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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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Patent application: Device and method for cooling a liquid

Ben Welter - Friday, December 07, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180347870 (applicant Gerrit Sonnenrein, Paderborn, Germany):

"A device, for cooling a liquid, especially a beverage, comprising a cold accumulator and a thermal line, the cold accumulator and the liquid to be cooled being thermally connected by means of the thermal line, and the cold accumulator comprising a phase change material, the device also comprising means for dissipating heat from at least the thermal line, and the cold accumulator comprising a carrier material into which the phase change material is integrated."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180347870.pdf

Patent application: In-flight service cart

Ben Welter - Thursday, December 06, 2018

DHL in-flight cart patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180346122 (applicants Tower Cold Chain Solutions Ltd. and DHL Supply Chain Ltd., Great Britain):

"An in-flight service cart for use on an aircraft for maintaining a payload such as foodstuffs and the like within a selected temperature range, said in-flight service cart including: a housing (3) having a storage volume; and at least one thermally insulated container (5) removably mounted within the housing, said container having an outer casing, a thermally conductive inner casing, thermal insulation located between the outer casing and the inner casing, said thermal insulation including at least one vacuum insulation panel, a payload volume for storing foodstuffs, an opening providing access to the payload volume, a closure member for closing the opening, at least one thermal energy storage unit located within the inner casing, said thermal energy storage unit(s) including a phase change material that is arranged to change phase at a temperature greater than or equal to -10° C.; wherein the inner casing and closure member  define the payload volume for storing the foodstuffs, and the thermal energy storage unit(s) is positioned in thermal contact with the inner casing, the arrangement being such that the inner casing provides a thermally conductive pathway for conducting heat entering the container to the thermal energy storage unit."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180346122.pdf

ThermAvant's new coffee mug is designed to get the 'burn' out faster

Ben Welter - Monday, August 27, 2018

ThermAvant Technologies, which introduced the temperature-regulating Lexo travel tumbler in 2016, introduced a new mug this summer called Burnout. The new model is designed to cool hot beverages to a drinkable temperature of 140 degrees F within minutes and keep it there for hours.

ThermAvant founder Bill Ma, an engineering professor at the University of Missouri, says the new mug has faster cooling times, a new lid that limits residue buildup and a lifetime warranty. The Burnout comes in two sizes: 12 ounces ($79.99) and 16 ounces ($99).

The mugs are made in ThermAvant’s 4,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Columbia, Mo. The company plans to move to a new facility with about 20,000 square feet of space later this year.

Ma answered questions about the new product via email:

ThermAvant Burnout mugQ: How is the Burnout mug different from your Lexo models? Both use biobased phase change material to regulate temperature.

A: “1. The cooling rate increases from 4-8 minutes to 2-6 minutes, depending on mug size and initial coffee temperature. The Burnout mug has an item inside to enhance heat transfer. 2. The drinking lid is updated. If you compare the Lexo lid with the Burnout lid, you can find the difference. 3. The Burnout mug has a red or black powder painting, which is unique. 4. The Burnout mug is made in USA. 5. Each mug has a unique number.  When the customer purchases it, he or she can register online and get the lifetime warranty, which will provide the best service. 6. The luxury packaging box.”

Q: Why did you decide to use a new name and new website for this product?

A: “The Burnout name is for taking the ‘burn’ ‘out,’ which can directly tell the feature of our mugs.”

Q: Do you plan to continue to manufacture and sell the Lexo models?

A: “Not in USA.”

Q: In a news account, the PCM in the Burnout is said to be "charged" as part of the assembly process. Describe how the PCM is inserted into the walls of the product and then solidified.

A: “We spent almost two years to develop the confidential equipment to charge PCM, which is confidential.”

Q: Talk about your plans to produce "high-, standard- and low-temperature variants of Burnout.” What three temperatures are you focusing on?

A: “In the near future, we are going to have high-, standard- and low-temperature mugs.”

Q: Anything else you'd like to add?

A: “We are going to launch instant drinking mugs, and two-temperature mugs in 2019.”

Patent application: Heat exchanging thermal liquid container

Ben Welter - Monday, June 25, 2018

Drinkware patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180171197 (assignee Curators of the University of Missouri, Columbia, Mo.):

"A heat exchanging thermal liquid container system that comprises a main body at least partially defining a liquid reservoir structured and operable to retain a liquid, and a phase change material (PCM) liner comprising a PCM liner PCM having a selected melting temperature, and/or at least one PCM pod. Each of the at least one PCM pod(s) comprising a respective PCM pod PCM having a respective selected melting temperature. Wherein the PCM liner and/or the at least one PCM pod are disposable within the liquid reservoir such that when a liquid is disposed within the liquid reservoir the liquid will contact at least one of the PCM liner and the at least one PCM pod such that thermal energy can be exchanged between the liquid and the respective at least one of the PCM liner PCM and the at least one PCM pod PCM."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180171197.pdf

Related: Drinkware and plateware and active temperature control module for same (Ember Technologies Inc.)

PepsiCo seeks technology for thermally responsive beverage containers

Ben Welter - Monday, March 12, 2018

PepsiCo is looking for thermally responsive material technology for use in beverage containers.

NineSigma, an organization that matches large manufacturers with technology providers worldwide, is managing the search.

Conceptual approaches are of interest provided there is a clear path to commercialization. A successful technology will:

• Provide the desired thermal properties for carbonated soft drinks in PET
• Be recyclable and environmentally sustainable
• Be capable of running on standard off-the-shelf labeling equipment
• Delight the customer, in feel and touch
• Must be non-toxic
• Be cost-effective

Additional desirable features:

• Applicable to a wide variety of packaging formats (PET, glass, Al, etc.)
• Relevant to broad beverage product portfolio (juices, tea, water, dairy, etc.)
• Applicable to U.S. and global markets
• GRAS approved

The path to commercialization should be shorter than two years; respondents may indicate their required timeframe if longer than that. Questions may be directed to Jonathan Jakischa, innovation technology associate at NineSigma. The submission deadline is March 30.

https://ninesights.ninesigma.com/web/pepsico-gallery/needs-listing/-/needs-portlet/viewNeed?_NeedsPortlet_WAR_NeedPortletsportlet_needId=779

Patent application: Beverage container and heat transfer pad

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Patent drawing of beverage container

U.S. patent application 20170360227 (applicant John Robert Mumford, Oakville, Calif.):

"A beverage container includes a base, a stem, and a bowl. The base has a base lateral dimension parallel to the horizontal supporting plane. The stem extends upwardly from a stem lower end coupled to the base to a stem upper end. The stem has a heat pipe extending between the stem lower end and the stem upper end. The stem has a stem lateral dimension smaller than the base lateral dimension. The bowl is coupled to the stem upper end and extends upwardly of the stem. The bowl defines a liquid chamber having an upper opening. ... 

"Heat sink [128] can have any configuration suitable for withdrawing heat from beverage container. In the illustrated embodiment, heat sink is formed as a coaster including a body that houses phase change material [328], and a high thermal conductivity contact plate."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170360227.pdf

Patent application: Beverage container with self-regulating thermal control member

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 16, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170325607 (applicant Pacific Market International LLC, Seattle, Wash.):

Beverage patent application drawing"A beverage container provided with a thermal regulation member having a sidewall extending through a beverage cavity of a container main body. The thermal regulation member contains an energy storage material that receives, stores, and transmits heat energy to and from a beverage in the beverage cavity to regulate its temperature. The energy storage material may initially absorb energy from a heated beverage having a temperature too hot for drinking, then transfers heat energy back into the beverage as it cools, keeping it within a comfortable temperature range for an extended period of time. The thermal regulation member may be selectively attachable to a stopper assembly that seals an upper opening of the beverage cavity. Alternatively, laterally extending attachment members may attach the thermal regulation member directly to a wall of the beverage cavity. ... The energy storage material [37] may be a phase change material that undergoes phase changes within and around temperature ranges that are comfortable for human consumption of beverages."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170325607.pdf

PCM briefing: Dethleffs unveils solar-powered camper; ScienceDirect launches 'personalized recommendations'

Ben Welter - Tuesday, September 05, 2017

ScienceDirect, the full-text research database from Elsevier, now offers a "personalized recommendations" feature. Registered users of the site are automatically enrolled in the service, which uses an adaptive algorithm to analyze a user's searches and then sends a list of three to five recommended articles to the user by e-mail each week. 

Ember Technologies' temperature-control coffee mug won a Silver IDEA Award in the kitchen and accessories category at the 2017 International Design Excellence Awards in August. 

Dethleffs e-home motorhome• German camper manufacturer Dethleffs has unveiled a concept vehicle that runs on a 107-horsepower electric motor. The "e.home" features 334 square feet of thin solar panels and a heating system that uses phase change materials to absorb heat when the outside temperature rises above 79° F. Fully equipped, its driving range on a full charge is just over 100 miles. But of course its batteries recharge when the sun shines.

Gary Owens has been named president and chief executive officer at Mesa Laboratories Inc., succeeding John Sullivan, who has held the positions since 2009. 

Dulas Ltd., maker of solar-powered vaccine refrigerators, has completed a supply and training program in Myanmar under the auspices of the World Health Organization. Dulas delivered refrigeration units that feature phase change material, a 400W photovoltaic array and 132-liter vaccine storage capacity.

Pluss Advanced Technologies' MiraCradle infant cooling device, which uses phase change material to treat birth asphyxia, is featured in an article in The Guardian this week. The device was launched commercially in 2014 and is now being used in more than 125 hospitals across India and three in South Africa. 

Dow Chemical and DuPont have completed their planned $130 billion merger to form DowDuPont. Shares of the merged company will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "DWDP." 

Ember secures $13 million to accelerate R&D, marketing initiatives

Ben Welter - Monday, August 28, 2017

Ember Technologies, maker of the Ember temperature-controlled coffee mug, has secured $13 million in Series C funding.

The close of this round brings Ember’s total funding to $21 million. Investors to date include Scott Cutler, CEO of StubHub, singer-songwriter Demi Lovato and National Football League star Ndamukong Suh. 

The $150 Ember mug uses phase change material and a microprocessor-controlled heating system to maintain hot beverages at temperatures set by the user. Ember plans to introduce "several new temperature-control products" in the next six to nine months. The additional capital will be used to accelerate R&D and marketing initiatives.

http://www.finsmes.com/2017/08/ember-technologies-raises-13m-in-series-c-funding.html

PCM briefing: Cleanergy lands CSP contract in China; ASHRAE extends global reach

Ben Welter - Monday, July 03, 2017

• Team Sky cyclists competing in this year's Tour de France are using Inuteq's Siku vest to cool down after each stage. The Dutch company's hybrid vest combines PCM and evaporative cooling technologies. Inuteq says it is supplying its cooling products to two other teams: Bahrain Merida and Cannondale Drapac.

Calmac, the New Jersey company whose thermal energy storage tanks help cool more than more than 4,500 buildings worldwide, including the corporate headquarters of JC Penney, Marriott and Google, was profiled in Inc. magazine last week.  

Ember Technologies' temperature-controlled mug is a finalist in the 2017 International Design Excellence Awards in the Kitchen & Accessories category. The winners will be announced Aug. 16 at the International Designers Society of America conference in Atlanta. 

Cleanergy AB of Sweden has signed an agreement to deploy a 200-MW concentrating solar energy project in China. A Cleanergy spokeswoman confirmed that phase change material will be used in the CSP project's thermal storage system but declined to provide details about the PCM. 

Midsize energy and chemical companies are among the least prepared for the disruption that technological innovation and other changes will bring, a new report from Capital One Commercial Bank says.

• A U.S. House appropriations subcommittee last week advanced a bill that would impose deep cuts in renewable energy and efficiency programs at the Department of Energy and eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, ARPA-E.

ASHRAE has announced the formation of a new ASHRAE Region in Europe and strategic partnerships with two European organizations: the UK-based Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers and the Belgium-based Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning Associations.

• PCM will be among the topics at the 3rd International Conference: Innovative Materials and Smart Technologies for Environmental Safety. The conference will take place Sept. 27-29 in Latvia. The student conference includes a lecture titled "Heat Transfer Enhancement in Phase-Change Materials" by Dr. Gennady Ziskind, professor of mechanical engineering at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. 

BASF, Cargill, Procter & Gamble and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH have joined together in a development partnership to help establish a sustainable certified and transparent supply chain of coconut oil in the Philippines and Indonesia.  

• New from Zion Market Research: "Temperature Controlled Packaging Market: Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecasts 2016–2024"

Bio-Based World News reports that the biobased sector of Finland's economy is now worth 60 billion euros. About 60 percent of the sector is rooted in the country's forest industry.