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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 monthly PCM newsletter. Or join the discussion on LinkedIn.

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Patent application: Thermal management systems including multiple phase changing materials

Ben Welter - Sunday, May 10, 2020

Toyota patent drawingU.S. patent application 20200136209 (applicant Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America Inc., Plano, Texas):

"A battery module including a battery cell and a thermal management system for removing heat from the battery cell. The thermal management system includes two or more unit cells in an array. Each unit cell includes a primary shell comprising a primary phase change material (PCM), and a secondary shell comprising a secondary PCM that is thermally coupled to the primary shell. The battery cell is thermally coupled to the primary shell at a heat transfer interface and the secondary shells of adjacent unit cells in the array are separate."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20200136209.pdf

PCM briefing: Advanced Building Skins presentations are online; Ecozen raises $6 million

Ben Welter - Monday, December 16, 2019

• Presentations given at the 14th Conference on Advanced Building Skins in Switzerland in October are available via download for 80 euros. Among the topics: "Thermal performance of engineered wood flooring impregnated with phase-change materials," Damien Mathis, University LAVAL, Fontenay-sous-Bois, France; "Thermal comfort modelling and its impact on building energy performance," Vikram Sami, Olson Kundig, Seattle, Wash.; and "Integrated solar electric/thermal cooling system with storage," Mohannad Bayoumi, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Loughborough University researchers have been awarded funding to help with the design and development of a four-wheeled electric vehicle for research, teaching and outreach in India. Engineers at Vellore Institute of Technology and PSG College of Technology, both located in Tamil Nadu, will work with Loughborough researchers to explore the use of phase change material and other technologies to manage battery heat. The high ambient temperatures in south India and similar climates can significantly reduce battery life in electric vehicles.  

• Energy storage specialist 1414 Degrees has announced plans to acquire SolarReserve Australia II, which owns the Aurora Solar Energy Project in South Australia and two solar sites in New South Wales. The Adelaide, Australia, company plans to use the Aurora site to build a 400 MW solar farm with thermal storage capacity of several thousand megawatt hours. The technology stores electricity as thermal energy by heating and melting containers full of silicon.

• Agritech startup Ecozen of Pune, India, which makes portable solar cold rooms for use on small farms, has raised a total of $6 million to fuel its growth phase. The cold rooms feature a PCM-equipped thermal storage unit that can store power for more than 36 hours in case of cloudy or rainy weather.  

Advanced Cooling Technologies Inc. of Lancaster, Penn., is seeking qualified research and development engineers at various experience and education levels to work on space, defense and energy-related applications. 

• Andreas Hauer, head of the energy storage department at ZAE Bayern (the Bavarian Center for Applied Energy Research) has joined the board of directors at the International Solar Energy Society.

Patent application: Regenerative solid-solid phase change cooling for an energy storage device

Ben Welter - Monday, September 09, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190273295 (applicant Anhui Xinen Technology Co. Ltd., Anqing Anhui, China):

"Disclosed is a technique for managing the temperature of rechargeable cells. An energy storage device can include a plurality of rechargeable cells disposed within a housing and a material disposed within the housing so as to completely surround each of the rechargeable cells in a particular plane. The material can have a thermal characteristic such that the material remains a solid upon absorbing heat from the rechargeable cells by changing a crystal lattice structure. Intrinsic latent heat properties of the material result in absorption or release of heat to maintain a temperature of a rechargeable cell within a pre-defined temperature range. A regenerative mechanism including a heat pump coil can restore the material to a lower energy crystal lattice structure."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190273295.pdf

Patent application: Motor vehicle fuel pump cover

Ben Welter - Friday, May 24, 2019

BMW patent drawingU.S. patent application 20190153984 (applicant Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, Munich, Germany):

"A motor vehicle fuel pump cover is provided for covering a fuel guide region of a motor vehicle fuel pump by way of a cover housing. A phase change core is received in the cover housing. The phase change core is designed to change the phase state thereof while receiving thermal energy from the fuel guide region. The phase change core is designed for phase change at a temperature of more than 60° C."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190153984.pdf

Patent application: Methods and systems for energy recovery via an EGR cooler

Ben Welter - Friday, May 17, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190145359 (assignee Ford Global Technologies LLC, Dearborn, Mich.):

"Methods and systems are provided for an EGR [exhaust gas recirculation] cooler comprising a phase-change material. In one example, exhaust gas may be conducted through the EGR cooler when an engine is deactivated to maintain an engine temperature. ... The phase-change material may extract heat from the hot exhaust gas conducted through the cooler, and thus serves as an additional heat sink but also as an energy store. In other words, the cooler equipped with the phase-change material according to the disclosure may extract more energy from the exhaust gas than a conventional cooler which uses only coolant. This offers advantages in the case of large exhaust-gas quantities which occur at high engine speeds or loads, and in particular at the high exhaust-gas temperatures which occur at high loads."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190145359.pdf

Patent application: Heat exchanger for an exhaust tuning system

Ben Welter - Monday, April 29, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190120103 (applicant Ford Global Technologies, Dearborn, Mich.):

"Methods and systems are provided for a heat exchanger phase change material installed as a component of a variable exhaust tuning system. In one example, a method may include absorbing excess heat energy from exhaust gases during and after an engine-on event within a heat exchanger material, releasing heat energy stored in the heat exchanger material during and after an engine-off event, and heating an adjustable exhaust valve with the heat energy stored in the heat exchanger material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190120103.pdf

Patent application: Air-conditioning system

Ben Welter - Friday, April 19, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190113259 (applicant Ford Global Technologies LLC, Dearborn, Mich.):

"An air-conditioning system includes first and second PCM vessels, a heat recovery circuit, and a conduit and valve system. The heat recover circuit includes a third PCM vessel. The conduit and valve system operably couples i.) a first heat exchanger to the first PCM vessel and a radiator, ii.) a second heat exchanger to a core and the second PCM vessel, and iii.) the heat recovery circuit to the first heat exchanger."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190113259.pdf

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