Phase Change Matters RSS

 

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.

RECENT POSTS

TAGS

ARCHIVE

PCM briefing: Underground heat storage proposed for Hamburg; Solar Decathlon entry will have PCM in ceilings

Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 15, 2017

• The water utility in Hamburg, Germany, wants to build an underground thermal heat storage system that could supply about 25 percent of the city's heating needs with waste heat from industrial and power plants. A huge saltwater aquifer below the city is seen as an ideal "thermal battery" in which to store heat for use in winter.

• The University of Nevada-Las Vegas entry in the 2017 Solar Decathlon will feature phase change material in the ceilings of the 900-square-foot home.

Sonoco has announced a 10 percent price increase on all expanded polystyrene components used in its temperature-assurance packaging products. The company said the increase reflects the rising cost of polystyrene, the key raw material in EPS products.

University of Colorado engineers have developed a metamaterial that can cool objects even under direct sunlight with zero energy and water consumption. The glass-polymer hybrid material measures just 50 micrometers thick and can be manufactured economically on rolls, making it potentially viable for large-scale residential and commercial applications.

StoCalce Functio, a wall covering material developed by the Swiss research institute Empa together with the building specialist Sto, manages interior humidity by absorbing, storing and releasing moisture. Perhaps PCMs could be added to the material to manage temperatures as well. [German]

Alexium International, maker of Alexicool phase change material, is one of nine companies planning to attend Gabelli & Company's 8th annual Specialty Chemicals Conference in New York City on March 22.

Axiom Exergy co-founders Anthony Diamond and Amrit Robbins, who made Forbes' "30 Under 30" in the energy sector this year, shared advice for other young entrepreneurs on energy.gov. Said Robbins: “If you want to build a business, go out and get third party validation for your technology, team and product-market fit."

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.

Colorado's first certified passive house 'has gone well past expectations'

Ben Welter - Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Colorado's first certified International Passive House is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains north of Denver. The 1,200-square-foot MARTaK house, designed by architect and author Andrew Michler, is used primarily as an off-the-grid workspace. The structure has now been occupied continuously for six months. Has it met Michler's energy expectations?

MARTaK passive house photo by Andrew Michler"Yes," Michler says, "it's gone well past my expectations. ... We haven't turned on the heating system this year." 

A solar array shared with a neighboring home provides all electrical power and most of the heating, with a propane-powered hydronic system serving as backup. Passive House Planning Package software was used to find the most efficient mix of insulation, windows and shading. Natural, nontoxic and recycled materials are used throughout the house. 

Biobased phase change material with a melt point of 23º C is used to help even out temperature spikes. The PCM is contained in 500 square feet of ENRG Blankets made by Phase Change Energy Solutions. Most of the material is installed a south-facing interior wall. 

Is it possible to measure the PCM's impact on overall performance?

"That's the question that I haven't found anybody able to answer," Michler says. "It's more about experiential. It's hard to isolate the PCM performance. There's no good modeling software for this. ...

"Overheating has been the biggest issue with passive houses, and we're seeing some anecdotal success with PCMs. We had a really warm fall, and the PCM did seem to level out the interior temperature, leveling out at 78 degrees Fahrenheit."

Has Michler used PCM in other projects? "No, this is the first. I do have interest in trying it again."

http://www.archello.com/en/project/martak-passive-house

Research roundup: Polyethylene glycol/hydroxyapatite composite; root zone heating; lime plasters; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A polyethylene glycol/hydroxyapatite composite phase change material for thermal energy storage [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Phase diagrams, eutectic mass ratios and thermal energy storage properties of multiple fatty acid eutectics as novel solid-liquid phase change materials for storage and retrieval of thermal energy [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Analysis of the technical, environmental and economic potential of phase change materials (PCM) for root zone heating in Mediterranean greenhouses [Renewable Energy]

Effect of inclination angle on the melting process of phase change material [Case Studies in Thermal Engineering]

Densities of Selected Phase Change Materials in Liquid State [Chemical Data Collections]

Hygrothermal performance improvement of the Korean wood frame walls using macro-packed phase change materials [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Reinforcing and shape stabilizing of phase-change material via graphene oxide aerogel [Carbon]

PCM-enhanced Lime Plasters for Vernacular and Contemporary Architecture [Energy Procedia]

Characterisation and Enhancement of Phase Change Slurries [Energy Procedia]

Packed-bed Thermal Energy Storage Analysis: Quartzite and Palm-Oil Performance [Energy Procedia]

Thermal properties and reliability of eutectic mixture of stearic acid-acetamide as phase change material for latent heat storage [Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics]

Application of material assessment methodology in latent heat thermal energy storage for waste heat recovery [Applied Energy]

Research roundup: PV-solar thermal collectors with PCM; solaria in cold climates; thermal storage tank stratification; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Comparative analyses on dynamic performances of photovoltaic–thermal solar collectors integrated with phase change materials [Energy Conversion and Management]

PCM thermal storage design in buildings: Experimental studies and applications to solaria in cold climates [Applied Energy]

Development of structural-functional integrated energy storage concrete with innovative macro-encapsulated PCM by hollow steel ball [Applied Energy]

Experimental investigation of the effect of dynamic melting in a cylindrical shell-and-tube heat exchanger using water as PCM [Applied Energy]

Role of PCM addition on stratification behaviour in a thermal storage tank – An experimental study [Energy]

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.

PCM briefing; China tightens vaccine-handling rules; Pelican BioThermal has new partners in Chile, Brazil

Ben Welter - Monday, May 09, 2016

China has strengthened cold chain regulations in the wake of a scandal involving the illegal sale of expired and improperly handled vaccines. County health officials are now required to get vaccines directly from manufacturers before sending them to hospitals, instead of going through wholesalers. Hospitals, clinics and government authorities must also keep better records of purchases and inventory, with regular monitoring of vaccine temperatures.

Pelican BioThermal, the temperature-controlled packaging specialist, recently announced partnerships with BioThermal Solutions of Chile and NatBio of Brazil.

Ice Energy is a founding member of the recently launched Community Storage Initiative, an industry group that includes utility trade associations, environmental groups, manufacturers and more than a dozen utilities. The Glendale, Calif., company makes the Ice Bear thermal energy storage system. "Community storage" refers to utility-sponsored programs that aggregate distributed energy storage resources such as water heaters, electric vehicles and interconnected storage batteries to deliver electricity to consumers more efficiently.

The global market for green chemistry, estimated at $11 billion in 2015, will explode to about $100 billion by 2020,  the American Sustainable Business Council and the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council report. "In a nutshell," writes Libby Bernick of Trucost, "the green chemistry market is poised for takeoff."

• The U.S. Green Building Council has launched "Ask Brendan," an offbeat yet informative video series featuring Senior Vice President of Knowledge Rachel Gutter and Chief of Engineering Brendan Owens. The pilot episode is free but requires site registration. Subsequent episodes will be available only to Education @USGBC subscribers.

La Jolla research building makes AIA top 10 list for sustainable design

Ben Welter - Monday, April 25, 2016

Storage tank installation at J. Craig Venter Institute

The J. Craig Venter Institute in La Jolla, Calif., is on the American Institute of Architects' top 10 list of projects that represent sustainable architecture and ecological design for 2016. 

The 44,607-square-foot building, the first net-zero biological lab in the world, was designed by ZGF Architects. It uses two 25,000-gallon thermal energy storage tanks — one for warm water, one for cool — to moderate temperatures. Cooling towers chill the TES at night, allowing the building to be cooled during the day without electric chillers. The underground tanks were made by South Gate Engineering of Chino, Calif.

https://www2.buildinggreen.com/article/aia-s-2016-top-ten-span-difficult-building-types

PCMs helped this tiny house achieve Passivhaus status

Ben Welter - Monday, March 28, 2016

Mizu passive house | photo by © David Montigny

Designing a house that meets Passivhaus standards is made more difficult when the house is small. A small house has more surface area per cubic foot of living space than a large one. Thick concrete walls aren't the most efficient way to achieve thermal mass in a house of less than 130 square feet.

Thomas Primault, the designer of Mizu, a Japanese-style timber structure in Bretagne, France, chose another option: 6 mm of Enerciel wall coating impregnated with phase change material. The biobased PCM has a melt point of 23° Celsius, absorbing heat when the temperature inside the tiny office structure climbs above 23, and releasing heat when the temperature falls below 23. The building envelope also includes vacuum insulated panels in the floor and mineral fiber insulation in the ceiling and walls. 

TreeHugger's Lloyd Alter describes the result, a tiny house that meets Passivhaus standards, as "a stunning little gem." Blogger Elrond Burrell writes that monitoring data and experience indicate that the building is performing very well, but "it isn't obvious how much the PCM is playing a part in the performance." 

http://elrondburrell.com/blog/passivhaus-tiny-house/#more-2771

Plans for Dutch Windwheel include underground thermal energy storage

Ben Welter - Friday, January 22, 2016

Drawing of proposed Dutch Windwheel

A consortium behind plans to build the Dutch Windwheel, a 570-foot-tall apartment and hotel complex in Rotterdam, has agreed to begin development and testing of a self-supporting energy system and other innovative technologies.

Underground thermal energy storage is among the components being studied for the "next-generation" windmill.

"Phase change materials, aquifer thermal energy storage and surface water thermal energy are a few of multiple options for managing the smart HVAC system in a sustainable way," said Gerard Blom, freshwater systems manager at the research institute Deltares, a member of the consortium. "Possibilities will be researched for local energy production (including the electrostatic wind energy convertor technology, solar and residual heat, and heat exchange), the water system, the development of a smart grid, the use of materials as well as technologies to enhance the experience and attraction value of the Dutch Windwheel and its environment."

http://www.dutchwatersector.com/news-events/news/17097-dutch-windwheel-development-of-breathtaking-next-generation-wind-mill-gets-into-new-phase.html