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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: Cables made of phase change material

Ben Welter - Monday, February 20, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170045301 (applicant E.I. Du Pont De Nemours and Co., Wilmington, Del.):

"Disclosed is a cable comprising a core and a PCM layer surrounding the core wherein the PCM layer consists of a PCM composition wherein the PCM composition comprises a PCM and an ethylene copolymer; and the core consists of a yarn, strand, or wire each made of a natural or synthetic polymeric material or a metal. The invention is useful for thermal management in a variety of applications in such as, for example, automotive, building, packaging, garments, and footwear."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170045301.pdf

Technically speaking, PCM-infused lingerie line radiates an air of mystery

Ben Welter - Monday, February 13, 2017

Giapenta's beautiful new line of PCM-infused lingerie features soft, breathable mesh, delicate appliques and natural, moisture-wicking fabrics. As far as technical details, though, the brand’s founder is leaving much to the imagination.

Giapenta modelThe Florida startup, which launched a Kickstarter campaign last month to cover costs of its first production run, says the TempPro fabric used in the lingerie “proactively” pulls heat away to cool the body. Giapenta’s message to consumers:

“Just as you start to get warm, the phase changing materials in the fabric actively pull heat away from your body. Overheating and sweating are reduced. If you do start to get cold, stored heat is released back to you, when you need it the most.”

The company was founded by Kris Strouthopoulos, who managed Sleep Number mattress and bedding stores for 10 years. That’s where she became familiar with temperature-regulating fabrics and materials.

“Women especially would always come up to me to tell me how amazing and life changing the fabric was for them,” she said. “I always thought that if they were getting such an amazing benefit from this technology all night long, why not get the same effects during the day from their undergarments? So that is how we initially got into the lingerie industry and built a team dedicated to infusing technology and smart design solutions into garments to help improve the lives of others.”

TempPro fabric illustrationShe and her sister, Marketing VP Elena Strouthopoulos, have been working on the brand for two years. The Kickstarter campaign met its modest target of raising $25,000 in just one day, putting the company on a path to complete the production run in Canada by April and ship the first orders in May.

I contacted Kris Strouthopoulos to learn more about the TempPro fabric, which the company says is used throughout the line. What type of phase change material is used? What is its melt point? How is it encapsulated? She politely declined to answer any questions of a technical nature, saying such information is proprietary. Fair enough. We'll leave that to your imagination.

PCM briefing: New denim features phase change material; Sasol 'back on the expansion trail'

Ben Welter - Monday, February 06, 2017

• Thinking about attending BiobasedWorld 2017 in Cologne, Germany, this month? Sorry, the trade show was canceled a few months ago due to the industry's "challenging economic environment." A related show is on the horizon: Bio-Based Live Europe in Amsterdam, May 31-June 1. The focus will be on "Process Innovation and Technology" and "Sustainable Products." Speakers include Freek Snieders, managing director, Croda International; and Jean Luc Dubois, scientific director, Arkema.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory takes a look at how University of Michigan researchers used a Cray XK7 Titan supercomputer to study melting in two-dimensional systems. Deeper understanding of the process, Oak Ridge says, "could yield insights into surface interactions in materials important to technologies like solar panels, as well as into the mechanism behind three-dimensional melting." 

• The cold chain packaging class developed by Sonoco ThermoSafe’s ISC Labs will be offered at the Cold Chain GDP & Temperature Management Logistics Global Forum in San Diego in May. The all-day session on May 25 will cover the design, development and qualification of temperature-controlled packaging. The conference agenda is available for download.

Biznews.com reports that chemicals giant Sasol is "back on the expansion trail, seeking out suitable acquisitions."

• Among the new fabrics on display at the Munich Fabric Start trade show this week: Cordura denim combined with Schoeller phase change material. 

• The University of the West of England has installed two Monodraught Cool-Phase hybrid units in the university's Estates Management Office in Bristol. Monodraught says its PCM-equipped systems have been shown to "use up to 90% less energy than traditional a/c systems."  

• The 12th Conference on Advanced Building Skins, scheduled for Oct. 2-3 in Bern, Switzerland, has issued a call for papers. Possible topics include financial models, new products, advanced design and building performance. The deadline is Feb. 10. 

Pelican BioThermal has announced that its new passive pallet shipper system, CrÄ“do Cargo, is now available to rent or buy. The reusable bulk shipper uses phase change material cooling panels to maintain temperature ranges +2C to +8C and +15C to +25C. 

PCM briefing: Stanford energy hub wins AIA award; is that PCM atop a Japanese greenhouse?

Ben Welter - Friday, January 20, 2017

Stanford University's new Central Energy Facility, the heart of a campus-wide energy system, has won a 2017 Institute Honor Award, the American Institute of Architects' highest recognition for design excellence. A 2.5-million-gallon hot water tank in the courtyard showcases the energy plant’s mission.

Greenhouse in Yamaguchi Prefecture• A strawberry-cultivation system that stores excess solar heat in a tank filled with cobblestones reduced heating costs by 80 percent at a greenhouse in Japan's Yamaguchi Prefecture. "A mat-like heat-insulating material" – phase change material, perhaps? – atop the greenhouse, right, is rolled up during the day to let in sunlight.

A power plant under construction in Kiel, Germany, will be able to store more than 1,500 megawatt hours of heat in a 60-meter-high water tank, ensuring the supply of more than 70,000 district heating customers for up to eight hours. The gas-fired Stadtwerke Kiel will simultaneously generate electricity and heat through cogeneration.

• New from QYResearch: "Europe Bio-Based Phase Change Materials Market Report 2017" and "Global Bio-Based Phase Change Materials Market Professional Survey Report 2017."

• The Industrial Fabrics Association International has issued a call for presenters for the IFAI Advanced Textiles Conference, to be held Sept. 26-29 in New Orleans. The deadline for submitting a proposal is Feb. 5.

• In partnership with Technical University Hamburg Harburg and Hamburg Energie, Siemens AG is developing a thermal storage system that will convert excess wind energy to heat and store it in rock fill. A steam turbine will convert the heat energy back to electricity on demand. The full-size system will be able to store about 36 MWh of energy in a container filled with 2,000 cubic meters of rock.

• The global market for thermal energy storage is projected to reach a value of $1.8 billion by 2020, Transparency Market Research reports. Latent heat and thermochemical storage technologies are expected to grab market share from sensible heat technology, which is now the dominant technology in the market.

Pluss Advanced Technologies has an opening for a quality assurance manager at its facility in Bawal, India. The quality manager is responsible for overall development, implementation and maintenance of the quality management system for the company's polymer and PCM business units.

Research roundup: Nano-sized phase change emulsions; porous triamide-linked polymers; thermoregulation of fabric; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, January 19, 2017

Preparation and characterization of nano-sized phase change emulsions as thermal energy storage and transport media [Applied Energy]

Largely enhanced thermal conductivity of poly (ethylene glycol)/ boron nitride composite phase change materials for solar-thermal-electric energy conversion and storage with very low content of graphene nanoplatelets [Chemical Engineering Journal]

Effect of an increased thermal contact resistance in a salt PCM-graphite foam composite TES system [Renewable Energy]

Experimental investigation on potential of a concentrated photovoltaic-thermoelectric system with phase change materials [Energy]

PEG encapsulated by porous triamide-linked polymers as support for solid-liquid phase change materials for energy storage [Chemical Physics Letters]

Morphological characterization and applications of phase change materials in thermal energy storage: A review [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Review]

Preparation and thermal properties of short carbon fibers/erythritol phase change materials [Energy Conversion and Management]

Preparation and properties of fatty acid eutectics/expanded perlite and expanded vermiculite shape-stabilized materials for thermal energy storage in buildings [Energy and Buildings]

Thermoregulation in Thermo-regulating Fabric: An Overview [pdf] [International Journal of Scientific Research in Science, Engineering and Technology]

PCM briefing: Papers sought for thermal management conference; Ice Energy has eyes on Australia

Ben Welter - Friday, December 09, 2016

• Registration is open for the Advancements in Thermal Management conference, to be held in Denver Aug. 9-10, 2017. Organizers have issued a call for papers; the deadline for submitting an abstract is Feb. 17. Companies attending past conferences include Croda, Outlast Technologies, Phase Change Materials Ltd., Microtek LaboratoriesC-Therm Technologies and Entropy Solutions.

Ice Energy of Glendale, Calif., is looking for distributors in Australia to extend the reach of the company's ice-based energy storage systems. The Ice Bear and smaller Ice Cub store cooling energy by freezing water in an insulated tank. During peak hours, the company says, the stored ice delivers up to four hours of cooling, reducing the typical peak load by 95 percent. 

• The use of phase change material in infant warmers (Little Lotus) and temperature-control fabrics (Outlast Technologies) is featured in NASA's Spinoff 2017. The annual report highlights technologies developed for the space program.

Tata Steel is integrating Energy Nest's thermal energy storage system into one of the steelmaker's plants in the Netherlands. The system captures waste heat in a special concrete and stores it for later use. 

A new technical report issued by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory examines the possibility of replacing fossil-fuel combustion in industry with small nuclear reactors, solar thermal and geothermal energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. "Phase change materials that exploit the relatively high energy involved in melting or freezing a material" are identified as among the thermal energy storage options critical to such a strategy.  

Patent application: Athletic activity monitoring device with energy capture

Ben Welter - Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Nike patent drawingU.S. patent application 20160351775 (applicant Nike Inc., Beaverton, Ore.):

"An energy harvesting device configured to be integrated into an item of clothing, comprising: an insulated container, comprising: an outer membrane having a first side in contact with an external environment and a second side that defines at least a portion of an internal cavity; an outer heat exchanger extending though the outer membrane, the outer heat exchanger comprising at least one surface in contact with the external environment; a thermoelectric generator module positioned within the internal cavity, the thermoelectric generator sandwiched between the outer heat exchanger and an inner heat exchanger; and an expandable membrane encapsulating a mass of phase-change material, at least a portion of the expandable membrane coupled to the inner heat exchanger, wherein the outer heat exchanger, the thermoelectric generator, and the inner heat exchanger are configured to allow bi-directional conduction of between the phase-change material and the external environment, and wherein the phase-change material is configured to store a portion of heat energy absorbed during a dryer cycle as the item of clothing is laundered."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160351775.pdf

PCM briefing: Papers sought for 4 cold chain conferences; Momentive introduces hybrid polymer modifiers

Ben Welter - Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Pharma Logistics IQ is inviting temperature controlled logistics experts to submit papers four upcoming conferences: Temperature Controlled Logistics Europe, Cold Chain-GDP & Temperature Management Latin America, Cold Chain Canada and Pharma Cold Chain and Temperature Management Summit China. Contact Pharma IQ editor Chanice Henry at chanice.henry@iqpc.co.uk.

• The CEGA congress for technical building equipment experts, hosted by Recknagel and VDI, will be held Nov. 29-30 in Baden-Baden, Germany. Dr. Bernd Boiting of the University of Münster will give a lecture about thermal energy storage using phase change material. More than 50 lectures on topics such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning and building automation will be presented at the conference, which will be conducted in German.

Momentive Performance Materials has introduced ceramic powders designed to improve the thermal conductivity of plastics. The company, based in Waterford, N.Y., says its CoolFX hybrid polymer modifiers can be more cost-effective than traditional boron nitride fillers.

• In a piece in Apparel magazine, Alexium International CEO Nicholas Clark weighs in on "What Flame Retardant Apparel Manufacturers Need to Know About the Lautenberg Act."

• The European Commission has launched a major review of REACH, the European Union’s main chemical safety law, publishing a 43-page questionnaire and asking for public feedback on its strengths and weaknesses.

• In an interview in Minnesota Business, Pelican BioThermal's Adam Tetz talks about the expansion of the company's manufacturing capacity in Plymouth. The expansion will support production of single-use temperature-controlled shippers in the United States.

• New from QYResearch: "Global Paraffin Compounds Sales Market Report 2016"

A CALMAC thermal energy storage system is being installed at Pueblo's historic county courthouse in Colorado. The system creates and stores ice at night and then uses it to cool buildings during the day.

ETH Zurich is looking for a licensing or collaboration partner to work on a high-temperature thermal energy storage system that provides active control of the heat-transfer fluid outflow temperature. Possible applications include concentrated solar power plants and advanced adiabatic compressed air energy storage.

• Imagine this: Your technology on display at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit early next year. The Technology Showcase is an opportunity to get your innovative energy technology in front of investors and researchers ready to collaborate. There is no fee to apply; the application deadline is Dec. 16.

ARPA-E will hold a workshop on “Lower Grade Waste Heat Recovery” Dec. 13-14 in the San Francisco area. The workshop will convene experts in waste heat recovery, materials development and novel solid-state materials to identify innovative research paths for the development of lower grade (below 400° C) waste heat recovery systems.

ARPA-E will hold a workshop on “Fuel Cell and Heat Engine Hybrid CHP Systems” on Jan. 26-27, 2017, in the Washington, D.C. area. The workshop will convene experts in fuel cells, heat engines, materials and advanced manufacturing technologies to identify related technological solutions that would help to enable the introduction of highly efficient yet cost-effective commercial-scale combined heat and power systems.

PCM briefing: Siemens touts packed-bed thermal storage breakthrough; TSCA's impact on chemical importers

Ben Welter - Thursday, October 20, 2016

Siemens says its recently launched packed-bed thermal storage concept for wind power could deliver energy at well below 0.10 euros per kilowatt-hour. The system uses surplus electricity to blow air at 600 degrees Celsius across a packed bed of basalt rocks in an insulated container.

• The National Law Review takes a detailed look at the impact of the newly revised Toxic Substances Control Act on chemical importers, noting that "companies planning to ship chemical-based products to the United States should have a basic understanding of the TSCA." 

• Researchers from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid have invented a new thermal energy storage system that uses molten silicon to store up to 10 times more energy than existing storage devices. "The proposed new thermal energy storage system," according to a report in New Atlas, "involves heating the silicon in a container using either concentrated sunlight on surplus electricity generated by renewable power. The molten silicon – which can reach temperatures of around 1,400° C (2,552° F) – can be isolated from its environment until energy is needed, at which point the heat is converted to electricity."  

SolarReserve has proposed building the world's largest solar power plant in Nevada. The 2-gigawatt Sandstone project would include up to 10 concentrated solar arrays, each equipped with a molten salt thermal storage system. 

SUNCNIM has raised 60 million euros to help finance construction of the world’s first commercial Fresnel concentrated solar power plant with energy storage. The plant in the French Pyrenees will have four hours of thermal storage capacity. The thermal energy will be converted into electricity by a steam generation process.

Ministry, whose high-tech clothing line includes dress shirts infused with phase change material, has opened a store in downtown Chicago

• The American Society of Interior Designers has opened a Material ConneXion library at the society's new corporate headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Materials ConneXion database lists more than 7,500 "unique, innovative and sustainable materials." PureTemp's biobased phase change materials were added to database last year.

Ember Technologies, which raised more than $350,000 on IndieGoGo last year to develop a temperature-adjustable mug, sent backers another update this week: "We are happy to announce that shipping will begin the first week of November for our pre-order customers." Delivery was initially set for April 2016. The $150 mug uses bio-based phase change material and a microprocessor-controlled heating system to maintain hot beverages at temperatures set by the user.

• New from Market Research Engine: "Global Microencapsulation Market Research Report - Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014 - 2021." The report projects the market will reach $8.5 billion by 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 8 percent.

Research roundup: Fire-resistant polyether PCM; numerical simulation of packed-bed system; direct transesterification; more

Ben Welter - Monday, October 10, 2016

From Energy Storage Materials:

Novel Hybrid Form-stable Polyether Phase Change Materials with Good Fire Resistance
Experimental and numerical investigations on a flexible paraffin/fiber composite phase change material for thermal therapy mask

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Binary eutectic mixtures of stearic acid-n-butyramide/n - octanamide as phase change materials for low temperature solar heat storage
The effect of forced convection and PCM on helmets’ thermal performance in hot and arid environments
Numerical and Statistical Study on Melting of Nanoparticle Enhanced Phase Change Material in a Shell-and-Tube Thermal Energy Storage System

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

Numerical simulation of a PCM packed bed system: A review

From Thermochimica Acta:

Production of PEG grafted PAN copolymers and their electrospun nanowebs as novel thermal energy storage materials

From Construction and Building Materials:

Influence of adding phase change materials on the physical and mechanical properties of cement mortars
Application and verification of direct transesterification as a method to quantify fatty acids in cement and concrete

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Thermal management of a LiFePO4 battery pack at high temperature environment using a composite of phase change materials and aluminum wire mesh plates

From International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer:

Numerical investigation of transient thermal behavior of a wall incorporating a phase change material via a hybrid scheme

From Applied Energy:

Experimental testing of a hybrid sensible-latent heat storage system for domestic hot water applications

From Energy and Buildings:

Investigation of PCM as retrofitting option to enhance occupant thermal comfort in a modern residential building

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Exergy analysis of cascaded encapsulated phase change material—High-temperature thermal energy storage systems