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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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PCMs enlisted in fight against Ebola

Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cooling garments powered by phase change material are among the innovations advancing in the U.S. Agency for International Development's "Fighting Ebola: a Grand Challenge for Development."

The program, begun in October, is focused on finding innovative ways to help health care workers contain the Ebola virus and provide better care for people who contract it. More than 1,500 ideas from around the world have been submitted to the program.    

The first round of awards focuses on improving the safety and comfort of the personal protective equipment worn by health care workers in the heat and humidity of West Africa. 

USAID is partnering with the Global Good Fund/Intellectual Ventures to rapidly evaluate several cooling solutions, including off-the-shelf, rapidly deployable cooling garments now used by military. These garments can be worn under personal protective equipment. 

Other ideas winning support:


http://www.ebolagrandchallenge.net/news/2014/12/12/united-states-announces-results-of-grand-challenge-to-fight-ebola

Western Refrigeration using PCMs in coolers, freezers

Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

In countries like India, where power failures are commonplace, refrigerators and freezers need backup. Western Refrigeration and other manufacturers are incorporating phase change material in their coolers and freezers to keep food cold during outages -- and help the appliances operate more efficiently. 

http://www.process-worldwide.com/engineering_construction/operational_excellence/operational_excellence/articles/470050

Global demand for PCMs projected to hit $1.47 billion by 2019

Ben Welter - Monday, December 15, 2014

The global demand for advanced phase change materials is expected to reach $1.47 billion by 2019. The latest research report on the industry by Markets and Markets attributes the growth to increasing demand for advanced PCM in several areas, including thermal energy storage, building/construction, HVAC, cold chain, shipping, packaging/transportation, textiles and electronics.

The main types of advanced PCMs are salt hydrates, paraffins and biobased compounds. "Biobased PCM is estimated to have the highest CAGR from 2014 to 2019," the report said. "Prices of biobased PCM are also likely to fall significantly during the same period."

http://www.marketsandmarkets.com/Market-Reports/advanced-phase-change-material-pcm-market-1087.html

Seattle building wins ASHRAE technology award

Ben Welter - Monday, December 15, 2014

Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District headquarters

A three-story Seattle office building is one of nine projects recognized for innovative design with an ASHRAE Technology Award. Federal Center South, home to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Seattle District, received first place in the new commercial buildings category.

Among the innovative energy conservation technologies incorporated in the 209,000-square-foot building are thermal energy storage using phase change material and "a 100% outside air ventilation system with heat recovery of exhaust serving a raised floor ventilation air distribution system." 

The projected annual energy cost for the building was modeled at $80,740, compared to ASHRAE's baseline of $135,791.

http://www.esmagazine.com/articles/96914-ashrae-announces-technology-award-winners

Research roundup: Synthesized polymeric solid-solid PCMs, corrosion of metal containers and more

Ben Welter - Friday, December 12, 2014

PCMs, the gift that keeps on giving

Ben Welter - Thursday, December 11, 2014

Phase change materials are appearing in more consumer goods every year. In the spirit of the season, we'll share links to PCM-themed gift ideas over the next few weeks.

  • Fohm Inc.'s Silhouette Pillow, "a pillow that stays cool all night long," uses phase change material in two ways: PCMs are embedded in the memory foam and in one side of the liner. 


  • Kjus Hawk ski jacket
  • Thanks to PCMs, the Kjus Hawk ski jacket "absorbs heat when you have plenty of it, and re-releases it when you need more." Assuming you have $1,200 to spare. 


  • Oppo's R5 smartphone, aimed at consumers in China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Australia, uses phase change material to "keep it at a constant cool temperature" and maintain functionality. With a width of 4.85 mm, it is advertised as the world's thinnest phone.


  • Designed by Science Photo Library, these greeting cards feature scanning electron microscope images of PCM-laden microcapsules embedded in fabric. 

  • Surface water TES system honored

    Ben Welter - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

    IF Technology of the Netherlands has received a Sustainable Urban Delta Award for its innovative thermal energy storage system for a residential complex in Wageningen. The system takes advantage of temperature differences in surface water near the complex. In summer, for example, warm water is stored in an aquifer thermal storage system that helps heat the complex in winter. Overall, the system is said to be 25 percent more efficient than a conventional seasonal TES system.

    The Delta Award recognizes Dutch companies that offer innovative solutions to the climate-change challenges faced by cities in low-lying, densely populated coastal areas with large river estuaries.

    http://www.dutchwatersector.com/news-events/news/12539-if-technology-and-deltasync-win-first-sustainable-urban-delta-awards-2014.html

    Trend toward smart textiles is driving growth in microencapsulated PCMs

    Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 09, 2014

    The latest Frost & Sullivan research on the global market for microencapsulated phase change materials in textiles and mattresses is out. F&S reports that the industry earned revenues of $45.1 million in 2013 and projects that number will reach $99 million in 2018.

    The report covers fibers, yarns, fabrics, foams and gels that incorporate microencapsulated PCMs. F&S says the trend toward smart textiles that comfortably regulate temperature is driving the use of microencapsulated PCMs in clothing and mattresses.  

    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/enhanced-comfort-offered-by-microencapsulated-phase-change-materials-drives-use-in-textiles-and-mattresses-300005869.html

    Research roundup: Graphene aerogel, polyaniline-based polymer shells, smart composites and more

    Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 09, 2014

    A chilling effect on hot flashes

    Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 09, 2014

    CoolCami camisoleIs there any temperature-regulation problem that phase change material can't solve? CoolCami, a form-fitting camisole, is designed to reduce the discomfort of hot flashes. A cooling liner made from PCMs absorbs the heat generated by a woman's body when a hot flash kicks in. 

    The CoolCami company also sells CoolMeMat, designed to provide relief for people who suffer from night sweats. The liners for both products recharge in about an hour at room temperature and provide relief for up to four hours. 

    http://www.24-7pressrelease.com/press-release/coolcami-launches-first-wearable-product-for-hot-flashes-398170.php