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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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PCM briefing: A call for presentations on renewable heating and cooling; EnergyNest, Tata team up on demo project

Ben Welter - Friday, April 07, 2017

Frank Bruno, leader of the Thermal Energy Storage Group at the University of South Australia, talks about the advantages of thermal storage in an interview with the Guardian newspaper.

Robert Riebolge, chief network analyst of the Adelaide-based energy storage company 1414 Degrees, tells Ecogeneration magazine that storage is “quite clearly” the solution to the intermittency problem of wind and solar. But, he says, the way in which the Australian market is constructed and the regulatory system is set up doesn’t allow for its easy introduction.

• The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia has teamed with Basque technology company Tecnalia to develop On Site Robotics, a 3D printing construction project in which sustainable, low-cost buildings can be built on-site with a special clay-based material made of natural, biodegradable, recyclable and locally sourced materials.

• Get the latest information on the Toxic Substances Control Act in a free webinar April 19. The presentation by Mark N. Duvall of the environmental law firm Beveridge & Diamond will identify the principal amendments, discuss the impact on manufacturers and compare the amended TSCA to the European Union's REACH regulation.

• In a video posted on YouTube, Adam Tetz of Pelican BioThermal and other industry experts discuss the future of temperature controlled logistics at last month's Temperature Controlled Logistics Europe 2017.

• The Eu­ro­pean Tech­nol­ogy and In­no­va­tion Plat­form on Re­new­able Heat­ing & Cool­ing has issued a call for presentations to be made at the group's an­nual event in Brus­sels June 20. Topics include biomass; district heating and cooling; solar thermal heating and cooling; hybrid systems; and thermal energy storage. Applications are due by May 22. 

Tata Steel and EnergyNest have begun work on a thermal energy storage demo project at Tata's plant in IJmuiden, Netherland. EnergyNest's concrete-based TES system will store exhaust heat from steel production to cover some of the plant's energy demands. EnergyNest, meanwhile, won the top prize in the 2017 Nordic Cleantech Open last week. The contest, organized by Cleantech Scandinavia, consisted of several competitive rounds in which hundreds of companies applied.

Chris Pais has joined Axiom Exergy as director of field operations. Pais was previously director of system architecture at LightSail Energy. Axiom's "refrigeration battery" system, aimed at supermarkets and cold storage warehouses, stores water chilled at night, when electricity is cheapest, to take the load off condensers and compressors during the day.

Vaibhav Bahadur, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, was one of eight faculty members at the university to receive National Science Foundation early career development awards totaling more than $2 million. Bahadur received funding for his project “Influence of electric fields on liquid-to-solid phase change associated with clathrate hydrate formation.”

• In a piece posted on LinkedIn, Liam Holmes, Europe and Asia engineering team lead at Sonoco ThermoSafe, writes about the role of industrial design in the temperature-assurance packaging industry's shift from single-use products to modular reusable green systems.

PCM briefing: India startup wins Energy Transition award; new market research on thermal energy storage

Ben Welter - Monday, March 27, 2017

Thermal Energy Service Solutions, maker of a PCM-based "plug-and-chill" refrigeration system, was one of six startup companies honored at Tech Festival 2017 in Berlin last week. The Indian company's cooling technology is designed to reduce the use of fossil fuels in storing and transporting food. The Startup Energy Transition Awards competition, sponsored by the German Energy Agency, drew more than 500 applications from 66 countries.

Machine learning tools can help researchers analyze sustainable products and chemicals more easily, but as with all computing, data quality is important, writes Christina Valimaki, senior director of chemicals at Elsevier's R&D Solutions.

• New from MarketsandMarkets: "Thermal Energy Storage Market by Technology (Sensible, Latent, and TCS), Storage Material (Water, Molten Salt, and PCM), Application (Power Generation, District Heating & Cooling, and Process Heating & Cooling), End-User, and Region - Global Forecast to 2022"

• Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, have shown that it is possible to convert solar energy directly into energy stored in the bonds of a chemical fluid. The system is based on the organic compound norbornadiene, which upon exposure to light converts into quadricyclane.

PCM briefing: Pluss VP honored as 'Innovator under 35'; BASF partners with Hewlett Packard Enterprise on new supercomputer

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ankit Jhanwar, VP for corporate planning and strategy at Pluss Advanced Technologies, was honored as one of 10 "Innovators under 35" at EmTech India 2017.

Sunamp Ltd., maker of PCM-based heat batteries, is one of eight finalists for an Ashden UK Award. Winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on June 15. The competition recognizes excellence in the field of green energy.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise will work with BASF to develop a supercomputer that will sharply reduce the time it takes to run simulations and modeling in chemical research. "The new supercomputer will promote the application and development of complex modeling and simulation approaches, opening up completely new avenues for our research at BASF,” said Dr. Martin Brudermueller, chief technology officer at BASF.

McKinsey & Co. analysts say a slowdown in the chemical industry's financial performance over the past five years reflects important changes in the industry’s fundamentals. One of their recommendations: "Incumbent specialty-chemical players must prepare for further encroachment of commoditization and erosion of their historical advantages when attackers from developing markets gain more experience and become increasingly technologically savvy."

California lawmakers have introduced legislation to encourage more clean energy resources to address peak load. The bills would require utilities to deploy clean energy during peak demand in order to meet the state's aggressive greenhouse gas and renewable energy goals. 

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.

PCM briefing: Seasonal TES with concentrated sodium hydroxide; increased preference for biobased chemicals

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

• Swiss researchers say they have developed a system that can capture heat during summer and then later use it during winter. The system uses concentrated sodium hydroxide (NaOH) as the thermal storage medium and a collection of readily available components to capture, convert and release heat energy on demand. "The stored heat can also be transported elsewhere in the form of concentrated sodium hydroxide solution, which makes it flexible to use,” said Benjamin Fumey of the Empa research institute.

• The market research firm Technavio has identified the use of phase change material as a trend in the development of battery thermal management systems for electric vehicles.

Sure Chill's long-term passive cooling device, designed to maintain vaccines in a temperature range of 2° to 8°C for 10 days or more without the need for grid-based electricity, received high marks in a PATH field test in Senegal. 

• Submissions are now being accepted for the 2017 Reaxys PhD Prize. The international competition is open to Ph.D. students or recent graduates conducting innovative research in synthetic chemistry. Forty-five finalists will be selected based on originality of research, rigor of methodology, quality of published work and supervisor's letter of recommendation. The finalists will present their research at the Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium. Three winners will then be selected and receive $2,000. The application deadline is March 13. 

• Thanks to a slowdown in China and Japan, new investment in clean energy fell to $287.5 billion worldwide in 2016, down 18 percent from 2015's record high,  Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports.

An increased preference for biobased chemicals and other environmentally friendly alternatives will significantly affect the growth prospects of the global petrochemicals market in the next few years, Transparency Market Research reports.

• New from QYResearch: "China Inorganic Phase Change Materials Market Research Report 2017"

• U.K.-based Dulas Ltd. is delivering more than 300 of its VC150SDD solar refrigerators to Nigeria. The refrigerators use a paraffin-based phase change material to keep vaccines in a safe temperature range..

Rehau Akademie is offering a free webinar (in German) on Building Information Modeling on Jan. 26.

• In an interview with Business Quarter, Sunamp founder Andrew Bissell talks about how partnering with the University of Edinburgh helped his company overcome challenges associated with phase change materials.

PCM briefing: E-motorcycle girdles the globe; Spanish students test PCM on zero-g flight

Ben Welter - Tuesday, November 29, 2016

• A Lehigh University student has been honored for his research on the use of phase change materials to improve the efficiency of power plants and reduce the pollutants they emit. Joshua Charles, who is pursuing a doctorate in mechanical engineering, received a scholarship from the Air Pollution and Educational Research Grant program. He is experimenting with several variations of hydrated salt to improve the performance of the air-cooled condensers used in some power plants.

Storm Wave e-motorcycle outside the White House• The Storm Wave, the electric motorcycle developed by a team at Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands, completed an around-the-world tour last month, covering 23,000 kilometers in 80 days. The Wave features swappable 28.5 kWh lithium-ion battery packs cooled by phase change material. Team members showed off the bike last week on "Zapplive," a Dutch television show.  

Greentech Media's Jason Deign lists Eco-Tech Ceram of France as one of 12 European energy storage startups to watch. ETC says its ceramic thermal storage medium is 92 percent efficient. The technology could be used to capture some of the 3,500 terawatt-hours of heat lost from industrial processes every year.

• New from QYResearch: "United States Thermal Energy Storage (TES) Market Report 2016."

• A team from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid in Spain recently got a taste of zero gravity aboard an A310 Airbus as part of the European Space Agency's "Fly Your Thesis" program. The team developed an experiment to analyze the melting process of phase change materials in weightlessness conditions.

PCM briefing: Croda earns EcoVadis Gold Status; case study on heat flux sensor use

Ben Welter - Friday, November 04, 2016

Croda, the U.K.-based specialty chemicals company whose product line includes biobased CrodaTherm phase change material, has earned EcoVadis Gold Status for the third year running, placing in the top 1 percent of all chemical companies evaluated. The designation is based on a company's environmental, labor, fair business and sustainable procurement practices. 

CIC Energigune is seeking candidates for a postdoctoral position in the thermal energy storage group for research focused on materials development and characterization. The research center, based in Spain's Basque Country, also has openings for a lab technician and a TES group leader. 

• Australia's National Solar Energy Centre is seeking a Ph.D. student to join a research team studying high-temperature solar thermal energy storage. Areas of research may include novel thermal processes and energy storage systems; process dynamic simulation and integration; and computational modeling of particulate flow.  

GreenTEG has posted a case study explaining how heat flux sensors can help construction planners better understand how phase change materials perform in building materials.

Dr. Barbara Pause, president of Textile Testing and Innovation LLC, talked about the potential for phase change materials in automotive applications at last month's Industrial Fabric Association International Expo in North Carolina. She presented data showing that PCM embedded in adhesives and fabrics can reduce the temperature inside a parked car from as high as 180º F down to under 120º F over a two-hour period.  

Cardinal Health Inc. will give a presentation on its award-winning packaging solutions at Pack Expo International in Chicago on Tuesday. The Reusable Packaging Association recently honored Cardinal for its innovative approach to ensuring the safe, efficient and sustainable delivery of refrigerated pharmaceuticals. In partnership with Sonoco ThermoSafe, Cardinal switched from water-based coolant gel packs within its reusable plastic totes to plant-based PureTemp phase change materials. The change helped Cardinal reduce product spoilage by 90 percent.

• New from Wise Guy Reports: "Global Eutectic PCMs Sales Market Report 2016," "Global Salt Hydrates Sales Market Report 2016," "Global Inorganic PCMs Sales Market Report 2016," "Global Non-Paraffin Compounds Sales Market Report 2016" and "Global Paraffin Compounds Sales Market Report 2016."

• On the agenda for the International District Cooling Conference in Dubai Nov. 13-15: Steve Benz of EVAPCO will talk about thermal energy storage types and best practices for optimizing chilled water dispatch. Henry Johnstone of GLHN Architects & Engineers will address the question of managing Delta T in buildings.

PCM briefing: Dulas introduces 52.5-liter solar fridge; Argonne's Dileep Singh is named ASM International fellow

Ben Welter - Thursday, October 27, 2016

Dulas VC50SDD refrigeratorDulas Ltd. has added a 52.5-liter model to its line of solar-powered refrigerators. The VC50SDD is powered by the British company's Solar Direct Drive technology and uses paraffin-based phase change material to keep vaccines and other payloads at temperatures ranging from 5°C to 43°C. With an optional "integrated solar socket," the refrigerator can also be used to charge cellphones or temperature-monitoring equipment. The World Health Organization earlier this month approved the refrigerator for purchase by UNICEF and other U.N. agencies. 

Dr. Dileep Singh of Argonne National Laboratory has been named a fellow of ASM International for his work on concentrating solar power and other energy innovations. Singh and his team developed a latent heat-based thermal energy storage system that enhances the performance of phase change material using high-conductivity graphite foam.

• Two new reports from QYResearch: "Global Thermal Energy Storage (TES) Market Professional Survey Report 2016" and "Europe Advanced Phase Change Materials (PCM) Market Report 2016."

• A handful sessions scheduled for the 2017 Energy Storage World Forum and Residential Energy Storage Forum are related to thermal energy storage: "Niche Energy Storage Technologies," led by Pierre-Guy Therond, director of new technologies at EDF Energies Nouvelles of France; "Synergistic Combinations of Energy Storage Technologies," led by John Hatton, chief commercial officer at Alpheon Energy, United Kingdom; and "Integrating Storage to Improve Renewable Generation Capacity Factor," led by Martin Wilcox, senior consultant at Mott MacDonald, United Kingdom. The conferences will be held May 8-12 in Berlin.

MatériO has opened its new materials library in Shanghai, with more than 1,000 materials on display. MatériO, based in France, lists more than 7,400 "cutting edge" materials and technologies in its database, including Entropy Solutions' PureTemp phase change material.

• U.S. chemical production is thriving, according to a American Chemistry Council analyst, but several factors threaten long-term growth, including equipment shortages and a lack of skilled workers.

EPA accepting nominations for 2017 Green Chemistry Challenge Awards

Ben Welter - Thursday, October 20, 2016

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is accepting nominations for the 2017 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. Companies or institutions that have developed a process or product that better protects public health and the environment are eligible.

Nominations will be accepted through Dec. 31, 2016. There is no entry fee. There are six award categories this year:

• Greener Synthetic Pathways
• Greener Reaction Conditions
• The Design of Greener Chemicals
• Small Business 
• Academic
• Specific Environmental Benefit: Climate Change

Since the program began 21 years ago, the EPA has received more than 1700 nominations and presented awards to developers of 109 technologies. Dr. William R. Sutterlin, Entropy Solutions' chief science officer, was a member of a University of Missouri team that won the academic award in 2006 for developing an inexpensive method to convert waste glycerin, a byproduct of biodiesel fuel production, into propylene glycol.

https://www.epa.gov/greenchemistry/information-about-presidential-green-chemistry-challenge

PCM briefing: Senate weighs energy storage tax credit; va-Q-tec signs deals with 2 air carriers

Ben Welter - Tuesday, October 11, 2016

• Under a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., energy storage technologies such as batteries, thermal energy storage and regenerative fuel cells that qualify would get a 30 percent investment tax credit, similar to incentives available to wind and solar projects.

• PCM maker va-Q-tec AG has signed global rental agreements with two air carriers, Cargolux of Luxembourg and IAG Cargo, based in London and Madrid. The airlines will rent passive containers designed to ship temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical and biotech goods safely and efficiently. Va-Q-tec shares began trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (ticker symbol VQT) last week.

The Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, known as Empa, has posted an opening for a postdoctoral researcher in the field of phase change materials in building materials. The one-year position requires a strong background in thermal energy storage with PCMs and applications.

• PCM maker Entropy Solutions has an opening for a sales engineer. The sales engineer will work closely with Entropy's research and development team, providing direct support to key customers, channel partners and vendors, while taking the lead in managing incoming inquiries.  

Sunamp Ltd. took first-place honors last week at the Solar Power Portal Awards in Birmingham, England. The heat battery maker won the Residential Energy Management Project award for its work on the Eastheat PV/PCM project in Edinburgh and surrounding towns. 

The biobased products industry contributed $393 billion and 4.2 million jobs to the U.S. economy in 2014, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "As this sector is strengthening, so is the economy in rural America, where this year the unemployment rate dropped below six percent for the first time since 2007," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Cardinal Health Inc., a global health care services and products company, has received the 2016 Excellence in Reusable Packaging award. The Reusable Packaging Association honored Cardinal for its innovative approach to ensuring the safe, efficient and sustainable delivery of refrigerated pharmaceuticals. In partnership with Sonoco ThermoSafe, Cardinal switched from water-based coolant gel packs within its reusable plastic totes to plant-based PureTemp phase change materials. The change helped Cardinal reduce product spoilage by 90 percent.