Phase Change Matters RSS


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.




Patent application: Temperature-regulating apparatus for liquids

Ben Welter - Monday, July 16, 2018

Pronto patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180195795 (applicant Pronto Concepts Inc., San Francisco, Calif.):

"A temperature-regulating apparatus which can rapidly chill a beverage by exposing it to a large surface area of the device interior which has a cooling gel embedded within its walls. The user pours their liquid into the device and monitors the projected temperature dropping until they reach an optimal temperature. Once optimal temperature is reached, the users will pour the liquid out of the device to end the cooling processes. Thus a superior liquid cooling solution is provided that can rapidly chill a beverage to an optimal temperature. ... The temperature-regulating material may be a cooling gel that consists of one or more of water, phase change material (PCMs), sodium chloride, propylene glycol, or the like."

PCM briefing: Brookins confirmed as Alexium CEO; palmitic acid, stearic acid on U.S. tariff list

Ben Welter - Monday, July 16, 2018

Dr. Robert BrookinsAlexium International has appointed Dr. Robert Brookins, right, as chief executive officer and managing director of the company. Brookins, formerly executive vice president of research and development, was appointed interim CEO in May, replacing Dirk Van Hyning, who resigned for personal reasons. Alexium, based in Greer, S.C., and Perth, Australia, makes flame-retardant and PCM-enhanced fabric treatments.

Palmitic acid, stearic acid and their salts and esters are on a list of more than 6,000 items on which the United States may impose additional import tariffs in its escalating trade war with China.

Two top executives at Wilmar International have stepped down after Greenpeace published a report linking the world's largest palm oil trading company to a supplier accused of deforestation.

Active Energy Systems, a clean-tech startup in Tennessee, is developing an electro-thermal energy storage system that will use waste heat generated by data centers, industrial complexes, institutions and power plants to store and distribute energy more efficiently and cheaply than systems using conventional batteries. "Using power from the grid at off-peak times," Venture Nashville Connections reports, "the process transforms water into ice -- spraying it through an oil layer, which allows the water to freeze but not stick to a submerged heat exchanger. Instead, it forms pellets resembling Dippin' Dots ice cream, [co-founder Mitch] Ishmael said. Then the cycle operates in reverse, using waste heat to melt the ice and generate electricity back to the grid."

• New from Research Mentor:" Global Phase Change Material (PCM) Market will be Worth USD 770.1 Million by 2023"

• New from Questale: "Global Eutectic Phase Change Material Market Research Report 2018"

• "What are some new trends in solar energy research and development in 2018?" a Quora member asked recently. Three answers were posted. The one provided by Yogi Goswami, director of the University of South Florida's Clean Energy Research Center, got more than 120 "upvotes" and was picked up by Forbes magazine. Goswami discussed the strengths and weaknesses of two competing technologies: photovoltaics and concentrating solar power. He expressed confidence that CSP will eventually become commercially competitive because it has two big advantages over PV: "It uses the same thermal power conversion as the conventional thermal power (fossil fuel or nuclear based) and can therefore be integrated with the existing power infra-structure easily" and it "uses thermal energy storage which is about one-tenth the cost of battery storage."

Research roundup: Novel graphite-PCM composite sphere; sunlight-driven energy conversion; PCM-rich concrete overlay; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, July 10, 2018

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

A Novel Graphite-PCM Composite Sphere With Enhanced Thermo-Physical Properties
Fatty acids based eutectic phase change system for thermal energy storage applications

From Applied Energy:

Mathematical modeling and sensitivity analysis of solar photovoltaic panel integrated with phase change material
Compact liquid cooling strategy with phase change materials for Li-ion batteries optimized using response surface methodology
Multi-parameter optimization design of thermoelectric harvester based on phase change material for space generation

From Solar Energy:

Experimental study on the performance of a novel solar water heating system with and without PCM
Latent thermal energy storage for solar process heat applications at medium-high temperatures – A review
Carbon based material included-shaped stabilized phase change materials for sunlight-driven energy conversion and storage: An extensive review

From Construction and Building Materials:

Application of a PCM-rich concrete overlay to control thermal induced curling stresses in concrete pavements

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Energy investigation of glazed windows containing Nano-PCM in different seasons
Transforming a passive house into a net-zero energy house: a case study in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.

Research roundup: Humidity control material; solar water heaters; nanomaterials; flow-through wall elements; more

Ben Welter - Monday, July 09, 2018

From Energy and Buildings:

A Review on Enhancement of Phase Change Materials - A Nanomaterials Perspective
Phase change humidity control material and its impact on building energy consumption

From Solar Energy:

Optimization of melting and solidification processes of PCM: Application to integrated collector storage solar water heaters

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Experimental Investigation on the Heat Transfer Enhancement in a Novel Latent Heat Thermal Storage Equipment
Recent advancements on thermal management and evaluation for data centers
Heat Transfer Characteristics of an Expanded Graphite/Paraffin PCM-Heat Exchanger used in an Instantaneous Heat Pump Water Heater

From Thermal Science and Engineering Progress:

Numerical simulation of the melting of a NePCM due to a heated thin plate with different positions in a square enclosure

From Journal of Building Engineering:

Numerical study of flow-through wall elements with phase–change materials

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Exploratory investigation of a new thermal energy storage system with different phase change materials having distinct melting temperatures

From Renewable Energy:

Optimization assessment of the energy performance of a BIPV/T-PCM system using Genetic Algorithms

From Sustainable Cities and Society:

Coupled cooling method and application of latent heat thermal energy storage combined with pre-cooling of envelope: Temperature control using phase-change chair

Patent application: Extinguisher for a smoking article

Ben Welter - Monday, July 09, 2018

Philip Morris patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20180184707 (applicant Philip Morris Products SA, Neuchâtel, Switzerland):

"A portable extinguisher for extinguishing a single smoking article [S] at a time, the extinguisher comprising: a reservoir; a chamber sized to receive at least part of a single smoking article; and an opening to receive at least part of the smoking article into the chamber; wherein the reservoir and the chamber are thermally coupled and wherein the chamber is isolated from the reservoir such that there is no fluid communication between the chamber and the reservoir, and wherein the reservoir contains a phase change material arranged such that, in use, heat energy from a smoking article received in the chamber is absorbed by a phase transition of the phase change material."

Patent application: Maintaining a solar power module

Ben Welter - Monday, July 09, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180191295 (applicant Saudi Arabian Oil Co., Dhahran, Saudi Arabia):

"A solar power system includes a plurality of solar power cells mounted on an outer surface of a spherical frame, the spherical frame including an inner surface that defines an interior volume; a heat sink that includes a hollow housing mounted within the interior volume of the spherical frame; and a phase change material positioned in the hollow housing of the heat sink, the phase change material thermally coupled to the inner surface of the spherical frame to receive heat from the outer surface of the spherical frame."

Patent application: Treatment systems with fluid mixing systems and fluid-cooled applicators

Ben Welter - Monday, July 09, 2018

Zeltiq Aesthetics patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180185189 (applicant Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc., Pleasanton, Calif.):

"A treatment system for cooling subcutaneous lipid-rich cells [200] in a human subject includes an applicator [410] and a control unit. The treatment system has a cooling mode for cooling tissue and a heating mode for warming tissue. The control unit includes a circulation circuit in fluid communication with the applicator, a chiller apparatus configured to chill fluid from the applicator circulation circuit, and a heater apparatus to warmed fluid from the applicator circulation circuit. ... The chilled reservoir can hold coolant (referred to as 'chilled coolant') at a relatively low temperature and the chiller fluidic circuit can include, without limitation, a refrigeration unit, a cooling tower, a thermoelectric chiller, a cartridge of phase change material, or any other device capable of removing heat from coolant."

Patent application: Use of a composite material for heat management

Ben Welter - Monday, July 09, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180187977 (applicant SGL Carbon SE, Wiesbaden, Germany):

"The use of a composite material for heat management in the electrical and/or electronic area, in particular in a car. A grid-like structure filled with a phase change material (PCM), and to a composite material that includes a grid-like structure filled with PCM. The filled grid-like structure being present on a cover layer or between two cover layers."

PCM briefing: New EU energy standard takes effect; new research on inorganic phase change material

Ben Welter - Monday, July 09, 2018

• The new version of the European Union's Energy Performance of Buildings Directive takes effect July 9. The directive is the EU's main legislative instrument designed to promote improved energy performance of buildings. Member states will have 20 months to transpose the new elements into national law.

• A proposal to use microencapsulated phase change material to help motor vehicles run smoothly in extreme cold has won the ClimateLaunchpad competition in Azerbaijan. A team of chemical engineering students from Baku Higher Oil School developed the concept. The team will represent Azerbaijan at the ClimateLaunchpad finals in Scotland Nov. 1-2, 2018.

• New from Research Reports: "2018 Global Inorganic PCMs Industry Report – History, Present and Future"

Solar-powered concept camper uses PCM to keep passengers comfortable

Ben Welter - Monday, July 02, 2018

Dethleffs' e.home concept camperDethleffs GmbH & Co.'s solar-powered concept camper, introduced last year, is one of four winners in the transportation category of the German Innovation Award 2018. The "e.home" features 334 square feet of thin solar panels and a heating system that uses phase change materials to absorb heat when the outside temperature rises above 79° F. Fully equipped, its driving range on a full charge is just over 100 miles.

Christoph Gawalleck, technical director at Dethleffs, oversaw the two-year development of the e-home. He answered a few question via email:

Q: Describe the phase change material used in the vehicle.

A: “The PCM is Micronal from BASF. But BASF sold this business unit to Microtek Laboratories in May 2017. It is a paraffin. The melting point is 26°C, the solidification takes place at 23° C.”

Cross section of PCM panel used in Dethleffs e.homeQ: How is the PCM contained?

A: “The PCM is in aluminum plates that are shaped like corrugated cardboard [right]. So the heat can be passed very quickly to the PCM. The plate contains 4 kilograms of Micronal per square meter.”

Q: How much PCM is used in the camper?

A: “Approximately 35 kilograms.”

Q: Have you collected data on how well the PCM manages temperatures in the camper? Has it met expectations?

A: “The vehicle was at many shows last year, so the tests are still running at the moment.”

Q: What was the development team's great challenge?

A: “The biggest challenge was to get access to the battery capacity of the vehicle in addition to the solar cells.”

Q: Are there plans to commercialize the e.home camper?

A: “The vehicle was meant to present our ideas to customers and match them with their wishes. Of course, various individual elements, such as connectivity, will be incorporated into production vehicles.”

Q: Are there plans to use PCM technology in other Dethleffs campers?

A: “This is not known until the tests have been completed.”