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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: Viking Cold Solutions taps Constellation funding; energy sector veteran to lead Sunamp growth plans

Ben Welter - Monday, February 11, 2019

• Researchers at the University of Alabama have won a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a thermally activated building envelope system that integrates non-combustible phase change materials and hydronic activation into building envelopes. The goal is to reduce the energy costs as well as to support renewable energy sources for "power grid reliability, quality, resilience and dispatchability." It's one of 19 projects that will share up to $19.5 million in DOE grants for early-stage research and development for advanced building technologies and systems.

Viking Cold Solutions warehouse installationViking Cold Solutions of Houston, Texas, has reached an agreement with Constellation to offer Viking's commercial and industrial refrigeration customers access to the energy retailer's Efficiency Made Easy program. The program helps businesses implement energy conservation measures with no upfront capital costs. The upgrades are included in the monthly charges that appear on a customer's Constellation utility bill. Viking's PCM-based thermal energy storage systems, such as the one shown at right, are designed to reduce energy costs by shifting peak demand to nighttime hours.

• Registration is open for the 2019 Energy Storage Association Conference set for April 16-19 in Phoenix, Ariz. Exhibitors include battery thermal management startup Hotstart Inc. and Hydrostor, a Canadian company that offers "utility-scale energy storage facilities that can be flexibly sited using its Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) technology."

• The deadline for submitting presentations for the Advancements in Thermal Management conference is Feb. 15. Topics include emerging technologies for thermal management; market opportunities for thermal products and services; thermal materials; and thermal modeling characterization and measurement. The conference will be held Aug. 7-8 in Denver, Colo.

Sunamp Ltd. has appointed energy sector veteran Bill Edrich as global head of commercial and industrial to lead the thermal energy storage company's growth plans.  

Ice Bear 30Ice Energy says it has completed the first phase of what will be the largest installation of its Ice Bear thermal storage systems in the United States. Under a 21.6-megawatt energy storage contract with Southern California Edison, about 100 Ice Bear systems have been installed at businesses across SCE’s territory. The two-year project calls for the deployment of more than 1,200 Ice Bears.

• Nominations are being sought for the World Materials Forum's 2019 Start Up Challenge. The competition honors "demonstrated breakthroughs" in a handful of categories, including new material composition and new product design. The top prize is 50,000 euros. The application deadline is Feb. 28.

• A group of businesses and environmental leaders have jointly launched the Plant Based Products Council, a group working to "guide the global economy toward more sustainable and responsible consumer products and packaging through greater use of plant-based materials." The group's website, pbpc.com, features a database of more than 480 plant-based and biobased products now on the market. 

Pelican BioThermal has opened a new network station and service center in Los Angeles to service, refurbish, repair and condition the company’s reusable Credo on Demand temperature-controlled shippers.

Tim RiazziTim Riazzi, right, president at Microtek Laboratories of Dayton, Ohio, has been elected vice president of the Phase Change Materials Industry Association of North America. He succeeds Pete Horwath, CEO at Insolcorp, who was elected president of the association in December.

• The CAVU Group of Dayton, Ohio, has posted an opening for a chemical engineer, "responsible for designing new process plants/equipment, work cells or modifying existing ones."

• Registration is open for the 11th Microencapsulation Training School, to be held April 9-12 in Loughborough, United Kingdom. Topics include spray drying/cooling, dripping technology, membrane emulsification and microencapsulation in microfluidic systems. The training is hosted by Loughborough University's chemical engineering department. The deadline for early registration, with fees ranging from 450 to 1,000 euros, is Feb. 28.

• Registration is open for the 3rd Sustainable Oils & Fats International conference to be held April 4-5 in Paris.

• The presentations given Jan. 24 at the Workshop on Energy Efficient Buildings & Thermal Energy Storage Systems at the University of Nottingham are available for download. Among the highlights: "PCM Products R&D overview" (Adam Dicken), "Enhanced geothermal borehole heat exchangers with PCMs" (Heiko Gaich and Amandio Rebola) and "Phase change materials for renewable heating and cooling" (Sam Gledhill). 

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