Makers of phase change materials will gather in Florida Dec. 4 to discuss the possibility of forming a North American PCM manufacturers association.
The discussion, led by Dr. Jan Kosny of the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems, will take place at the end of an all-day workshop on thermal mass. The workshop is part of the Buildings XIII Conference at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Clearwater Beach, Fla.
PCMs have been a focus of the workshop since it was first held in 2001.
"Most of U.S. PCM manufacturers and companies producing PCM products for buildings participated in this workshop at least once," said Kosny, who leads building enclosure research at Fraunhofer CSE. "At some point we had a discussion about a creation of the PCM manufacturers’ association. Since this topic has been hanging in the air for at least a decade, this year I decided that it will be good to learn how much support there will be for this idea and who will be supporting this initiative. As usual, I am sending invitations to all major PCM companies in the U.S. and major U.S. building material manufacturers."
What are the greatest challenges facing North America’s PCM industry?
"The answer is application specific," Kosny explained. "PCM products are used by many different industries. However, the major problems which I would identify are: (i) high cost); (ii) flammability; (iii) long-term performance; (iv) durable packaging; (v) lack of material standards; (vi) lack of uniform performance criteria for PCM products used by specific industries, etc."
Entropy Solutions, Phase Change Energy Solutions, Applied Innovation Group and Cool Composites are among the companies planning to attend the workshop. Representatives of the U.S. General Services Administration, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lodz University of Technology, Colorado School of Mines, Microtek Laboratories, Fraunhofer CSE and the Department of Energy's Building Technologies Office will give presentations on microencapsulation, macroencapsulation, performance modeling, testing methods, durability issues and more.
"The attendees of this conference include the 'PCM who’s who' in academics, government and industry," said Dr. William R. Sutterlin, Entropy Solutions' chief science officer. "It will help shape the future of PCMs in buildings, modeling of PCM behavior, new developments and PCM testing methods."
The registration fee for the full conference, Dec. 4-8, is $695. One-day attendance is $295 and the cost for the workshop is $100. Registration deadline is Nov. 23.