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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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Patent application: PCM reservoir equipped with filling tube for a motor vehicle heat exchanger

Ben Welter - Friday, March 08, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190072304 (applicant Valeo Systemes Thermiques, Le Mesnil St. Denis, France):

"The invention relates to a phase-change material reservoir for a heat exchanger of an air-conditioning installation of a vehicle, the reservoir being arranged between two reservoir plates and having filling means, characterized in that the filling means include at least one tube delimiting a filling channel arranged outside the reservoir against a first plate of the reservoir."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190072304.pdf

Patent application: Exhaust system with actuated flow bypass

Ben Welter - Friday, February 15, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190053330 (Watlow Electric Manufacturing Co., St. Lous, Mo.):

"An exhaust system is provided that includes an exhaust aftertreatment unit, first and second exhaust pathway in communication with and upstream of the exhaust aftertreatment unit, a thermally activated flow control device operable in a first and second mode, and a thermal storage device. ... The thermal storage device or thermal flywheel may also include a phase change material, an in one form a phase change material that changes phase at a temperature between 180° C. and 45° C."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190053330.pdf

Patent application: Thermal kinetic energy recovery system for hybrid vehicle

Ben Welter - Monday, January 28, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190023113 (applicant Eaton Corp., Cleveland, Ohio):

"A transmission system selectively coupled to an engine crankshaft of an internal combustion engine arranged on a vehicle includes a waste heat recovery (WHR) system, a brake assembly and a phase-change thermal heat storage system. The WHR system selectively circulates a WHR fluid in the transmission system. The brake assembly selectively couples a transmission output shaft to a drive axle. The brake assembly is configured to operate in a braking mode that retards relative rotation between the transmission output shaft and the drive axle while generating heat. The heat storage system includes a housing defining at least one cavity and a fluid transfer manifold. A phase-change material is disposed in the cavity that is configured to change phase during the braking mode."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190023113.pdf

Patent application: Heat exchanger with PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, January 03, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190003369 (applicant Castrol Ltd., Pangbourne, Great Britain):

"In one embodiment, there is provided a heat exchanger for equipment, having: at least one phase change material; and at least one heat exchange interface for heat exchange between the phase change material and a fluid flowing within, into and/or from a replaceable fluid container for the equipment, the replaceable fluid container having at least one fluid port adapted to couple to a fluid circulation system of the equipment when the replaceable container is coupled to a dock."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190003369.pdf

Patent application: Cooling device for charging station

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 29, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180334049 (applicant Porsche AG, Stuttgart, Germany):

"A cooling device cools a charging station or a multiplicity of charging stations of a charging park. The respective charging station has an internal coolant duct for a coolant to flow through the charging station, an input-side coolant connection, an output-side coolant connection, a coolant circuit with a cooling assembly for cooling the coolant, and a pump for pumping the coolant in the coolant circuit. The coolant duct of the respective charging station is integrated into the coolant circuit. A heat accumulator or a multiplicity of heat accumulators is integrated into the coolant circuit."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180334049.pdf

Patent application: Cables made of phase change material

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 29, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180334775 (applicant E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., Wilmington, Del.):

"A phase change material (PCM) is useful for thermal management in various applications such as automotive, building, packaging, garments, and footwear, and in devices such as wires and cables. The cable described herein comprises a core and a PCM layer surrounding the core. The PCM layer comprises a PCM composition, which in turn comprises a 1,3-propanediol fatty acid ester. The core consists of a yarn, strand or wire made of a natural or synthetic polymeric material or a metal."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180334775.pdf

Patent application: Use of a phase change material system

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 29, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180340740 (applicant BorgWarner Inc., Auburn Hills, Mich.):

"A number of variations may include a vehicle system which includes an engine. The vehicle system may also include a phase change material which may be disposed in a phase change material device. The phase change material may be released into a vehicle cooling system upon user command. The PCM device may be constructed and arranged to increase a temperature of a vehicle cabin without the engine being turned on when the phase change material is released."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180340740.pdf

Patent application: Method and mechanisms to use PCMs to improve vehicle comfort

Ben Welter - Monday, November 12, 2018

Toyota patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180321703 (applicant Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc., Erlanger, Kentucky): 

"A temperature moderation apparatus is structured to be positioned in vehicle passenger compartment. The apparatus includes an outer shell defining an interior of the shell, the wall has an exterior surface structured and positioned for physical contact with a skin surface of a vehicle occupant. The outer shell wall also has a plurality of through-holes formed therein. A phase change material element is positioned within the shell interior. The phase change material element includes a stretchable, thermally-conductive outer wall and a quantity of phase change material positioned therein. A pressurization mechanism is coupled to the phase change material element, the pressurization mechanism is structured to pressurize the phase change material element so as to force portions of the phase change material element to extend from the interior of the shell into associated ones of the through holes and past the outer shell wall exterior surface."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180321703.pdf

PCM briefing: Isomer can store energy for up to 18 years; concept combines pumped storage and heat storage using water as a medium

Ben Welter - Friday, November 02, 2018

• Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and Universidad de La Rioja have created a system capable of storing solar energy for extended periods. The Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage system uses a molecular photo switch made from carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen. Sunlight turns the molecule into an energy-rich isomer. The isomer can be stored in a liquid form to be used for heating at night or in winter. “The energy in this isomer can now be stored for up to 18 years. And when we come to extract the energy and use it, we get a warmth increase which is greater than we dared hope for,” said Kasper Moth-Poulsen, professor at Chalmers.

• New research at California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory reveals how an unusual type of ice known as Ice VII can form at speeds over 1,000 miles per hour. "This ice type was only discovered occurring naturally in March, trapped inside diamonds deep underground," reports Science Alert, "and this latest study looks in detail at how exactly it takes shape – apparently in a way that's completely different to how water usually freezes into ice."

• A research team at the Graz University of Technology, Austria, has combined the advantages of pumped storage technology and heat storage using water as a medium in a hybrid storage concept called "hot-water pumped storage hydropower." The new system stores and supplies electricity, heat and cooling energy. 

• The U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has openings for program directors, tech-to-market advisors and two-year fellowships.  

Registration is open for the 2019 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, to be held in Denver, Colo., July 8-10. Now in its 10th year, the annual conference and technology showcase "brings together experts from different technical disciplines and professional communities to think about America’s energy challenges in new and innovative ways."

A full agenda is available for the World Bio Markets conference, to be held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, April 1-3. Speakers include Rolf Hogan, executive director, Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials; Chris Sayner, vice president customer alliances, corporate sustainability, Croda; and Davide Bragholi, project manager, environmental innovations, Tetra Pak. 

• Registration is open for the inaugural Thermal Materials Summit to be held in Los Angeles on May 2. This technical forum will explore the latest advancements in thermal interface materials for professionals working in aerospace, automotive, telecom, batteries and other fields. Presentation proposals are due by Dec. 7.

Ecozen Solutions of India is one of five finalists in Rabobank’s inaugural Food Loss Challenge Asia. The competition aims to identify innovative ag-tech start-ups working to solve farm-to-market food loss problems. The finalists will present their solutions to a panel of judges at Rabobank’s annual Asia Food & Agribusiness advisory board meeting in Singapore later this month. Ecozen makes portable solar cold rooms for small farms, using a thermal storage unit that can store power for more than 36 hours in case of cloudy or rainy weather.

PCM briefing: Traction battery for electric vehicles; Ember mug available in Apple stores

Ben Welter - Friday, October 19, 2018

• The Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability in Darmstadt, Germany, has developed a traction battery that can use thermal energy as a heat source in electric vehicles. A new type of fiber-reinforced composite sandwich housing protects the battery from temperature fluctuations. The phase change material composite system is designed to precondition the battery at low outside temperatures and reduce heat generation during rapid charging. The system was developed as part of the European Union's Optimized Energy Management and Use project. "We've developed material, structural and process technologies that can guarantee drivers a more reliable and uniform range for their battery-powered vehicles," said Felix Weidmann, project manager at Fraunhofer LBF.

Airec AB of Sweden has joined the EU Horizon 2020 project SWS-Heating. The project's goal is to develop seasonal thermal storage of solar energy. The energy will be stored in phase change materials. Airec will develop heat exchangers for the project. 

A process for extracting a biodegradable polymer from crustaceans is among the winners of this year's Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. The awards were formerly known as the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. The American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry Institute has collaborated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to manage the awards since their inception in 1995. The EPA dropped out this year, citing long-term certainty about the program’s financial situation.  

Ember temperature-control tumblerEmber Technologies' temperature-control mugs are now available in Apple stores and on apple.com. The travel version right, uses phase change material to bring hot beverages down to a drinkable temperature. Earlier this year, Nordstrom began selling the mugs online and in Nordstrom popup stores.

Capstone Turbine Corp. and Argonne National Laboratory have received funding from U.S. Department of Energy to refine Argonne’s high-efficiency, fast-charging and fast-discharging thermal energy storage system for use in combined heat and power systems. The system, originally developed for use in concentrated solar power applications, will use phase change material to capture waste heat from industrial manufacturing processes. The goal is to integrate Argonne's technology into a Capstone C200 CHP system.

• New from Persistence Market Research"Global Market Study on Salt Hydrate: Pharmaceutical Industry to Remain Dominant Consumer Through 2026"

• New from QY Research: "Global Thermal Energy Storage Market Size, Status And Forecast 2025"

• New from Maia Research: "Inorganic PCMs Market Analysis, Market Size, Application, Analysis, Regional Outlook, Competitive Strategies And Forecasts, 2018 -2025"

• At the World Energy Engineering Congress in Charlotte, N.C., this week, Mark Richards of Phase Change Energy Solutions reports that the company demonstrated "a mini PhaseStor tank in action with 1/2 ton chiller and small heater (system hand made by Scott Queen) to charge and discharge the tank and includes on board DAQ system to show tank thermal performance." Richards presented at a panel discussion Friday, "Justifying HVAC Energy Savings in Buildings Using Phase Change Materials - A Debate with a Skeptical Engineer." Also presenting were Guy Frankenfield, energy division manager at DN Tanks Inc. ("Thermal Energy Storage - Uncovering the Value of Ice and Chilled Water TES Systems") and Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins ("Thermal Energy Storage in Package Units? Yes, it is Here").