Systems with Various PCM: Hiroshi Suzuki, Ruri Hidema and Yoshiyuki Komoda, Kobe University, Japan, examined the process of microencapsulating PCM in a silica hard shell. Their conclusion: The material shows great promise for a variety of applications.

Thermoplastic Heat Storage Materials for Diverse Applications: Stefan Reinemann, head of plastics research at TITK, Germany, described the development of a PCM compound in which liquid paraffin is bound in a polymeric network structure. These PCM polymer storage granules have a “large heat transfer area,” melting ranges from -4 to 82 degrees C and a heat capacity of up to 180 joules per gram. The granules can be used in textiles, household appliances, building materials and prosthetics.

A Simple Tool for the Economic Evaluation of Thermal Energy Storage: Christoph Rathgeber, ZAE Bayern, Center for Applied Energy Research, Germany, presented two formula-driven ways to make a rough estimate of the economic viability of an energy storage for a specific application: Top-down (following the assumption that the costs of energy supplied by the storage should not exceed the costs of energy from the market) and Bottom-up (focusing on the realized storage capacity costs of existing storages). Among “long-term storages for building applications,” the analysis found that seasonal thermal storage is only economical via large hot water systems. Among “short-term storage for industrial applications,” the analysis found that ice storage systems are cost effective, and other technologies (such as mobile storage using sodium acetate trihydrate) are getting close. For more on this work, see http://tinyurl.com/tes-economic-evaluation.

https://www.hslu.ch/en/lucerne-school-of-engineering-architecture/research/kompetenzzentren/thermische-energiesysteme-und-verfahrenstechnik/thermische-energiespeicher/cctevt-sstes/cctevt-sstes-2017/

Patent application: Systems, devices and methods for bodily fluid sample transport

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170020425 (applicant Theranos Inc., Palo Alto, Calif.):

Theranos patent drawing"Bodily fluid sample transport systems, devices, and method are provided. In at least one embodiment described herein, methods are provided for the physical transport of small volumes of bodily fluid in liquid form from one location to another location. By way of nonlimiting example, the samples are collected in liquid form at a collection site, transported in liquid form, and arrive at an analysis site in liquid form. In many embodiments, the liquid form during transport is not held in a porous matrix, wicking material, webbing, or similar material that prevents sample for being extracted in liquid form at the destination site. ... In one embodiment, the thermal control material may be but is not limited to embedded phase change material (PCM) material that maintains the temperature at a prior, or desired temperature."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170020425.pdf

PCM briefing: Long-haul cyclists reach Myanmar; papers sought for symposium on waste heat

Ben Welter - Friday, January 27, 2017

Riccardo Rocchi and Chiara RicciardiRiccardo Rocchi and Chiara Ricciardi,  the Italian couple who began an 18,000-kilometer bike ride in June to raise awareness about diabetes, have reached Myanmar. Ricciardi has type 1 diabetes and needs a daily dose of insulin. She is using Pelican BioThermal's Credo ProMed pack to keep insulin at the right temperature. The pair topped the 10,000-kilometer mark this week. They've pedaled across 16 countries, averaging 44 km per day. "We just realized that maybe we forgot to make a postcard from Nepal," the pair said in a Facebook post from Myanmar. "We might consider to cycle back to do it." Their final destination is Singapore.

• Organizers of a one-day symposium at Brunei University on the efficient use of waste heat have issued a call for abstracts. The symposium, "Heat Recovery and Efficient Conversion and Utilisation of Waste Heat," will be held April 20, 2017. Abstracts must be submitted by Jan. 31.

Pelican BioThermal has completed a $1.65 million expansion of the manufacturing facilities at its U.S. headquarters in Plymouth, Minn. The company now has 70,000 square feet of manufacturing space in the Minneapolis suburb, up from 54,000 square feet. The expansion will support production of single-use temperature-controlled shippers in the United States.

Weise's Outlast Houston motorcycle jacket• New from Weise Motorcycle Clothing: The Outlast Houston, a fully armored waterproof jacket with a removable lining that features Outlast phase change material to regulate temperature. 

Serta is touting “breakthrough cooling technology” in the new version of its iComfort memory foam mattresses. Phase change material is embedded in the fabric and on the surface of the gel memory foam.

• The United Kingdom plans to spend £28 million ($35 million) on reducing the cost of energy storage, advancing demand side response technologies and improving energy efficiency measures for industry. Up to one-third of the money will be spent on a competition to reduce the cost of energy storage, including thermal storage.

• The EU-funded Heat4Cool research project is developing a novel retrofit planning tool to help retrofit companies, architects, manufacturers, building administrators and residents weigh the potential benefits of three main technologies: gas and solar thermally driven adsorption heat pumps; PV-assisted DC-powered heat pumps connected to advanced modular PCM heat and cold storage systems; and energy recovery from sewage water with high performance heat exchangers. You are invited to help in this effort by completing a five-minute survey online.

• A Florida startup is calling its PCM-infused TempPro fabric “a gamechanger for luxury lingerie.” Giapenta, which launched a Kickstarter campaign this week, uses the temperature-regulating fabric in its line of bras, panties and sleep masks. The campaign has already met its modest target of raising $25,000. I've contacted the company and hope to have technical details on TempPro in time for next week's newsletter..

Research roundup: Encapsulated paraffin wax and sand nanoparticles; 1,6-hexanediol/lauric acid; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, January 26, 2017

New hybrid nanofluid containing encapsulated paraffin wax and sand nanoparticles in propylene glycol-water mixture: Potential heat transfer fluid for energy management [Energy Conversion and Management]

Thermal properties and stabilities of the eutectic mixture: 1,6-hexanediol/lauric acid as a phase change material for thermal energy storage [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Adaptability research on phase change materials based technologies in China [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Design of a Low cost Non Electrical Type Baby Incubator for Developing Country [pdf] [International Journal of Scientific & Engineering Research]