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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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PCM briefing: Axiotherm wins smarter E Award; update on Malta thermal battery project

Ben Welter - Friday, May 17, 2019

Axiotherm GmbH of Germany was among the winners at this year's smarter E Awards in Munich. Axiotherm was honored in the renewable energy category for kraftBoxx, a thermal energy storage system that uses phase change technology for heating and hot water. The company says kraftBoxx has a higher energy storage capacity than conventional heat and cold storage systems. KraftBoxx is a joint development with Klara Energy and Tuxhorn within the scope of the PCM-based HeatSel product line marketed by Axiotherm. 

China says it will raise tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods June 1, including palmitic acid, stearic acid and their salts and esters. The move is response to the U.S. tariff hike on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that took effect on May 10.  

• In an interview with SolarPACES, Malta Inc. engineer Sebastian Freund provides an update on the Massachusetts company's plans to develop a standalone thermal storage battery using molten salts. “We plan to build a pilot plant with 10MW power and at least six hours of storage duration, depending on customer specifications,” Freund said. Malta hopes to attract enough investors over the next three years to complete an 80MWh thermal energy storage pilot.

Research roundup: High-conductivity nanomaterials; paper board packaging; battery thermal management; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, May 16, 2019

From Heat and Mass Transfer:

Experimental and numerical analysis of composite latent heat storage in cooling systems for power electronics

From Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology:

A robust, flexible superhydrophobic sheet fabricated by in situ growth of micro-nano-SiO2 particles from cured silicone rubber

From Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry:

High-conductivity nanomaterials for enhancing thermal performance of latent heat thermal energy storage systems

From Building Simulation:

Optimization and sensitivity analysis of design parameters for a ventilation system using phase change materials

From Journal of Packaging Technology and Research:

Thermal Analysis of Paper Board Packaging with Phase Change Material: A Numerical Study

From Energy Storage:

Thermal performance of battery thermal management system using composite matrix coupled with mini‐channel

From Phase Transitions:

A study on preparation and properties of carbon materials/myristic acid composite phase change thermal energy storage materials

From ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces:

Melamine Foam Supported Form-stable Phase Change Materials with Simultaneous Thermal Energy Storage and Shape Memory Property for Thermal Management of Electronic Devices

From International Conference on Thermal Engineering:

Performance Enhancement of Unitary and Packaged Air Conditioners With Phase Change Material
Performance Comparison of Different Phase Change Materials For Solar Cooking During off Sun Sunshine Hours
A Review on Enhancement of Thermophysical Properties of Paraffin Wax PCM With Nanomaterials
Nano-Enhanced PCMs for Low Temperature Thermal Energy Storage Systems and Passive Conditioning Applications

From Chemistry Select:

Designing Coconut Oil Encapsulated Poly(stearyl methacrylate‐co‐hydroxylethyl metacrylate) Based Microcapsule for Phase Change Materials

From Evolution in Polymer Technology Journal:

Enhancement of Thermo-Regulating Textile Materials Using Phase Change Material

From Materials Research Express:

Improved thermal characteristics of Ag nanoparticles dispersed myristic acid as composite for low temperature thermal energy storage

From Applied Energy:

On the performance of ground coupled seasonal thermal energy storage for heating and cooling: A Canadian context

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Thermal stability enhancement of d-mannitol for latent heat storage applications

Research roundup: Zinc oxide coating; TEG-PCM power enhancement; graphen-oxide aerogel beads; more

Ben Welter - Friday, May 10, 2019

From Advanced Materials Interfaces:

Doubly Coated, Organic–Inorganic Paraffin Phase Change Materials: Zinc Oxide Coating of Hermetically Encapsulated Paraffins

From Applied Energy:

Efficiency analysis and experimental validation of the ocean thermal energy conversion with phase change material for underwater vehicle
A numerical and experimental analysis of an integrated TEG-PCM power enhancement system for photovoltaic cells
Molten salt selection methodology for medium temperature liquid air energy storage application

From Applied Energy Materials:

Graphene-Oxide Aerogel Beads Filled with Phase Change Material for Latent Heat Storage and Release

From Journal of Wuhan University of Technology:

Effect of Modified Vermiculite on the Interface of a Capric Acid-expanded Vermiculite Composite Phase Change Material with Phase Transition Kinetics

From Journal of Molecular Liquids:

Numerical simulation of the melting process of nanostructured based colloidal suspensions phase change materials including the effect of the transport of the particles

From Fibers and Polymers:

Encapsulated Phase Change Material Embedded by Graphene Powders for Smart and Flexible Thermal Response

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Influence of orientation on thermal performance of shell and tube latent heat storage unit

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Development and validation of the numerical model of an innovative PCM based thermal storage system

From 2nd International Conference on Power, Energy and Environment:

Feasibility Study of the Application of a Latent Heat Storage in a Solar Dryer for Drying Green Chili

From Solar Energy:

Tetradecyl oxalate and octadecyl oxalate as novel phase change materials for thermal energy storage
An analytical and comparative study of the charging and discharging processes in a latent heat thermal storage tank for solar water heater system
Effect of alkaline pH on formation of lauric acid/SiO2 nanocapsules via sol-gel process for solar energy storage

From Journal of Applied Polymer Science:

Preparation and characterization of paraffin microcapsules for energy‐saving applications

From Energy:

Flexible heatsink based on a phase-change material for a wearable thermoelectric generator

From Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology:

Superior Form-Stable Phase Change Material Made with Graphene-Connected Carbon Nanofibers and Fatty Acid Eutectics

From Construction and Building Materials:

Thermal and rheological characterization of bitumen modified with microencapsulated phase change materials

From Thermochimica Acta:

Development of spherical α-Al2O3-based composite phase change materials (PCMs) and its utilization in thermal storage building materials

From Journal of Power Sources:

Thermophysical properties of trimethylolethane (TME) hydrate as phase change material for cooling lithium-ion battery in electric vehicle

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Applications of cascaded phase change materials in solar water collector storage tanks: A review
Thermal conductivity enhancement of hydrated salt phase change materials employing copper foam as the supporting material

Patent application: Thermal barrier for a battery

Ben Welter - Friday, May 03, 2019

Hutchinson patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20190131675 (applicant Hutchinson SA, Paris, France):

"A thermal barrier to maintain the temperature of a battery. The barrier comprises elements with respectively cold and hot PCM materials, and elements, thermal isolators, arranged at least in case of some between two of the PCM material elements. ... With regard to the hot and cold PCM elements respectively, for two types of batteries for example, operating favourably at between 25° C. and 35° C. and between 45° C. and 55° C. (all to within 15%), it will in particular be possible to use encapsulated PCMs (typically microencapsulated) in a porous, open-pore matrix, preferably of the elastomer type, such as based on NBR and HNBR silicone."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190131675.pdf

Research roundup: Surface functionalization of composite PCM; EnergyPlus optimization; direct expansion solar heat pump; more

Ben Welter - Friday, April 26, 2019

From Applied Surface Science:

Effects of surface functionalization on thermal and mechanical properties of graphene/polyethylene glycol composite phase change materials

From Applied Energy:

Facile flexible reversible thermochromic membranes based on micro/nanoencapsulated phase change materials for wearable temperature sensor
Shape-remodeled macrocapsule of phase change materials for thermal energy storage and thermal management
Investigation on the thermal performance of a high temperature packed bed thermal energy storage system containing carbonate salt based composite phase change materials
Toward a new method for the design of combined sensible/latent thermal-energy storage using non-dimensional analysis
Strategic control and cost optimization of thermal energy storage in buildings using EnergyPlus
Adaptive measures for mitigating urban heat islands: The potential of thermochromic materials to control roofing energy balance

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Poly(styrene-co-divinylbenzene-co-acrylamide)/n-octadecane microencapsulated phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

Recent advances in direct expansion solar assisted heat pump systems: A review
Review on nanoporous composite phase change materials: Fabrication, characterization, enhancement and molecular simulation

From Energy and Buildings:

Experimental Testing of Phase Change Materials in a Warm-Summer Humid Continental Climate

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Development of pentadecane/diatomite and pentadecane/sepiolite nanocomposites fabricated by different compounding methods for thermal energy storage

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Heat transfer performance of graphene nano-platelets laden micro-encapsulated PCM with polymer shell for thermal energy storage based heat sink

From Journal of Applied Polymer Science:

Investigations on thermal properties of microencapsulated phase‐change materials with different acrylate‐based copolymer shells as thermal insulation materials

From Solar Energy:

Experimental investigation on the impact of thermal energy storage on the solar still performance coupled with PV module via new integration

From Thermochimica Acta:

Nanoencapsulated phase change material with polydopamine-SiO2 hybrid shell for tough thermo-regulating rigid polyurethane foam

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Optimization of the detailed factors in a phase-change-material module for battery thermal management

From Journal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering :

A review on the best practices in concrete pavement design and materials in wet-freeze climates similar to Michigan

From Case Studies in Thermal Engineering:

Study of a passive solar air heater using palm oil and paraffin as storage media

From Acta Microscopica:

Preparation of Graphene Hybrid Material and Thermal Properties of Polymer Composites

Patent application: Removable sticker for cooling hot spots in cellular phones

Ben Welter - Saturday, March 23, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190086158 (inventor James Hirschfeld, Delray Beach, Fla.):

"A removable cooling sticker secured to the surface of a cellular telephone for extraction of heat from the cellular telephone. The cooling sticker is thin and sized to be conveniently carried. [Using phase change material as the active heat extraction material,] the cooling sticker is adhered to the cellular telephone at its hot spot for maximum efficiency. An optional feature employs thermal strips that indicate when the electronic device is exceeding a temperature threshold sticker."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190086158.pdf

Research roundup: Poly (methyl methacrylate) shell; calcium carbonate shell; macroscopic composite cement mortars; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 19, 2019

From Energy Procedia:

Development of microencapsulated phase change material with poly (methyl methacrylate) shell for thermal energy storage
Supercooling study of erythritol/EG composite phase change materials
Thermal performance of pouch Lithium-ion battery module cooled by phase change materials
Active cooling based battery thermal management using composite phase change materials
Investigation on Thermal Performance of an Integrated Phase Change Material Blind System for Double Skin Facade Buildings
Experimental study on preparation of a novel foamed cement with paraffin/ expanded graphite composite phase change thermal energy storage material

From Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects:

Synthesis and performance evaluation of paraffin microcapsules with calcium carbonate shell modulated by different anionic surfactants for thermal energy storage

From Journal of Materials Chemistry A:

A novel shape-stabilization strategy for phase change thermal energy storage

From Journal of Molecular Liquids:

Melting of phase change materials in a trapezoidal cavity: Orientation and nanoparticles effects

From Energy and Buildings:

Development of new nano-enhanced phase change materials (NEPCM) to improve energy efficiency in buildings: lab-scale characterization

From Applied Sciences:

Efficient Characterization of Macroscopic Composite Cement Mortars with Various Contents of Phase Change Material

From Solar Energy:

Modelling and performance analysis of a new concept of integral collector storage (ICS) with phase change material

Research roundup: PCM wallboard; cement mortars; electric load shifting; red-mud geopolymer composite; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 27, 2019

From Renewable Energy:

Phase Change Material Wallboard (PCMW) melting temperature optimisation for passive indoor temperature control

From Cement and Concrete Research:

Multiphysics analysis of effects of encapsulated phase change materials (PCMs) in cement mortars

From Journal of Molecular Liquids:

Preparation and characterization of sodium sulfate pentahydrate/sodium pyrophosphate composite phase change energy storage materials

From Energy and Buildings:

Performance of heat pump integrated phase change material thermal storage for electric load shifting in building demand side management
Indoor thermal comfort assessment using PCM based storage system integrated with ceiling fan ventilation: Experimental design and response surface approach

From International Journal of Photoenergy:

Experimental Study on the Performance of a Phase Change Slurry-Based Heat Pipe Solar Photovoltaic/Thermal Cogeneration System

From Solar Energy:

Effects of sodium nitrate concentration on thermophysical properties of solar salts and on the thermal energy storage cost
Red-mud geopolymer composite encapsulated phase change material for thermal comfort in built-sector [pdf]

From Energies:

A Novel Encapsulation Method for Phase Change Materials with a AgBr Shell as a Thermal Energy Storage Material

From Advanced Composites and Hybrid Materials:

Latent heat and thermal conductivity enhancements in polyethylene glycol/polyethylene glycol-grafted graphene oxide composites

From International Journal of Refrigeration:

Preparation and performance of form-stable TBAB hydrate/SiO2 composite PCM for cold energy storage

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Delignified wood/capric acid-palmitic acid mixture stable-form phase change material for thermal storage
Molten salt corrosion mechanisms of nitrate based thermal energy storage materials for concentrated solar power plants: A review

From Buildings:

Thermal Performance of Hollow-Core Slab Ventilation System with Macro-Encapsulated Phase-Change Materials in Supply Air Duct

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Heat transfer performance of the finned nano-enhanced phase change material system under the inclination influence

From Journal of the Electrochemical Society:

Effect of High Temperature Circumstance on Lithium-Ion Battery and the Application of Phase Change Material

From Energy:

High-temperature PCM-based thermal energy storage for industrial furnaces installed in energy-intensive industries

PCM mats helped lift Virginia Tech to first place in Solar Decathlon

Ben Welter - Monday, February 18, 2019

FutureHAUS, front elevation

The Virginia Tech team that won first place in the 2018 Solar Decathlon Middle East credits a good share of its success to the deft use of phase change material donated by Insolcorp LLC of New London, N.C.

FutureHAUS, the lone U.S. entry, topped 13 other finalists and more than 60 total entrants in the competition organized by the U.S. Department of Energy and the United Arab Emirates’ Dubai Electricity & Water Authority. Australia's University of Wollongong finished second. The finals took place in November in the desert heat of Dubai.

Insolcorp donated 400 square feet of two types of Infinite R PCM mats. Both are salt hydrates, one with a melt point of 21 degrees Celsius, the other a melt point of 22 degrees C. The phase change material acts as a thermal battery, absorbing and releasing thermal energy as it solidifies and melts.

The Virginia Tech team deployed the mats in the plenum of its 900-square-foot solar-powered house. The PCM allowed the team to take advantage of a rule that limited the use of solar energy to 8kw at any one time, with one exception: Unlimited use of solar energy for air conditioning was allowed during daily inspection periods to assure visitor comfort. The PCM mats, solidified during those periods, helped keep the house comfortable at other times. That helped the FutureHAUS achieve the highest score in net energy use, a key metric in the competition.

Joseph Wheeler, AIA"Every team struggled with the 8kw limit," said Joseph Wheeler, right, lead faculty on FutureHAUS and co-director of Virginia Tech's Center for Design Research. "Typically, during peak energy, you would be generating lots and lots of power, which you could easily charge your batteries with, which you could easily run all your tasks, and you could feed the grid, and build up quite a bit of surplus so that you would remain energy positive throughout the two weeks of competition.

"But, since they limited inverter use at any one time to 8kw, it really put a limit to what our energy budget was. We saw phase change as batteries. A massive ton of batteries. ... It's more of a strategy for a competition than it is for a realized situation. But in a realized situation, we know the value of the PCM. Heat energy, cost of power being cheaper at night than during the day where you can charge your systems and load shift. Practically, PCMs make a lot of sense. And we wanted to have the PCMs in this house for practical reasons, not just for competition reasons. ...

"In simple terms, we eased the demand for the HVAC every afternoon. It was the hottest time of the day and it was also the time when we were getting less power from the solar panels because the sun was moving down. It was a critical time because we knew that once the sun went down, we had to survive on battery. And we had a limit. They limited every house to 15kw of battery."

FutureHAUS, kitchenThe FutureHAUS team finished in the top three in eight of the competition's 10 categories: first place in Architecture, House Functioning and Sustainable Transportation; second place in Sustainability and Innovation; and third place in Engineering/Construction, Energy Efficiency and Comfort Conditions.

The FutureHAUS entry was a two-year university-wide effort. More than 100 Virginia Tech students helped design and build the structure, with help from faculty members in architecture, urban studies, science, engineering and other departments.

The house consists of 18 modular  "cartridges" built inside a Virginia Tech research facility. It was first assembled on campus in Blacksburg, Va., last summer. After testing, it was disassembled, shipped to Dubai and then reassembled at the competition site in just two days. It has since been shipped back to Blacksburg, where it will undergo testing to measure its various energy-saving components.

"We now have a system in place where we can collect data and can truly test the performance," Wheeler said. "We know the PCM worked for us during the competition because we did have some temperature sensors in the ceiling. And so we were able to prove that we were reaching the pre-state when those PCMs were being charged. But we really want to collect a lot more data and look at it in real-world situations."

Patent application: Battery pack containing phase change material

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 14, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190051955 (applicant Consortium de Recherche BRP / Universite de Sherbrooke, Canada):

"A battery pack for a vehicle is presented. The battery pack comprises a plurality of bricks, each brick of the plurality of bricks comprising a phase change material block, a side of the phase change material block defining a plurality of channels, and a plurality of battery cells, each battery cell being disposed at least in part in the phase change material block; and at least one connector for electrically connecting a first one of the plurality of bricks to a second one of the plurality of bricks, the at least one connector being disposed at least partially in one of the plurality of channels."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190051955.pdf