Phase Change Matters RSS

 

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.

RECENT POSTS

TAGS

ARCHIVE

Axiotherm data cooling center concept honored at Future Thinking conference

Ben Welter - Friday, May 18, 2018

A data center cooling concept developed by Axiotherm GmbH and Frigoteam Handels GmbH was among the technologies honored at last month's Future Thinking conference in Darmstadt, Germany.

The concept, "Security of supply and emergency operation in data centers by integration of PCM cold storage," took third place in the energy technology category. Based on Axiotherm's HeatSel thermal storage technology, the system is designed to ensure the cooling of data centers in the event of a power outage. At the same time, the use of photovoltaic power and free cooling can increase system efficiency and reduce emissions during regular operations.

Dirk BüttnerAxiotherm, a subsidiary of ESDA Technologie GmbH, specializes in developing macro-encapsulation of phase change materials for various applications. Dirk Büttner, Axiotherm's chief research officer, answered a few questions about the technology by e-mail: 

Q: The award is based on a data center cooling concept, not a working model or pilot project, correct?

A: "Correct, the award is based on a cooling concept, but there have already been diverse Frigoteam cooling systems with the Axiotherm PCM-Storage implemented, only for other fields of application."

Q: Is this the system that you and Yvonne Reimann of Croda gave a presentation on at the 5th Swiss Symposium Thermal Energy Storage in Lucerne in January?

A: "Yes, the Axiotherm Hybrid-PCM-Storage was the central element of the presentation in Lucerne."

Q: Is CrodaTherm specified as the PCM used in the data cooling center concept?

A: "No, in this system a subzero PCM developed by Axiotherm."

Axiotherm thermal storage tankQ: What are the peak melting points and energy storage capacities of the PCMs available for use in the system?

A: "Starting at -33°C up to +12°C. The storage capacity of the Hybrid-PCM-System is typically approximately 50 kWh /m3 (@dT = 10 K)."

Q: What are the dimensions of the HeatSel discs, and what are they made of?

A: There are two types of HeatSels, one with a diameter of 180 mm for smaller tanks, and one with a diameter of 270 mm for big tanks (with a diameter >1,20 m). The maximum layer thickness in both cases is less than 30 mm, therefore, compared to classical spherical elements, a four times higher thermal output power can be achieved. The (diffusion resistant) encapsulation material depends on the operating temperature, the basis are e.g. PP or PE-HD.

Q: What are the next steps in the development of this system, technically and commercially speaking?

A: "First step was the successful proof of concept and initial market entry through launching customers, like Frigoteam. 

"The next step is the extension of distribution network through fast-following customers. Here we are looking for further potential strategic partnerships with fast-following customers, like tank manufacturers and manufacturers of cooling/heating systems.

"Another step is the diversification of customers for further applications, such as for industries working with process heat and cooling as well as manufacturers of air conditioning and further cooling systems."

PCM briefing: GE ice storage project wins $221,000 grant; IFAI offers webinar on smart fabrics

Ben Welter - Friday, December 15, 2017

• A plan to install an ice storage system at GE’s new headquarters in Boston has been awarded a $221,000 grant by Massachusetts' Advancing Commonwealth Energy Storage program. 

• The U.S. Department of Energy has announced up to $100 million in funding for new projects as part of ARPA‑E's latest OPEN funding opportunity. OPEN 2018 is looking for innovations "to transform the way we generate, store and use energy." The deadline for submitting a concept paper is Feb. 12, 2018.

• Early registration prices for the 2018 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit have been extended to Dec. 31. The summit, which showcases innovative energy technologies, will be held March 13-15 at the Gaylord Convention Center near Washington, D.C. The agenda is still "coming soon." The deadline to submit an application to exhibit in the Technology Showcase is Jan. 2.

• Registration is open for an Industrial Fabrics Association International webinar on recent smart fabric applications used in a number of government, commercial, medical and consumer market segments. The cost for the Jan. 17 webinar is $29 for association members, $79 for non-members.

• Registration is open for the 34th Space Symposium, to be held April 16-19, 2018, in Colorado Springs, Colo. Exhibitors include Advanced Cooling Technologies and Aavid Thermacore Inc.

Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins has accepted an invitation to become a member of the Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board. The CED is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, business-led public policy organization founded in 1942.

• In an interview with Forbes, co-CEOs Bongani Nqwababa and Stephen Cornell explain Sasol's $11 billion bet on specialty chemicals.

• Registration is open for "Single-Use vs. Reusable Packaging: Providing value for your product," the next webinar in Sonoco ThermoSafe's temperature assurance packaging series. Chris Anderson, director of quality systems at Cardinal Health, and Vishal Khushalani, director of marketing and business development at Sonoco ThermoSafe, will lead the one-hour class, to be held Jan 9.

• The BIO World Congress on Industrial Biotechnology, to be held in Philadelphia July 16-19, 2018, is seeking proposals for company and technical presentations. Presentations are 13 minutes long, including a brief introduction and Q&A with the audience. Proposals must be submitted by May 14.

PCM briefing: Space station gets water-based heat exchanger; China gets molten salt solar power plant

Ben Welter - Wednesday, December 28, 2016

• An experimental PCM heat exchanger has been installed aboard the International Space Station. The device is designed to help maintain safe temperatures for crew members and equipment. The device uses a water-based PCM to remove heat from areas that must be cooled and move it into areas that must be warmed.

China News Service reports that Asia's first molten salt solar power plant has been connected to the grid and will begin operations next week in northwestern China. The 10-megawatt plant, run by Beijing Shouhang Resources Saving Co., generates electricity from solar power 24 hours a day. It will provide electricity for 30,000 households during its initial phase.

• A cooling technology that can operate without a constant power supply will undergo pilot trials in Dubai. Sure Chill's water-based system is used in a refrigerator that maintains a temperature range of 2° to 8°C for 10 days or more without the need for a grid-based electricity. The Welsh company signed a memorandum of understanding with the state-run Dubai Electricity and Water Authority after taking part in the 12-week Dubai Future Accelerators Program.

• In a decision involving a patent on phase change material, a U.S. appeals court has reversed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision to exclude certain e-mails used as evidence of an earlier conception date in REG Synthetic Fuels LLC v. Neste Oil OYJ. The court found that the board had improperly excluded the emails as hearsay.

• Noting recent acquisitions by FedEx and UPS, Pelican Biothermal VP Kevin Lawler lists consolidation among the key trends likely to shape the temperature-controlled logistics market in 2017.

PCM briefing: Siemens touts packed-bed thermal storage breakthrough; TSCA's impact on chemical importers

Ben Welter - Thursday, October 20, 2016

Siemens says its recently launched packed-bed thermal storage concept for wind power could deliver energy at well below 0.10 euros per kilowatt-hour. The system uses surplus electricity to blow air at 600 degrees Celsius across a packed bed of basalt rocks in an insulated container.

• The National Law Review takes a detailed look at the impact of the newly revised Toxic Substances Control Act on chemical importers, noting that "companies planning to ship chemical-based products to the United States should have a basic understanding of the TSCA." 

• Researchers from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid have invented a new thermal energy storage system that uses molten silicon to store up to 10 times more energy than existing storage devices. "The proposed new thermal energy storage system," according to a report in New Atlas, "involves heating the silicon in a container using either concentrated sunlight on surplus electricity generated by renewable power. The molten silicon – which can reach temperatures of around 1,400° C (2,552° F) – can be isolated from its environment until energy is needed, at which point the heat is converted to electricity."  

SolarReserve has proposed building the world's largest solar power plant in Nevada. The 2-gigawatt Sandstone project would include up to 10 concentrated solar arrays, each equipped with a molten salt thermal storage system. 

SUNCNIM has raised 60 million euros to help finance construction of the world’s first commercial Fresnel concentrated solar power plant with energy storage. The plant in the French Pyrenees will have four hours of thermal storage capacity. The thermal energy will be converted into electricity by a steam generation process.

Ministry, whose high-tech clothing line includes dress shirts infused with phase change material, has opened a store in downtown Chicago

• The American Society of Interior Designers has opened a Material ConneXion library at the society's new corporate headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Materials ConneXion database lists more than 7,500 "unique, innovative and sustainable materials." PureTemp's biobased phase change materials were added to database last year.

Ember Technologies, which raised more than $350,000 on IndieGoGo last year to develop a temperature-adjustable mug, sent backers another update this week: "We are happy to announce that shipping will begin the first week of November for our pre-order customers." Delivery was initially set for April 2016. The $150 mug uses bio-based phase change material and a microprocessor-controlled heating system to maintain hot beverages at temperatures set by the user.

• New from Market Research Engine: "Global Microencapsulation Market Research Report - Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014 - 2021." The report projects the market will reach $8.5 billion by 2021, a compound annual growth rate of 8 percent.

PCM briefing: Phase change material in concept motorcycle and automotive interiors

Ben Welter - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Can-Am Spyder e-motorcycle• Bombardier Recreational Products of Canada has produced an electric version of its three-wheel Can-Am Spyder motorcycle. The concept vehicle is equipped with a 16 kWh battery and has a range of about 170 km (106 miles). Phase change material is used to cool the lithium-ion batteries. No word on whether a production model is planned.

Dr. Barbara Pause of Textile Testing & Innovation will be among the speakers at this year's Industrial Fabrics Association International Expo in Charlotte, N.C. The topic of her Oct. 18 presentation: "Taking the heat – thermal control of the automotive interior with phase change material."

CALMAC is applauding the Massachusetts Legislature for approving an "energy diversity" bill that promotes the use of renewable energy sources and energy storage technologies. The legislation, signed into law Monday by Gov. Charlie Baker, requires the state to seek long-term contracts for 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power and 1,200 MW of hydropower. Its broad definition of energy storage includes distributed thermal energy storage such as CALMAC's IceBank system. "It is unrealistic to believe that renewable energy will align itself perfectly with the demand of the power grid and consumers without adding energy storage," said Mark McCracken, the company's CEO. "Massachusetts has taken great steps to create a more reliable, smarter grid to adapt to future needs.”

• Got a big tank to clean? You might want to contact CYC International of Singapore. The plant maintenance company has created a snake-like robot to clean tanks at oil refineries. CYC says use of the remote-controlled robot reduces the number of workers needed to clean a tank, lowering health and safety risks and improving productivity.

2016 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award winners named

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 23, 2016

Verdezyne of Carlsbad, Calif., which developed a greener way to make high-performance nylon, is among this year's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award winners. Verdezyne's process uses a plant-based feedstock and does not employ high temperatures or concentrated nitric acid. The nylon is used in hairbrushes, toothbrushes, adhesives, coatings, fragrances and other products. It has qualified for the USDA Certified Biobased label.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency award recognizes innovative technologies "that turn climate risk and other environmental problems into business opportunities, spurring innovation and economic development." The awards were present last week at the annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Portland, Ore. This year's other winners:

• Professor Paul Chirik of Princeton University discovered a new class of catalysts to produce silicones without the use of platinum.

Newlight Technologies of Costa Mesa, Calif., developed a plastic made from methane-based greenhouse gas. 

• Texas-based CB&I and Albemarle Corp. of Baton Rouge, La., developed and commercialized a safer technology to produce alkylate, a clean gasoline component.

Dow AgroSciences of Indianapolis developed and commercialized Instinct, an additive that reduces the leaching of fertilizer nitrate into ground and surface waters. 

Dr. William R. Sutterlin, Entropy Solutions' chief science officer, was a member of a University of Missouri team that won the academic award in 2006 for developing an inexpensive method to convert waste glycerin, a byproduct of biodiesel fuel production, into propylene glycol.

https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-honors-winners-2016-presidential-green-chemistry-challenge-awards-0

Research roundup: Evaluation of paraffin for thermal energy storage; fatty acid PCMs; exergy analysis of clean energy systems; more

Ben Welter - Monday, April 18, 2016

Experimental Evaluation of a Paraffin as Phase Change Material for Thermal Energy Storage in Laboratory Equipment and in a Shell-and-Tube Heat Exchanger [Applied Sciences]

Special Issue on Exergy Analysis of Clean Energy Systems [International Journal of Energy]

Modeling and analysis the productivity of solar desalination units with phase change materials [Renewable Energy]

Thermal energy storage and retrieval characteristics of a molten-salt latent heat thermal energy storage system [Applied Energy]

Performance evaluation of fatty acids as phase change material for thermal energy storage [Journal of Energy Storage]

Phase Change Materials (PCM) for cooling applications in buildings: A review [Energy and Buildings]

Fabrication and Properties of Poly(polyethylene glycol n-alkyl ether vinyl ether)s as Polymeric Phase Change Materials [Thermochimica Acta]

Experiment study of oscillating heat pipe and phase change materials coupled for thermal energy storage and thermal management [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Characterization of calcium chloride tetrahydrate as a phase change material and thermodynamic analysis of the results [Renewable Energy]

Eutectic Na2CO3–NaCl salt: A new phase change material for high temperature thermal storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

PCM briefing: Qatar University working on polyolefin-based PCM; Pelican BioThermal introduces Credo Cargo

Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Qatar University Centre for Advanced Materials is developing polyolefin-based phase change material to reduce energy consumption, carbon emissions and plastic waste. The research team is developing special PCM foams and compact composite sheets based on polyethylene, paraffin wax and graphite. 

Swiss away jersey by PumaPelican BioThermal has launched a new pallet shipper system, Crēdo Cargo. The reusable bulk shipper uses phase change material cooling panels to maintain temperature ranges +2C to +8C and +15C to +25C. 

The Swiss national soccer team will wear PCM-infused away uniforms at the European Championships 2016 in France. The jersey features Puma's ACTV Thermo-R technology. Strategically placed tape infused with microencapsulated phase change material absorbs excess heat and releases it back to the body when needed. The uniforms will be worn for the first time in an international friendly against the Republic of Ireland on March 25. Other national teams sporting the new kits are Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Italy.

President Obama is vowing to push ahead with efforts to curtail greenhouse gas emissions after the U.S. Supreme Court put his Clean Power Plan on hold until legal challenges are resolved.

PCM briefing: Georgia Tech selected for Solar Decathlon; Arizona company to outsource operations of 'Near Zero Carbon' greenhouse

Ben Welter - Monday, February 08, 2016

• A team from Georgia Tech is one of 16 chosen to participate in the U.S. Energy Department's 2017 Solar Decathlon. The team will explore concepts such as heat recovery systems, phase change materials, solar technology and direct current microgrids. Northwestern, Rice and Syracuse universities are among the other schools selected. 

Sustainable Energy and Agriculture Technology LLC is looking to outsource the operations of a “Near Zero Carbon” solar greenhouse in Sahuarita, Ariz. Phase change material will be used to control temperature in the 1,160-square-meter greenhouse.

EnergyNest reports that its concrete thermal energy storage system at the Masdar Institute's solar plant in Abu Dhabi is performing as well as or better than simulations suggested it would.

• A growing number of researchers are contacting reporters directly to alert them to upcoming papers, The Scientist magazine reports.

• The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has obtained a U.S. patent for a method that rapidly characterizes specialized materials during the manufacturing process.

PCM briefing: A bioplastics breakthrough from DuPont/ADM; a revamped bedding line from Tempur-Pedic

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 26, 2016

CleanTechnica takes a look at the DuPont-ADM "breakthrough" process for producing a high-performance, 100 percent biodegradable bioplastic. The companies' first project will use furan dicarboxylic methyl ester to produce polytrimethylene furandicarboxylate, which ADM says outperforms petroleum-based polymers in extending beverage shelf life.

•  Tempur-Pedic has revamped its Breeze line of cooler-sleep beds, fusing phase change material in the top Tempur foam layer to deliver “a significantly improved cooling effect,” the company said.

Composite sandwich panels containing phase change material are among 20 smart materials and structures identified by a European Union study with possible applications in the shipbuilding industry. The panels would minimize heat transfer and lower cooling costs on refrigerated cargo ships.  

• Sonoco ThermoSafe, Pluss Advanced Technologies, va-Q-tec AG, Peli BioThermal, Cryopak, AAR Cold Chain Solutions and Croda are among the companies exhibiting PCM-related products at the 15th annual Temperature Controlled Logistics Europe conference in Frankfurt, Germany, this week.