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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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Patent application: Heat recovery system incorporating PCMs

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 24, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150047579:

"A heat recovery system arranged to heat water includes at least one heat exchanger arranged to heat water by heat exchange with waste heat. ... A preferred type of heat storage unit for this aspect of the invention are those containing phase change materials in order to access the latent heat associated with phase change."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150047579.pdf

Research roundup: Multiphase ultra-low-grade TES; CCHP case study; building energy system optimization; nanoencapsulation

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 24, 2015

  • Multiphase ultra-low-grade thermal energy storage for organic Rankine cycle [International Journal of Energy Research]

  • Hourly operation strategy of a CCHP system with GSHP and thermal energy storage (TES) under variable loads: A case study [Energy and Buildings]

  • A comparison of thermal energy storage models for building energy system optimization [Energy and Buildings]

  • Review on nanoencapsulated phase change materials: Preparation, characterization and heat transfer enhancement [Nano Energy]

  • Universities to develop joint Ph.D. program on thermal energy storage

    Ben Welter - Monday, February 23, 2015

    Ben-Gurion University of the Negev has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 program to create a network of universities and research institutes to implement a joint Ph.D. program on thermal energy storage. Partners include Trinity College Dublin, Technical University of Eindhoven, University of Ghent, Warsaw University of Technology, Abengoa Research and KIC InnoEnergy. The program will focus on these technologies:

  • High-temperature thermal energy storage
  • Short-term storage technologies for load management
  • Seasonal storage technologies and storage

  • http://horizon2020projects.com/sc-energy/multinational-energy-phd-scheme-funded/

    Research roundup: Conventional chiller system; TES at 575° C and above; vermiculite-perlite composites; more

    Ben Welter - Monday, February 23, 2015

  • A comparison of the field performance of thermal energy storage (TES) and conventional chiller systems [Energy]

  • Experimental and numerical investigation of combined sensible–latent heat for thermal energy storage at 575° C and above [Solar Energy]

  • Experimental investigation of the specific heat of a nitrate–alumina nanofluid for solar thermal energy storage systems [International Journal of Thermal Sciences]

  • Preparation of energy efficient paraffinic PCMs/expanded vermiculite and perlite composites for energy saving in buildings [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

  • Electrospun fibers based on polyvinyl pyrrolidone/Eu-polyethylene glycol as phase change luminescence materials [Materials Letters]

  • The Potential of Phase Change Materials to Reduce Domestic Cooling Energy Loads for Current and Future UK Climates [Energy and Buildings]

  • Parametric Investigations of Using a PCM Curtain for Energy Efficient Buildings [Energy and Buildings]

  • Effect of Silver Nanoparticles on the Thermal Properties of Sodium Acetate Trihydrate [International Journal of Thermophysics]

  • 3 Illinois Tech undergrads to work on hybrid thermal battery system

    Ben Welter - Friday, February 20, 2015

    Nineteen undergrads at the Illinois Institute of Technology have been accepted into the school's Armour R&D Program this spring. The program offers engineering students a chance to gain research and development experience.

    Three of the students – Hanyue Li, Yifan Li and Shihan Tian – will work on a hybrid battery thermal management system using phase change materials and natural air-cooling. They will be mentored by Francisco Ruiz, an associate professor in the school's Armour College of Engineering.

    http://www.iit.edu/news/iittoday/?p=41054

    Microencapsulation market expected to reach $8.73 billion by 2020

    Ben Welter - Friday, February 20, 2015

    The global microencapsulation market is expected to reach $8.73 billion by 2020, according to the latest Grand View Research report. That's a compound annual growth rate of nearly 11 percent between 2014 and 2020. Growing demand for phase change materials in HVAC and construction applications is seen as fueling some of the growth in the microencapsulation market.

    http://www.grandviewresearch.com/industry-analysis/microencapsulation-market

    Research roundup: Titanium-induced structure modification; latent heat storage walls; PCM in coil heat exchanger

    Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 18, 2015

  • Titanium-induced Structure Modification for Thermal Stability Enhancement of GeTeTi Phase Change Material [RSC Advances]

  • Thermal Performance of Latent Heat Storage Walls In Residential Buildings [BEST Conference Building Enclosure Science & Technology]

  • Thermal Performance of Microencapsulated Phase Change Material Slurry in a Coil Heat Exchanger [Journal of Heat Transfer]
  • Exergy founder on PC heat generation: 'We can put this in every house in the U.S.'

    Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 18, 2015

    Henry, Project Exergy prototype computerIn an interview with Public Radio International, Project Exergy founder Lawrence Orsini talks about his vision of harnessing the heat generated by computers.

    Henry, the project's liquid-cooled, high-performance prototype, generates far more heat than a typical computer. It's made from off-the-shelf parts and is slight bigger than a tower PC. The main difference: It's paired with a small thermal storage tank filled with phase change material. The tank can hold a temperature of 93º Celsius.

    “We can put this [technology] in every house in the U.S.," Orsini says. "In fact, if we did that and we distributed the two to three percent of energy that is being used in data centers, some of our rough calculations say we can probably heat nearly 80 million houses."

    http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-02-18/someday-we-may-be-heating-homes-and-businesses-personal-computers

    New hybrid approaches aim to boost the economics of energy storage

    Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 18, 2015

    Greentech Media reports that interest is growing in hybrid approaches to energy storage. European companies such as Bosch and Younicos are working on projects that combine different battery technologies in a single system. Others are combining entirely different technologies, including phase change material. One example: 

    "Fraunhofer ISE says it has successfully tested a hybrid system that combines thousands of batteries and heat storage systems into a virtual storage system. The agent-based operation system has been developed and tested within the institute’s SmartEnergyLab facility.

    "There, agent-based controllers manage a co-generation plant that also includes water storage, a heat pump with phase-change storage, and a lithium-ion battery system."

    http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/how-hybridization-can-boost-the-economics-of-energy-storage

    Navy seeks bids for 'solid type' thermal storage system in Monterey

    Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 18, 2015

    The Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, Calif., is seeking bids on a thermal storage system for its Turbo Propulsion Laboratory.

    "As part of the ONR funded ESTEP (Energy Systems Technology Evaluation Program) a heating system with thermal storage is being set up. The ESTEP program is designed to implement technologies that have the capability of reducing Navy and wider DoD facilities energy costs.

    "The system is designed to match demand with available renewable supply and store the excess heating in a thermal storage system for use later. The technology that will be investigated uses solid inert materials rather than liquids as they are potentially simpler to use.

    "The system forms an integral part of the Naval Postgraduate School’s energy curriculum. It is being used as a thesis project and will also be used in a planned renewable energy course within the [Mechanical and Astronautical Engineering Department] department."

    https://www.neco.navy.mil/synopsis/detail.aspx?id=422272