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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: Abstracts due for heat and thermal energy conference; chemical industry employment projections

Ben Welter - Tuesday, July 11, 2017

• Abstracts are due July 14 for the 19th International Conference on Heat and Thermal Energy, to be held in London Sept. 20-21. Conference topics include novel storage concepts; thermal energy storage in buildings; thermal energy storage materials; polymeric materials; and micro- and macro-encapsulation methods. Researchers from  Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts will present their findings on "Unbranched, Saturated, Carboxylic Esters as Phase Change Materials."

• From Chem.Info: "How Much Will Chemical Industry Employment Grow By 2019?

• A mattress powered by Zotto's "ThermaPhase technology" is one of eight products on Forbes magazine's "Must Have Summer Tech Gift Guide." 

• Unrelated link of the week, from Bored Panda: "Architect Turns Old Cement Factory Into His Home, And The Interior Will Take Your Breath Away

UK student honored for designing mobile cooler for fish vendors

Ben Welter - Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Fish vendor basket

A University of Hertfordshire student who designed a fish cooler for street vendors is the runner-up in the UK’s prestigious New Designer of the Year competition. The New Designers exhibition, now in its 32nd year, features the work of top students from the UK’s leading design schools.

Kiran Sunil’s “Machhalee Basket” is essentially an EPS cooler equipped with phase change material. Judges described it as “a sensitively designed product – an example of bottom-up, frugal innovation, demonstrating genuine social impact and purpose.” The award includes a cash prize of £500.

Sunil, 22, was born and raised in the United Kingdom and is of South Indian descent. He recently earned a bachelor's degree in industrial design at Hertfordshire. He discussed details of his final-year project in an email interview.

Kiran Sunil with winning displayQ: What does “Machhalee” mean?

A: "Machhalee" is a Hindi word for “fish.”

Q: How did you come up with the idea?

A: My family and I regularly travel to India usually every 2-3 years, so for me the sight of fish vendors on street corners and at local marketplaces was a common and familiar sight, as it is to native Indians. However it always occurred to me the huge contrast between our experience in places like the UK of buying fish in comparison to theirs. Often their platform was very makeshift, working from the ground unprotected in the baking hot sun and with little to no ice. Generally poor quality.

In conjunction for my dissertation I gained a deeper insight into what I wanted to do for my final project, when I began tackling issues between wealth divides and how this affects the designs that we consume and use. Inspired by the works of Victor Papanek and Emily Pilloton of designing for social change, I decided that for this project I wanted to design something for those less well off in developing countries, those who were in true need of good design. However it was important for me that I didn't want to create a product that revolved around aid. This was about empowerment and strengthening honest business, more importantly I wanted to create a product from the people and for the people.


Q: Did you talk with fish vendors as part of your research?

A: While I wasn’t able to talk directly to fish vendors in India due to the disconnect, I came pretty close. It was important that I design honestly and according to the needs of the vendors. I enlisted the help of many NGOs including the likes of the Selco Foundation in India as well as the National Association of Street Vendors of India, two huge players in my research. With their help I was able to identify all the key needs, patterns and processes in order to create the most appropriate design.

Q: How did you hear about phase change material?

A: One of my visiting lecturers, Ian Hunter from Material Council, mentioned its usage in cheap and effective cooling systems and so it piqued my interest. For a while we gained and lost interest in the idea while the designs developed before finally realizing it massive potential.

Q: How many PCM types did you try before settling on one?

A: I researched PCMs for a duration while doing the project. I moved from organic paraffin wax based ones to salt hydrates and so on. Ultimately I decided that using more environmentally friendly sources such as vegetable and animal fat PCMs would be better due to their stability, sustainability, re-use and wide temperature range. Also it occurred to me that it was possible for these PCMs to be locally manufactured and sourced by farmers, making it possible for them to benefit from the mix as well.

Q: Which PCM are you using and how is it contained?

Sunil basket cutawayA: After getting in contact with your associates at Entropy Solutions, I decided that PureTemp 8 from your range was the most appropriate due to it being agriculturally sourced and having a great heat storage capacity of 178J/g. It was also important that the PCMs be cooled passively at similar temperatures that ice are stored and manufactured in. In this case it was so that Ice vendors were still inclusive in process and could supply and recharge the PCM packs using their facilities at a fixed lease based price to the fish vendors. The fish vendors in turn would use the packs and return them in the evening for recharging, creating a harmonious cold chain.

I decided macroencapsulation was the best and most secure way to go using the plastic pouch method. On top of this the pouches [shown in yellow in cutaway drawing] would sit inside thin sheet metal aluminum containers, adding an extra layer of protection while still allowing for heat conduction
.

Q: What if any insulation material is used in the cooler?

A: The majority of the insulation comes from the medium grade EPS that makes up the main body of the basket. This is a common and cheap material used in the fishing trade and so seemed appropriate. On top of this on the interior the fish sits inside a polyester tarpaulin bag and on the exterior the main body sits inside a secondary woven bamboo basket.

Q: How long did it take you to complete the project, from concept to prototype?

A: About 3½ months. It was part of our second semester and made up our final major project.

Q: What do you estimate the retail cost might be, when in full production?

A: I designed and planned the cooler in such a way for minimal cost with maximum effect. I truly made use of the fruits of India's economy when considering how to do this. All materials are locally sourced and in abundance either by methods of cheap manufacture or locally available materials making it easy to repair and easy/cheap to replace.

On top of this I took into consideration the consumption styles of vendors and realized that what might work best was a lease-based platform. In this case the vendors could buy the basket outright for a small price and were given the opportunity to lease/purchase the PCM packs and display assembly if they required it. All costs considered, I estimate the vendors expenses would be no more than 20 rupees a week.


Q: Do you have plans to commercialize the cooler?

A: A few companies have shown interest in commercializing the cooler. However while it shows great promise and practicality, for now it is just a concept and has room for development and improvement, if it is to be successfully implemented. I believe in an open sourcing philosophy, especially when it comes to the potential for my target audience that it could help.

Q: What do you plan to do with the £500 prize?

A: I plan on using it to re-invest in my career, however I’m not sure entirely how. I might purchase a new laptop, or I could possibly use it for a plane ticket if the opportunity to take my work elsewhere calls!

PCM wood flooring concept is finalist for Schweighofer Prize

Ben Welter - Friday, June 09, 2017

A Canadian Ph.D. student who wants to develop PCM-enhanced engineered wood flooring is one of six finalists for the 2017 Schweighofer Prize Student Award. 

Damien Mathis of Laval University in Quebec proposes flooring with a layer of solid-solid PCMs, which would allow the boards to be cut and installed without the risk of leakage associated with solid-liquid PCMs. He envisions a product with four times the thermal mass of standard EWF.

"I'm planning to use new solid-solid PCMs that are currently in development," he said in an interview. "It's nonflammable white powder with a PC enthalpy of ~100 J/g."

The Schweighofer Prize recognizes innovative ideas, technologies, products and services aimed at strengthening Europe's wood products industry. The winner in the student category, which will be determined in part by online voting, will be honored at an awards ceremony June 20 in Vienna. A prize of 5,000 euros accompanies the award.  

https://www.schweighofer-prize.org/student_award/?lang=EN

PCM-enhanced table selected for French accelerator program

Ben Welter - Friday, June 09, 2017

Table ClimatiqueA table designed to reduce energy costs by absorbing heat when indoor temperatures rise above a comfortable level is among 25 innovations chosen for FAIRE Paris, an accelerator program supporting "innovative urban design and architecture projects" in France. 

"Table Climatique," designed by Jean-Sébastien Lagrange and Raphaël Ménard, contains microencapsulated Micronal phase change material within triangular folds of lightweight anodized aluminum. The PCM has a melting point of 22º Celsius. It releases heat when temperatures fall below a comfortable level.

"The waved geometry of the conductive aluminum fosters thermal exchanges between the room and the PCMs located inside the Climatic Table," according to the creators' website. "The folds of the light-weight sheet of aluminum give also an excellent structural rigidity and carrying strength. Thus, the plateau might have a very large span."

Ménard and Lagrange hope to develop a line of "zero energy furniture" products based on the table.  

http://www.faireparis.com/en/

PCM briefing: Outlast introduces Xelerate fabric; Warmilu signs 2 distributors

Ben Welter - Friday, May 19, 2017

Drawing of Outlast Xelerate

Outlast Europe's Martin Bentz spoke with T.EVO magazine this month about the company's new Xelerate fabric. The fabric, introduced at a German trade fair earlier this year, incorporates "heat spreader" technology, a process traditionally known for cooling electronic devices. Xelerate fabric features improved thermal conductivity, Bentz said, and is suitable for home textiles, sportswear and protective gear. In an email exchange with Phase Change Matters, Bentz declined to discuss specific partners or customers.

Warmilu, maker of the IncuBlanket infant warmer, reports that is on track for $300,000 in total 2017 sales after signing two distributors for Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia: Relief for Africa Foundation and Maternova. The IncuBlanket, which has been successfully tested in clinical trials in India, uses packs filled with sodium acetate trihydrate to keep infants warm for up to five hours. CEO Grace Hsia says the device recently cleared its first regulatory filing with Kenya's Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

Axiom Exergy has won a Gold Stevie for Energy Innovation in the 15th annual American Business Awards. Axiom's "refrigeration battery" enables supermarkets and food warehouses to store thermal energy at night when power is cheaper. The system, which uses salt-based phase change material, reduces peak power usage by up to 40 percent.

• Registration is open for IFAI's Expo 2017, set for Sept. 27-29 in New Orleans. The Industrial Fabrics Association International show will feature sessions on smart fabrics, military procurement, biomimesis and green certification.   

Pelican BioThermal has introduced a new Series 22 Universal system for its Credo brand of shippers. The system uses a dual PCM coolant system designed to be operational throughout the year.

National Law Review offers a fresh overview of green chemistry laws across the United States. "State chemical control regimes," the authors conclude, "are likely to increase cost and foster confusion about chemical safety, which is one reason that Congress agreed to modernize TSCA by adopting LCSA."

Monodraught's Cool-phase ventilation and cooling system was among the finalists honored at the National CSR Awards in London this week. The hybrid system, which won a "One to Watch" award, uses PCMs to store and release thermal energy, providing a free cooling load and reducing energy and maintenance costs.

• The agenda has been released for the 15th Cold Chain Global Forum to be held Sept. 25-29 in Chicago. Frank Butch, director of engineering at Sonoco ThermoSafe, will lead a master class on temperature assurance packaging certification.

Bloomberg BNA is offering a free webinar June 12: "Reviewing New Chemicals under Amended TSCA: Impact on Innovation." 

Outlast Europe's Martin Bentz spoke with T.EVO magazine this month about the company's new Xelerate fabric (shown below). The fabric, introduced at a German trade fair earlier this year, incorporates "heat spreader" technology, a process traditionally known for cooling electronic devices. Xelerate fabric features improved thermal conductivity, Bentz said, and is suitable for home textiles, sportswear and protective gear. In an email exchange with Phase Change Matters, Bentz declined to discuss specific partners or customers.

PCM briefing: MiraCradle wins commercialization award; ThermoSafe introduces Certis 2-Day Platform

Ben Welter - Friday, May 12, 2017

Pluss Advanced Technologies of India has won a Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises award for successful commercialization of the MiraCradle, a low-cost passive cooling device for treating newborns suffering from birth asphyxia. India's president, Pranab Mukherjee, presented the award Thursday at a National Technology Day event in New Delhi. The device uses form-stable inorganic phase change materials.

Energy Storage North America is seeking nominations for its 2017 Innovation Awards. Thermal storage projects are eligible. Winners will be honored at ESNA's annual conference and expo, Aug. 8-10 in San Diego, Calif. The deadline for entering is June 2.

Sonoco ThermoSafe has expanded the Certis brand of one-way shipping solutions to include a two-day platform for the distribution of pharmaceutical and biological products. Like its three- and five-day predecessors, the Certis 2-Day Platform employs the same pack-out for 2-8° C, 15-25° C and frozen shipments. It uses just four shippers and three types of phase change material to create 12 shipping solutions.

Entropy Solutions, maker of PureTemp phase change materials, will be among the companies honored with a Eureka! Innovation Award at a reception in June. The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal awards program, now in its fourth year, recognizes "game-changing" Minnesota businesses in energy, manufacturing, media, health care, product design, engineering, architecture and other categories.

SupplyChainBrain recently spoke with supply chain executives about about the tools, talents and techniques needed to create accurate and responsive demand forecasts. Jane Kaiser, director of North American supply chain planning for Monsanto, cites collaborative forecasting as one way suppliers and customers can succeed. "It’s a question of [better] data mining, being truthful with each other, talking to one another," said Kaiser.

• As air freight rates remain high and capacity tightens, more temperature-sensitive medicines are moving by ocean freight, writes Cathy Robertson of Logistics Trends & Insights.

• New from QYResearch: "Global Phase Change Materials Market Forecast 2017-2022 Industry DuPont, BASF SE, Royal Dutch Shell, Climator Sweden."

• A seminar titled "PCM and Thermal Energy Storage: Characterization of TES Materials by Thermal Analysis, Calorimetry and Thermal Conductivity" will be held in Milan and Naples next week. The free seminar, presented by Automation Ltd. in collaboration with Milan Polytechnic and others, will focus on how the thermal analysis, calorimetric and thermal conductivity methods can be used to investigate the different TES techniques and to characterize the transitions or reactions of typically used materials (fatty acids, paraffins, organic substances, inorganic salts, adsorbents, clathrates).

• In a piece written for North American Clean Energy, Axiom Exergy's Ryan Anderson outlines the benefits of thermal energy storage systems. Saltwater-based systems, he writes, avoid "many of the often hidden, balance of systems costs that electrochemical or flow batteries must account for, such as power converters, fire suppression, and interconnection charges/regulatory time."

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PCM briefing: SunDanzer awarded funding to develop field fridge; registration open for REACH training

Ben Welter - Friday, April 28, 2017

Paragon Space Development and partner SunDanzer of Tucson, Ariz., recently were awarded a research contract worth about $150,000 by the U.S. Special Operations Command to design a portable refrigerator to store blood and medications safely in the field. Components will include advanced compressors and phase change material.

New York State's "Reforming the Energy Vision" program is offering $15.5 million in funding for the research and demonstration of energy storage projects that support renewable energy, ease peak power grid demand and help customers save money. The REV initiative is an effort to pave the way for utilities, homeowners and businesses to adopt renewable energy technology more easily.

• A coalition of more than 300 businesses and organizations in Europe, including property firms CBRE and Colliers International, is calling for ambitious “national renovation strategies” that set out clear targets on transforming existing buildings in order to meet the targets laid out in the Paris Agreement.

Chemical Watch is offering a five-day REACH training course in four cities this year: London, Cambridge, Chicago and Vienna. The main focus of the course is to give participants a practical overview of the key tasks imposed by REACH, including strategies for meeting the registration deadline in 2018.

CHEMTREC is among the exhibitors at next week's Council on Safe Transportation of Hazardous Articles conference and expo in Scottsdale, Ariz.

• The American Chemistry Council's Chemistry Activity Barometer has posted strong year-over-year gains since Jan. 1, suggesting continued growth through the end of the year. "This index has been a good coincident [and] at times leading indicator of both industrial production and overall economic growth," writes industry observer Scott Grannis, "and it continues to point to rising industrial production and continued growth of the U.S. economy."

• Thermal risk expert EkkoSense's survey of 128 U.K. data centers found that 66 percent of installed cooling equipment "is not actually delivering any active cooling benefits." EkkoSense cited poor airflow management and a failure to actively monitor and report rack temperatures. 

AkzoNobel has selected 20 finalists for its Imagine Chemistry initiative, launched earlier this year to help solve real-life chemistry-related challenges and to uncover sustainable opportunities for the company’s specialty chemicals business. The finalists will participate in a three-day event starting June 1 at AkzoNobel’s research facility in Deventer, Netherlands, where they will be supported by technical and business development experts to further develop their concepts.

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.