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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.




C-Therm offers free webinar on characterizing PCMs for TES and thermal management of batteries

Ben Welter - Tuesday, July 31, 2018

C-Therm Technologies is hosting a free webinar this week on recent research on composite phase change materials for thermal energy storage and battery thermal management. C-Therm’s MTPS method for thermal conductivity characterization of PCMs was used in the research. The webinar, "Characterizing Phase Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage and Improved Battery Thermal Management," will be held at 1 p.m. EDT Thursday, Aug. 2.

Research roundup: Silicon carbide for battery thermal management; Stefan moving boundary models; alkali nitrate/nitrite salts; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, July 24, 2018

From Renewable Energy:

Using Renewables Coupled with Thermal Energy Storage to Reduce Natural Gas Consumption in Higher Temperature Commercial/Industrial Applications

From Solar Energy:

Development of a solar thermal storage cum cooking device using salt hydrate

From Applied Energy:

One-step fabrication of fatty acids/nano copper/polyester shape-stable composite phase change material for thermal energy management and storage
Palmitic acid/polyvinyl butyral/expanded graphite composites as form-stable phase change materials for solar thermal energy storage

From Chinese Journal of Chemical Engineering:

Preparation and phase change performance of Na2HPO4·12H2O@poly(lactic acid) capsules for thermal energy storage

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Thermal performance of sodium acetate trihydrate based composite phase change material for thermal energy storage
Performance improvement and energy consumption reduction in refrigeration systems using phase change material (PCM)
A thermal conductive composite phase change material with enhanced volume resistivity by introducing silicon carbide for battery thermal management
Numerical and Experimental study on the performance of a new two -layered high-temperature packed-bed thermal energy storage system with changed-diameter macro-encapsulation capsule

From Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects:

Green Nano-encapsulation Technique for Preparation of Phase Change Nanofibers Mats with Core-Sheath Structure
From International Journal of Thermal Sciences:

Analytical and numerical analysis of PCM solidification inside a rectangular finned container with time-dependent boundary condition

From Construction and Building Materials:

Elaboration and properties of a composite bio-based PCM for an application in building envelopes

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Lorentz forces effect on NEPCM heat transfer during solidification in a porous energy storage system
A translucent honeycomb solar collector and thermal storage module for building façades

Research roundup: Novel graphite-PCM composite sphere; sunlight-driven energy conversion; PCM-rich concrete overlay; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, July 10, 2018

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

A Novel Graphite-PCM Composite Sphere With Enhanced Thermo-Physical Properties
Fatty acids based eutectic phase change system for thermal energy storage applications

From Applied Energy:

Mathematical modeling and sensitivity analysis of solar photovoltaic panel integrated with phase change material
Compact liquid cooling strategy with phase change materials for Li-ion batteries optimized using response surface methodology
Multi-parameter optimization design of thermoelectric harvester based on phase change material for space generation

From Solar Energy:

Experimental study on the performance of a novel solar water heating system with and without PCM
Latent thermal energy storage for solar process heat applications at medium-high temperatures – A review
Carbon based material included-shaped stabilized phase change materials for sunlight-driven energy conversion and storage: An extensive review

From Construction and Building Materials:

Application of a PCM-rich concrete overlay to control thermal induced curling stresses in concrete pavements

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Energy investigation of glazed windows containing Nano-PCM in different seasons
Transforming a passive house into a net-zero energy house: a case study in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.

Patent application: Heating control method and heating control device for battery structure

Ben Welter - Monday, July 02, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180183115 (applicant Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., Ningde, China):

"A battery system, comprising a battery structure, a heating assembly, and the heating control device according to claim 7, wherein the heating control device is electrically connected with the heating assembly and the battery structure to form a control circuit, and the heating assembly is configured to heat the battery structure under control of the heating control device. ... Preferably, the heating assembly includes a heater, and a resistance of the heater increases as a temperature of the heater increases. Preferably, the heating assembly further includes a phase change material, the heater contacts with the phase change material, the phase change material is capable of changing phase at a phase change temperature, and heat generated by the heater is conducted to the battery structure via the phase change material."

PCM briefing: Neck collar uses Outlast to keep wearer cool; thermally responsive bandage heals wounds quickly

Ben Welter - Monday, June 25, 2018

A new neck collar designed for people living with motor neurone disease features Outlast phase change technology to keep the wearer cool. The Heads Up collar supports the collection of small muscles in the neck that are vulnerable to the wasting effects of the disease.

• A Northwestern University team has developed a thermally responsive bandage that quickly heals painful, hard-to-treat sores in people with diabetes. The bandage features a hydrogel that rapidly solidifies when exposed to body temperature, conforming to the shape of the wound.

• In the short term, analysts say crude palm oil prices have likely hit rock bottom. But a Rabobank analyst is projecting reduced production - and higher prices - from 2022 to 2025. 

•  A call for papers has been issued for the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference Europe, to be held in Strasbourg, France, Jan. 27-31, 2019. "Thermal modeling" and "preventing thermal runaway" are among the topics. The deadline for priority consideration is June 29.

Emily Liu, a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Energy Technologies Office to receive a $1.8 million award to study high-temperature molten-salt properties and corrosion mechanisms.

Dr. Robert Brookins, interim CEO at Alexium International Group Ltd., will present an hourlong webinar, "Phase Change Materials: How Can They Help Set Your Company Apart," on June 28. The free event is sponsored by the Industrial Fabrics Association International.  

• Swedish solar company Azelio has launched a demonstrator of its solar energy storage technology. The system uses an aluminum alloy as a thermal storage material. 

In a new directive, the European Commission is calling for at least 32 percent of total EU energy use to come from renewable sources by 2030. The directive, which will require the formal approval of the European Parliament, sets specific annual targets for cooling and heating installations. 

• The agenda is taking shape for the 13th International Conference on Advanced Building Skins, to be held Oct. 1-2 in Bern, Switzerland. Topics include "Energy buffering with phase change materials" and "Thermal performance of phase change materials for the building skin."

Va-Q-tec AG is expanding its Kölleda location in Thuringia, Germany. The company manufactures vacuum isolation panels, phase change materials and passive thermal packaging systems at two plants there.

• MIT Technology Review reports that Alphabet Inc. (Google's parent company) appears to be in talks to spin out Project Malta, a molten-salt energy storage project, in a transaction involving Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Bill Gates’ $1 billion investment fund.

Research roundup: Natural convection heat transfer; simulation of hysteresis effects; PCM in roofs; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, June 20, 2018

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Effect of using nanoparticles on the performance of thermal energy storage of phase change material coupled with air-conditioning unit
Numerical study on the effect of non-uniform magnetic fields on melting and solidification characteristics of NEPCMs in an annulus enclosure
Solidification behavior of binary eutectic phase change material in a vertical finned thermal storage system dispersed with graphene nano-plates

From International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer:

A method to evaluate natural convection heat transfer in microencapsulated phase change material (MPCM) slurry: An experimental study
Dynamic of plumes and scaling during the melting of a Phase Change Material heated from below

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Experimental investigation of the thermal performance of heat pipe assisted phase change material for battery thermal management system
Low-temperature macro-encapsulated phase change material based thermal energy storage system without air void space design

From Energy and Buildings:

Modeling and experimental validation of an algorithm for simulation of hysteresis effects in phase change materials for building components
Thermal performance and numerical simulation of geopolymer concrete containing different types of thermoregulating materials for passive building applications

From Solar Energy:

How to enhance thermal energy storage effect of PCM in roofs with varying solar reflectance: Experimental and numerical assessment of a new roof system for passive cooling in different climate conditions

From Energy:

A facile approach to synthesize microencapsulated phase change materials embedded with silver nanoparticle for both thermal energy storage and antimicrobial purpose

From Reference Module in Materials Science and Materials Engineering:

Materials, Design and Development of Latent Heat Storage Systems for Medium and Large-Scale Applications: Issues and Challenges

From Physica A: Statistical Mechanics and its Applications:

Melting process in porous media around two hot cylinders: Numerical study using the lattice Boltzmann method

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Synthesis and characterization of chain-extended and branched polyurethane copolymers as form stable phase change materials for solar thermal conversion storage

From Construction and Building Materials:

Investigation of different materials for macroencapsulation of salt hydrate phase change materials for building purposes

From Journal of Energy Storage:

CFD thermal energy storage enhancement of PCM filling a cylindrical cavity equipped with submerged heating sources
Performance analysis of industrial PCM heat storage lab prototype

Patent application: Thermal solution for prismatic lithium ion battery pack

Ben Welter - Monday, June 11, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180159189 (applicant Advanced Energy Technologies LLC, Lakewood, Ohio):

"A lithium ion battery pack includes a plurality of prismatic lithium polymer cells and one or more graphite heat spreaders. Each spreader has at least two major surfaces and is made of one of a sheet of a compressed mass of exfoliated graphite particles, a graphitized polyimide sheet, or combinations thereof. ... In any of the above embodiments, at least one of the spaces between adjacent heat spreaders 36 or between the heat spreader 36 and an adjacent cell 32 may be at least partially filled with a layer of a phase change material."

PCM briefing: Ecozen Solutions wins Ashden Award; Fraunhofer researchers among winners in Imagine Chemistry challenge

Ben Welter - Monday, June 11, 2018

Ecozen cold storage unit

Ecozen Solutions of India, which makes portable solar cold rooms for use on small farms, is one of six international winners in the 2018 Ashden Awards competition. The Ecofrost system's thermal storage unit can store power for more than 36 hours in case of cloudy or rainy weather. The organizations will be honored at a ceremony at the Royal Geographical Society in London on Thursday, June 14. 

Axel Kraft and Martin Peters of Fraunhofer UMSICHT are among the winners of the 2018 AkzoNobel Imagine Chemistry challenge. Kraft and Peters will receive support from LuxResearch to further develop a catalytic process for making alcohols from more sustainable raw materials. Overall, 10 startups and researchers were chosen as winners from a group of 20 finalists at a three-day event held at Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden.

A call for papers has been issued for the 10th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality, Ventilation and Energy Conservation in Buildings. Topics include ventilation strategies and measurement techniques; HVAC systems; smart technologies for zero-energy buildings; and design and energy modeling. Abstracts are due by Nov. 1. The conference will be held Sept. 5-7, 2019, in Bari, Italy.  

• Researchers at the Jülich Solar Tower test facility in Germany have reached a milestone in the development of a new receiver concept for solar tower power plants. During a test of the centrifugal receiver CentRec for the generation and storage of solar high temperature heat, an average particle temperature of 965 degrees Celsius has been measured at the receiver outlet. The bauxite particles used in the system are available at prices that enable cost-effective thermal storage. “The proof of the high operating temperature is an essential condition for the targeted commercialization of this new receiver concept,” said Dr. Reiner Buck, head of solar tower systems at the DLR Institute of Solar Research

• June 15 is the last day to get the early bird rate for this year's Advancements in Thermal Management Conference (Denver, Aug. 8-9). Topics include thermal materials, thermal imaging, thermal characterization, modeling, battery cooling and thermal simulation. Joe Kelly, senior materials scientist at Outlast Technologies, is among the speakers. His topic: "Enhancing Thermal Stability and Performance of Lithium-ion Batteries using Latent Heat Storage (LHS) Technology."

Research roundup: Thermoelectric generator system; solar chimney; novel thermal management system for lithium-ion battery pack; more

Ben Welter - Friday, May 18, 2018

From Energy:

Protection and Thermal Management of Thermoelectric Generator System Using Phase Change Materials: An Experimental Investigation
Performance analysis of a novel thermal management system with composite phase change material for a lithium-ion battery pack

From Solar Energy:

Efficient energy storage technologies for photovoltaic systems
The experimental appraisement of the effect of energy storage on the performance of solar chimney using phase change material

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Improving thermal management of electronic apparatus with paraffin (PA)/expanded graphite (EG)/graphene (GN) composite material
Experimental exploration of incorporating form-stable hydrate salt phase change materials into cement mortar for thermal energy storage

From Thermal Science and Engineering Progress:

Role of Metallic Foam in Heat Storage in the Presence of Nanofluid and MicroEncapsulated Phase Change Material

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Numerical investigation of thermal and optical performance of window units filled with nanoparticle enhanced PCM

From Applied Energy:

Cost estimation and sensitivity analysis of a latent thermal energy storage system for supplementary cooling of air cooled condensers
Influence of design on performance of a latent heat storage system at high temperatures

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Preparation and investigation of distinct and shape stable paraffin/SiO2 composite PCM nanospheres

From Energy and Buildings:

Parametric Analysis of Using PCM Walls for Heating Loads Reduction

Patent application: Electric vehicle powered by capacitive energy storage modules

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 16, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180126857 (applicant: Capacitor Sciences Inc., Menlo Park, Calif.):

"The invention relates to a capacitor based energy storage module and an electric vehicle using the same. For providing an electric vehicle which can meet the requirements of long distance running and rapid acceleration at the same time, the electric vehicle of present invention comprising: An electric control unit controlling all operations of the electric vehicle; An energy storage unit having one or more energy devices based on meta-capacitor which provides needed electric energy of the electric vehicle; A DC-DC converter receiving control signal from said electric control unit to convert the energy from said energy storage unit then provide to motor; A motor converting the electric energy into mechanical energy to drive the wheels; Wheels are driven by the motor to make the electric vehicle run. ... [The] capacitive energy storage module may include a cooling mechanism in thermal contact with the capacitive energy storage device and/or the DC-voltage converter. Such a cooling mechanism may be, e.g., a passive cooling mechanism, an active cooling system using air, water, ethylene glycol as a coolant; phase-change material, or any combination thereof."