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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: Maryland launches energy storage tax credit; Viessmann system wins German innovation prize

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 27, 2018

• A business opportunity at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash: "Acquisition of a thermal energy ice storage system (TESS) that will be integrated with an existing chilled water distribution loop serving one building." Bids are due March 8.

Stefan Braun, SmartCAE managing director• In a pair of LinkedIn articles, SmartCAE's Stefan Braun shares his company's approach to preparing PCM bricks for cold-chain shipments. "Our recommendation is to precondition PCMs outside the phase change range," he writes. "This way, the PCM bricks are always in a well-defined state, providing their full latent heat rather than some undefined fraction. A repeatable, well-defined preconditioning process is a prerequisite for a robust box design."

• The Maryland Energy Administration is accepting applications for its new Energy Storage Tax Credit Program, which offers up to $750,000 to residential and commercial customers who install qualified systems. "The rules specify that projects can store electrical energy: mechanical and chemical including electrochemical energy, in addition to thermal energy that 'was once electrical energy,' " Utility Dive reports. "The rules also say all storage systems must store energy either for use as electrical energy at a later date or in a process that offsets electricity use at peak times.‚Äč"

Viessmann’s ESyCool Green propane-based heat pump refrigeration system has been awarded the government-backed German Innovation Prize for Climate and Environment. The system includes an ice thermal storage component.

Phase Change Energy Solutions CEO joins Conservation Solutions of Boston

Ben Welter - Sunday, February 25, 2018

Joseph A. Grzyb, CEO at Phase Change Energy Solutions since 2015, has left PCES to join Dan Cook as a partner at Conservation Solutions Corp.

Joseph A. GrzybBoston-based CSC provides corporate customers with energy and water conservation solutions, including PCM products from Phase Change Energy Solutions of Asheboro, N.C.

"CSC has been a leading distributor of products from Phase Change Energy Solutions for several years," Grzyb, right, wrote in an e-mail sent late Friday to companies involved in the recent formation of the PCM Industry Association of North America. "My focus at the firm is to expand the business and provide engineered PCM solutions to companies across North America."

Gryzb was elected president of the PCM association in October. The association's mission is to promote the development and use of phase change material in North America.  

"I would be pleased to continue in the role of president until our next association meeting later this year (date TBD)," he wrote in Friday's email. "I propose that during our next meeting, we have a new vote for association president."

Jan Kosny, the association's executive director, expressed confidence that association work will continue "without any disturbance," since Grzyb plans to serve as president until the next annual meeting. 

Research roundup: Thermal performance of PCM wallboards; baby incubator; characterization of desert sand; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 22, 2018

• An Innovative Apparatus for Simulating Daily Temperature for Investigating Thermal Performance of Wallboards Incorporating PCMs [Energy and Buildings]

Application of Combined Materials for Baby Incubator [Procedia Manufacturing]

Characterization of desert sand to be used as a high-temperature thermal energy storage medium in particle solar receiver technology [Applied Energy]

Use of partial load operating conditions for latent thermal energy storage management [Applied Energy]

Melting phenomenon in a finned thermal storage system with graphene nano-plates for medium temperature applications [Energy Conversion and Management]

Ca(NO3)2-NaNO3/expanded graphite composite as a novel shape-stable phase change material for mid- to high-temperature thermal energy storage [Energy Conversion and Management]

Cumulative energy demand and global warming potential of a building-integrated solar thermal system with/without phase change material [Journal of Environmental Management]

Patent application: Battery pack containing phase change material

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 22, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180053977 (University of Sherbrooke Research Consortium, Sherbrooke, Quebec):

"A battery pack for a vehicle is presented. The battery pack comprises a plurality of bricks, each brick of the plurality of bricks comprising a phase change material block, a side of the phase change material block defining a plurality of channels, and a plurality of battery cells, each battery cell being disposed at least in part in the phase change material block; and at least one connector for electrically connecting a first one of the plurality of bricks to a second one of the plurality of bricks, the at least one connector being disposed at least partially in one of the plurality of channels."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180053977.pdf

Patent application: Thermal composite material and compression sheet

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 22, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180049914 (applicant PolyPhysics Inc., Hampton, Va.):

PolyPhysics patent drawing"A temperature-controlled, compression sheet for use in hot or cold therapy applications, the sheet comprising: a composite sheet comprising a temperature control component and an elastic structural component; the temperature control component comprises a phase change material [13] having a predetermined, therapeutic, specific temperature of phase change from solid to liquid forms in the range of from about 32 degrees F. to about 122 degrees F.; and the elastic structural component is comprised of a material having elastomeric properties."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180049914.pdf

Research roundup: Enhanced bulk-organic PCMs; cementitious composites; business clothing incorporating PCMs; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 21, 2018

New formulation and characterization of enhanced bulk-organic phase change materials [Energy and Buildings]

Numerical analysis of the freeze-thaw performance of cementitious composites that contain phase change material (PCM) [Materials & Design]

Thermal Properties of Lauric Acid Filled in Carbon Nanotubes as Shape-stabilized Phase Change Materials [Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics]

Thermo-physiological comfort of business clothing incorporating phase change materials in a cold environment [International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology]

Phase change material thermal energy storage for a large scale ammonia chiller/heat pump system [International Institute of Refrigeration]

Case Study of Load Shifting Using Thermal Energy Ice Storage in Public Facilities [Journal of Facility Management]

Microencapsulated phase change materials with composite titania-polyurea (TiO2-PUA) shell [Applied Energy]

Numerical study on the effects of fins and nanoparticles in a shell and tube phase change thermal energy storage unit [Applied Energy]

Patent application: Heat reflective coating

Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 21, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180044775 (applicant General Cable Technologies Corp., Highland Heights, Ky.):

"Cables including a heat-reflective layer are disclosed. The heat-reflective layer includes a polymeric layer and metal particles. The metal particles are on or near the exposed surface of the heat-reflective layer. Methods of making a heat-reflective layer and cables including a heat-reflective layer rare also disclosed. ... [In] certain embodiments, a metallized polymeric layer can further include a thermoregulatory material through inclusion of a phase change material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180044775.pdf

Patent application: Heated cleaning articles

Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Clorox patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180042441 (applicant Clorox Co., Oakland, Calif.)

"Cleaning articles including a heat engine incorporated therein. The cleaning article may include a substrate (e.g., a non-woven wipe) including one or more layers. The heat engine may be in the wipe or pad, and includes a reactive metal composition which upon contact with a salt water (e.g., saline) composition, reacts to produce heat. The cleaning article may thus produce water vapor and/or steam upon activation of the heat engine. ... Any of the selectively heatable cleaning articles may include a phase change material on or within the article that may aid in regulating the temperature achieved by the cleaning article."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180042441.pdf

Patent application: Thermal management system

Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 21, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180045432 (applicant Rolls-Royce Corp., Indianapolis, Ind.):

"A thermal management system includes a closed dynamic cooling circuit, and a closed first steady-state cooling circuit. Each circuit has its own compressor, heat rejection exchanger, and expansion device. A thermal energy storage (TES) system is configured to receive a dynamic load and thermally couple the dynamic cooling circuit and the first steady-state cooling circuit. ... TES is a heat exchanger that includes a TES material such as wax or other material that can store energy, including via a phase change material which, as known in the art, stores and releases energy at a phase change temperature while changing phase from, for instance, a liquid to a solid."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180045432.pdf

PCM briefing: Axiom lowers energy costs at Whole Foods store; EnergyNest has opening for senior engineer

Ben Welter - Monday, February 19, 2018

• Nearly a year ago, a Whole Foods in Los Altos, Calif., connected a thermal battery system made by Axiom Exergy to the store's refrigeration system. Whole Foods pays Axiom a monthly fee for the saltwater-based technology. Axiom says that payment, coupled with a lower monthly power bill, amounts to less than what the grocer was paying its utility before the batteries were installed. 

• Thermal battery maker EnergyNest AS of Norway is looking to hire a senior engineer to work in its main office outside Oslo.  

• The schedule has been posted for the 2018 GlobalChem Conference & Exhibition in Washington, D.C., Feb. 28-March 2. Most of the sessions focus on the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Global Harmonized System of Classification and other regulatory topics. 

Applications are being accepted for the Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Fields Grant Program (WAMS). The program supports research and extension projects that will increase participation by rural women and underrepresented minorities from rural areas in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

• CONTISOL, a solar reactor that can run day or night, is being tested by researchers in Germany. The reactor uses concentrated solar power and thermal energy storage.

Registration is still open for the second annual European Chemistry Partnering event, to be held Feb. 23 in Frankfurt, Germany. It's a chance to pitch innovations and connect with investors and decision-makers in the chemical industry.

• U.K.-based Sure Chill Co., whose water-based refrigeration technology is used to keep vaccines cool without the need for grid-based electricity, has been shortlisted for a 2018 St. David Award in Innovation, Science and Technology. 

• The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has voted to clear a path for energy storage projects in the capacity, energy and ancillary services markets. Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur noted that newer technologies “like some of the batteries, flywheels, compressed air, new forms of thermal storage, are rapidly gaining commercial viability and scale.”