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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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Patent application: Cordless tool system

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 31, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170149254 (applicant Chervon Ltd., Hong Kong): 

"A tool discharges one battery pack and a charger simultaneously charges another battery pack to provide for continuous and circular operation of the tool. Tool system includes a tool and a lithium based battery pack having a nominal voltage of at least 56 volts for supplying power to the tool. A heat absorbing device is associated with the battery pack and includes a phase-change material. ... [The] phase-change material comprises a mixture of sodium acetate, sodium dodecyl benzene sulfonate, carboxymethyl cellulose, and sodium carbonate."

Research roundup: Fast charging with expanded graphite; rebar corrosion in PCM-enhanced concrete; hybrid cooling vest; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Fast charging of thermal energy storage systems enabled by phase change materials mixed with expanded graphite [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Synthesis and characterization of a narrow size distribution nano phase change material emulsion for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy]

Analysis of the effects of use of thermal energy storage device (TESD) in solar air heater [Alexandria Engineering Journal]

Experiment and simulation of thermal management for a tube-shell Li-ion battery pack with composite phase change material [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Novel model for the prediction of SSLE temperatures and crystallization paths of any mixture containing palmitic, stearic, oleic, linoleic and linolenic acid [Thermochimica Acta]

A review on recent advancements in photovoltaic thermal techniques [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

A comparative study on corrosion behavior of rebar in concrete with fatty acid additive as phase change material [Construction and Building Materials]

Novel phase change materials based on fatty acid eutectics and triallyl isocyanurate composites for thermal energy storage [Journal of Applied Polymer Science]

Optimal cooling intervention for construction workers in a hot and humid environment [Building and Environment]

PCM briefing: Encapsulation market projected to hit $17.9 billion; report casts shadow on solar-plus-storage

Ben Welter - Monday, February 27, 2017

• The global microencapsulation market is expected to reach $17.94 billion by 2025, according to a new report from Grand View Research. Microtek Laboratories, Encapsys, BASF and Aveka Inc. are among the companies profiled in the report, "Microencapsulation Market Estimates & Trend Analysis By Application (Pharmaceutical, Household Product, Agrochemical, Food Additive, Phase Change Material), By Region (North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, RoW), And Segment Forecasts, 2014 - 2025"

• A Rochester Institute of Technology study casts a shadow on the economics of residential solar-plus-storage. The conclusion: A customer must face high electricity bills and unfavorable net metering or feed-in policies for "grid defection" to work. 

• New from Transparency Market Research: "Reusable Ice Packs Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2016-2024"

• New from QYResearch: "China Bio-Based Phase Change Materials Market Research Report 2017"

A one-day workshop on energy storage for building, solar and wind sectors will be held March 4 at Anna University in Chennai, India. Topics include integration of PCMs for passive cooling in buildings, energy-efficient cool thermal energy storage systems and thermal energy storage technologies for solar applications. 

The National Law Review has posted a detailed update on implementation of the newly revised Toxic Substances Control Act. A key takeaway: Resource and budgetary constraints under the Trump administration could have an impact on the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to implement the new provisions.

• The latest issue of Chemical & Engineering News features a piece on “natural catalysts” derived from wild plants, mud and earthworms. 

Samit Jain, director at Pluss Advanced Technologies, talks about his company’s pharma logistics products in an interview with India's Financial Express.

Research roundup: New way to measure specific heat capacity; PCM underfloor heating; metal foams; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 14, 2017

New proposed methodology for specific heat capacity determination of materials for thermal energy storage (TES) by DSC [Journal of Energy Storage]

Thermal diffusivity measurement of erythritol and numerical analysis of heat storage performance on a fin-type heat exchanger [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Benefits of PCM underfloor heating with PCM wallboards for space heating in winter [Applied Energy]

Non-steady experimental investigation on an integrated thermal management system for power battery with phase change materials [Energy Conversion and Management]

Experimental investigation on heat transfer characteristics during melting of a phase change material with dispersed TiO2 nanoparticles in a rectangular enclosure [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Numerical method and model for calculating thermal storage time for an annular tube with phase change material [Journal of Central South Florida]

Stratified Laboratory Thermal Energy Storage (LabTES) Tank Experiments: Sensible Only and Sensible Augmented with PCM-Filled Tubes [University of Cincinnati master's thesis]

Development and optimization of PCM-based technology for cooling applications for improvement of fuel efficiency in commercial vehicle [SAE World Congress Experience]

Establishment and experimental verification of TRNSYS model for PCM floor coupled with solar water heating system [Energy and Buildings]

Thermal Performance Enhancement of Phase Change Materials (PCMs) by Using Metal Foams [Al-Nahrain Journal for Engineering Sciences]

Research roundup: Battery thermal management; plastic greenhouse thermal modeling; cementitious composites; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Investigation of phase change material based battery thermal management at cold temperature using lattice Boltzmann method [Energy Conversion and Management]

A study on thermal calculation method for a plastic greenhouse with solar energy storage and heating [Solar Energy]

Assessing the feasibility of integrating form-stable phase change material composites with cementitious composites and prevention of PCM leakage [Materials Letters]

Expanded graphite/disodium hydrogen phosphate/sodium acetate trihydrate stabilized composite phase change material for heat storage [pdf] [Journal of Thermal Science and Technology]

Coupling of solar reflective cool roofing solutions with sub-surface phase change materials (PCM) to avoid condensation and biological growth [Environmental Science and Sustainable Development]

Experimental Study on Thermal Performance Improvement of Envelop Integrated with Phase Change Material in Air-conditioned Room [International High Performance Buildings Conference]

Research roundup: Inorganic PCMs for thermal storage; battery thermal management; α nano alumina; more

Ben Welter - Friday, December 16, 2016

A review on current status and challenges of inorganic phase change materials for thermal energy storage systems [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Development of Phase Change Materials for Refrigerated Transportation of Fruits and Vegetables [International Conference on Computational Modeling, Simulation and Applied Mathematics]

Numerical study on solid–liquid phase change in paraffin as phase change material for battery thermal management [Science Bulletin]

Comparative study of two weir type cascade solar stills with and without PCM storage using energy and exergy analysis [Energy Conversion and Management]

Thermal conductivity enhancement of treated petroleum waxes, as phase change material, by α nano alumina: Energy storage [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

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: 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.

Research roundup: Fire-resistant polyether PCM; numerical simulation of packed-bed system; direct transesterification; more

Ben Welter - Monday, October 10, 2016

From Energy Storage Materials:

Novel Hybrid Form-stable Polyether Phase Change Materials with Good Fire Resistance
Experimental and numerical investigations on a flexible paraffin/fiber composite phase change material for thermal therapy mask

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Binary eutectic mixtures of stearic acid-n-butyramide/n - octanamide as phase change materials for low temperature solar heat storage
The effect of forced convection and PCM on helmets’ thermal performance in hot and arid environments
Numerical and Statistical Study on Melting of Nanoparticle Enhanced Phase Change Material in a Shell-and-Tube Thermal Energy Storage System

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

Numerical simulation of a PCM packed bed system: A review

From Thermochimica Acta:

Production of PEG grafted PAN copolymers and their electrospun nanowebs as novel thermal energy storage materials

From Construction and Building Materials:

Influence of adding phase change materials on the physical and mechanical properties of cement mortars
Application and verification of direct transesterification as a method to quantify fatty acids in cement and concrete

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Thermal management of a LiFePO4 battery pack at high temperature environment using a composite of phase change materials and aluminum wire mesh plates

From International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer:

Numerical investigation of transient thermal behavior of a wall incorporating a phase change material via a hybrid scheme

From Applied Energy:

Experimental testing of a hybrid sensible-latent heat storage system for domestic hot water applications

From Energy and Buildings:

Investigation of PCM as retrofitting option to enhance occupant thermal comfort in a modern residential building

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Exergy analysis of cascaded encapsulated phase change material—High-temperature thermal energy storage systems

Research roundup: Commercialization of PCMs; nickel foam-paraffin composite; CFD simulation of spherical capsule; more

Ben Welter - Monday, September 19, 2016

Review of current state of research on energy storage, toxicity, health hazards and commercialization of phase changing materials [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Experimental investigation of a passive thermal management system for high-powered lithium ion batteries using nickel foam-paraffin composite [Energy]

Assessing the thermal performance of three cold energy storage materials with low eutectic temperature for food cold chain [Energy]

CFD simulation of melting process of phase change materials (PCMs) in a spherical capsule [International Journal of Refrigeration]

Thermophysical Properties of Multifunctional Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymer Composites Incorporating Phase Change Materials [Thermochimica Acta]

Experimental study of evacuated tube collector/storage system containing paraffin as a PCM [Energy]