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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: Active vs. passive shipping solutions; registration open for Energy Innovation Summit

Ben Welter - Monday, November 20, 2017

• Registration is open for "Active vs. Passive Solutions: Which one is for me?" the next webinar in Sonoco ThermoSafe's temperature assurance packaging series. Ben Vanderplas, global product manager at Sonoco ThermoSafe, and David Bang, CEO of DHL LifeConEx, will lead the one-hour class, to be held Dec. 12.

Brooklyn Bedding's new Aurora mattress collection features TitanCool technology, "a phase change surface infusion" with "high conductivity properties."

• New from Transparency Market Research: "Thermal Management Technologies Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast 2017 - 2027"

The UV-activated thermal energy storage material shows the rapid crystallization and heat discharge upon visible light (blue LED) illumination. (Grossman Group at MIT)MIT researchers have combined conventional phase change material with an organic compound that responds to a pulse of light. "The new system," MIT News reports, "uses molecular switches that change shape in response to light; when integrated into the PCM, the phase-change temperature of the hybrid material can be adjusted with light, allowing the thermal energy of the phase change to be maintained even well below the melting point of the original material." The system could be used in a thermal battery to store heat from the sun or any other source and release the heat when needed.

• Registration for the 2018 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit is open. The event, to be held March 13-15 at the Gaylord Convention Center, outside Washington, D.C., showcases emerging energy technologies. No agenda yet.

• Researchers at the University of Maryland College Park have developed a method of fabricating fibers with boron nitride and polyvinyl alcohol using 3D print technologies which allows heat to be transferred away from the body.  Clothes made with the nanocomposite thread could help keep wearers cool in hot conditions.

Stanford University researchers have developed a reversible fabric that keeps skin a comfortable temperature whatever the weather. "On one side," Stanford News reports, "a copper coating traps heat between a polyethylene layer and the skin; on the other, a carbon coating releases heat under another layer of polyethylene." The fabric can either warm or cool the wearer, depending which side faces out.

PCM briefing: Registration open for PCM 2018 in Quebec; MIT finds new way to mix oil, water

Ben Welter - Friday, November 10, 2017

• Registration is open for PCM 2018, the 12th IIR Conference on Phase Change Materials and Slurries for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning. The conference will be held May 21-23, 2018, in Orford, Québec. Topics will include thermal energy storage; thermophysical and rheological properties of PCMs and slurries; and transport phenomena and time-dependent behavior of PCMs and slurries.

MIT researchers have developed a new way to mix oil and water and create an emulsion that remains stable for long periods — no shaking required.

• Registration is open for "Towards a Sustainable Solution to Melt Snow and Ice on Concrete Pavement: Use of Phase Change Materials, a presentation by Dr. Yaghoob Farnam, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at Drexel University. Farnam will discuss his research on the use of PCM-enhanced concrete to inhibit the buildup of snow and ice on pavement. The program will be held Nov. 30 in King of Prussia, Penn.

• "Innovative Thoughts" blogger Harvey Wade visited the 3M Customer Innovation Centre in Bracknell, U.K., last month to find out how the big company sustains its innovative edge. Lesson No. 1: 3M listens to its customers. "They don’t guess what the customer needs," Wade writes, "they invest their time to know their needs, discovering the big problems that they can try to solve." 

BMW PCM Ride jacketBMW's 2018 Motorrad collection includes the latest version of the PCM Ride jacket, featuring microencapsulated phase change material that "adapts permanently and smartly to the current temperature."

Peli BioThermal has opened a service center in Brussels, Belgium, to handle its Credo line of reusable temperature-controlled packaging. 

Ember Technologies' newest temperature-control product, a $79 ceramic mug with an active heating system, contains no phase change material. The company's first product, a PCM-lined travel tumbler, sells for $150.

Grace Hsia, founder and CEO of Warmilu, a Michigan startup that makes an infant warming blanket, talks about the stresses and rewards of building a company from scratch. "I find my body will sometimes crash," Hsia told Crain's Detroit Business, explaining how 90-hour workweeks have led to bouts of pneumonia and bronchitis. "I've been trying to get more sleep, which is tough."

The preliminary program has been released for the fifth Building Enclosure Science & Technology conference, known as BEST5. It will take place April 15-18 in Philadelphia. 

• The American Chemical Society has won its lawsuit against Sci-Hub, a widely used pirate site for scientific papers that was established in 2011 by former neuroscientist Alexandra Elbakyan.

• New from Intellectual Research Partners: "Global Thermal Energy Storage (TES) systems Market By Technology (Molten salt, Phase change materials, Water based, Electric thermal and Solar) End User Application (Air Conditioning, Cold Storage, Power Storage, Process Cooling) Region (North America, Europe, APAC) Forecast To 2023"

PCM briefing: Survey finds chemists think field is short on innovation; Lufthansa Cargo partners with va-Q-tec

Ben Welter - Monday, October 30, 2017

• A recent survey by Reaxys found that many chemists don’t think the field is innovative enough. Eighty percent said there is too much emphasis on research with industrial applications, which is stifling innovation. Reaxys is a chemistry research tool developed by Elsevier

Min Zhu, assistant professor of textile development and marketing at the Fashion Institute of Technology, will speak about the future of phase change materials at a textiles conference in New York City Nov. 8. 

Lufthansa Cargo has partnered with va-Q-tec AG to offer the temperature-controlled specialist's va-Q-tainer thermal containers across the German carrier’s global network.

• Scientists investigating how scavenging animals are adapting to the monoculture palm oil plantations in Borneo were surprised by what turned up in their traps. "In the jungles and border regions, the team found animals such as civets, otters, mongooses and pigs," Oils & Fats International magazine reports. "But the closer they got to the plantations where the land had been disturbed and human activity was frequent, the fewer species they found until only one stood out – the Southeast Asian water monitor." The big lizards are thriving, thanks to a plentiful supply of food and less competition from mammalian scavengers and predators. 

• Researchers at the University of Maryland have developed a thermally conductive and strong textile from fibers of aligned boron nitride nanosheets embedded in a polymer matrix that can cool a person down by up to 2° C.  

PCM briefing: Thermal storage capacity on the rise; clinical trial for prosthetics liner

Ben Welter - Friday, October 27, 2017

• Thermal energy storage exceeds the capacity of battery storage now in operation, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency. Greentech Media reports that a recent resurgence in concentrated solar power development promises to increase that advantage.

• New from QYResearch Group: "Global Thermal Energy Storage Market Size, Status and Forecast 2022"

• New from Persistence Market Research: "Advanced Phase Change Material (PCM) Market - Global Industry Analysis and Forecast to 2020"

Alpha SmartTemp liner• The effectiveness of a PCM-infused prosthetics liner made by Ohio Willow Wood Co. will be put to the test in a two-year clinical trial. The liner is designed to absorb heat and reduce sweating where a prosthesis meets skin. The study, funded by a $140,000 Department of Defense grant, will be conducted by the University of Pittsburgh and Widener University.

• Registration is open for "2-8°C Solutions: Design variables and constraints," the next webinar in Sonoco ThermoSafe's temperature assurance packaging series. Frank Butch, director of engineering at Sonoco ThermoSafe, and Lisa Barbieri Moher, North American head of distribution packaging and graphics at Sanofi, will lead the one-hour class, to be held Nov. 14.

Sonoco ThermoSafe's development of the LD7 Quarter PMC pallet shipper won first place for Excellence in Collaboration at the Cold Chain GDP & Temperature Management Global Forum in Chicago last month. ThermoSafe's ChillTech reusable PCM system was runner-up in the Excellence in Technological Innovation category.

In a recent interview with Innovation in Textiles, CEO Dirk Van Hyning of PCM-maker Alexium International discussed U.S. efforts to curb the use of halogenated flame retardants.

Patent application: Portable device for cold chain storage

Ben Welter - Monday, October 23, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170290741 (applicant Tokitae LLC, Bellevue, Wash): 

Portable cold chain device patent drawing"Disclosed embodiments include portable devices for cold chain storage and methods of fabricating portable devices for cold chain storage. In an illustrative embodiment, a portable device for cold chain storage includes a container defining therein a storage region. The container includes an inner cylinder, and the storage region is defined coaxially inwardly of the inner cylinder. The inner cylinder includes phase change material disposed therein, and the phase change material is in thermal communication with the storage region. The inner cylinder also includes evaporative coils disposed therein. The evaporative coils are embedded in the phase change material. The container also includes a thermally insulated outer cylinder. An outer wall of the outer cylinder is disposed radially outwardly of an outer wall of the inner cylinder."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170290741.pdf

PCM briefing: Energy storage tax incentive advances in U.S. Senate; how to make your startup pitch shine

Ben Welter - Monday, October 09, 2017

• A bill that would create a tax credit for the purchase of energy storage systems, including thermal systems, is advancing in the U.S. Senate. The bill, known as the Energy Storage Tax Incentive and Deployment Act of 2017, is sponsored by Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.).  The bill was first floated last year and gained support from both Democrat and Republican senators, Energy Storage News reports.

Bloomberg BNA News reports that states could soon respond quicker to chemical accidents armed with information on file at the Environmental Protection Agency has. But first, they’ll have to prove they can protect chemical manufacturers' trade secrets.

• Looking to pitch your next big idea? David Beckett, an Amsterdam-based Brit who has coach more than 500 startups, has a few tips for you. No. 1: Memorize the first 60 seconds of your pitch. That'll keep you on track until that mind-numbing adrenaline wears off.  

Simba Hybrid pillow• The Simba Hybrid, the latest high-tech pillow to feature Outlast phase change material, hit stores last week. The price tag: $125. 

• Bedding foam producers are stepping up their research-and-development efforts and rolling out PU foams with improved performance, BedTimes Magazine reports. Temperature regulation remains among the most sought-after features among consumers, according to research conducted by FXI, a PU foam specialist based in Media, Penn.

Peli BioThermal has announced the expansion of its European manufacturing capabilities in France to produce CoolPall Vertos, the cold chain company's single-use bulk thermal shipper. 

• U.K.-based Softbox Systems has launched AEON, a line of reusable temperature-control parcel shippers that feature vacuum insulation panels and phase-change modules. Initially, AEON will be sold in three payload sizes for 2º C to 8º C temperature control. Other temperature ranges (15⁰ C to 25⁰ C and -20⁰ C) will be launched in December. 

PCM briefing: Presentation on effect of carbon-based networks on energy storage materials; webinar on ambient temperature profiles

Ben Welter - Monday, October 02, 2017

Dr. Amy Fleischer• Dr. Amy Fleischer, chairman of the mechanical engineering department at Villanova University, will give a presentation this month on the effect of carbon-based networks on enhanced energy storage materials. The presentation is set for Oct. 20 at Oregon State University in Corvallis. From the abstract: "Many common PCMs have high energy storage capacity but low thermal conductivity so much work has been done to improve their system performance by using nanoscale inclusions intended to increase the effective thermal conductivity. The work presented here shows that in certain situations, not only does the thermal conductivity increase, but also the latent heat. This effect is explored to understand the physical phenomena in order to harness the effect for advanced materials design."

• Registration is open for "Ambient Temperature Profiles," Sonoco ThermoSafe's next webinar on temperature assurance packaging. It will be held on Oct. 10 at 11 a.m. Eastern time. Iftekhar Ahmed, R&D team leader at ThermoSafe, and Bernard McGarvey, senior engineering advisor at Eli Lilly & Co., will lead the session. Participants will learn about "standard ambient profiles, vendor and published profiles and how others even develop their own profiles using empirical temperature data and distribution steps."

• New from Grand View Research: "Thermal Energy Storage Market Analysis By Type, 2014-2025"

• New from QYResearch: "Global Thermal Energy Storage (TES) Market 2017 Share, Size, Forecast 2022"

• Scientists working on the International Energy Agency’s Solar Heating and Cooling Programme Task 53 have compared the cost, efficiency and adaptability of solar cooling storage solutions. The researchers examined both thermal and electricity storage systems and are now creating guidelines for choosing the most fitting solution to heat and cool buildings. But the group will not, according to solarthermalworld.org, issue a recommendation favoring either storage system. “There are too many unknowns. Apart from technical considerations, you need to look at each country’s legislative framework and feed-in tariffs," said Elena-Lavinia Niederhäuser, author of the report and director of the Energy Institute at Fribourg’s College of Engineering and Architecture, Switzerland. 

Homemade a/c unit• When a recent heat wave turned his elementary school into a sauna, a resourceful fourth-grader in Michigan built a home-made air conditioner for his classroom, using a plastic tub, an electric fan and bottles filled the world's cheapest phase change material: water. Abram Barker said he got the idea from YouTube but used a larger base and added towels to insulate the frozen water bottles and soak up condensation.

• Registration is open for "Cone Calorimeter: Quantifying Easily Flammability & Heat Release Rate," an online course offered by SpecialChem.com. The instructor is T. Richard Hull, professor of chemistry and fire science at the University of Central Lancashire. The course will be held at 10 a.m. EST on Oct. 12. The cost is $307 for three participants on a single connection.

• The Phase Change Materials Industry Association, which will hold its inaugural meeting in Boston Oct. 5, has been registered as a corporation in the United States. Its official name: the Phase Change Materials Industry Association of North America Inc. Representatives of more than a dozen companies are scheduled to attend this week's meeting.

Patent application: Breathable product for protective mass transportation and cold chain applications

Ben Welter - Monday, September 25, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170266609 (applicant E.I. DuPont De Nemours and Co., Wilmington, Del.):

"The present invention concerns a breathable product for protective mass transportation and cold chain applications, in particular a reflective sheet for covering temperature sensitive products the reflective sheet having at least a first layer made of a highly reflective moisture vapor permeable substrate having an outer side and an inner side, wherein said inner side comprises in addition at least a metal layer deposited by a PVD process to provide a thermal insulation through high reflection low convection while providing controlled moisture vapor permeability. ... The honeycomb structural element provides some additional thermal insulation because the spaces inside are filled with air, but these spaces may also be filled with a phase change material such as a wax, which will absorb and liberate additional heat during melting and freezing when the temperature distribution within the layers is favorable and the presence of the phase change material is not detrimental to the protected goods."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170266609.pdf

PCM briefing: Solar-powered micro cold rooms; Axiom Exergy's jazz connection

Ben Welter - Wednesday, September 13, 2017

• The German company Covestro is providing technology for use in solar-powered micro cold rooms in India. The cold rooms employ phase change material to keep produce cool until it can be transported from farm to market. Eight hundred units will be built in the Indian state of Telangana over the next two years. 

• In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Anthony Diamond talks about the musical connection he shares with Axiom Exergy co-founder Amrit Robbins. They met as undergrads at Stanford University. "I play saxophone, he’s actually a trumpet player," Diamond said. "He was like, the best jazz trumpet player on campus. So whenever I had a gig, I would call him, and vice-versa. We had an opportunity to collaborate a lot within that context. I knew that I worked really well with him and we were a really great team."

• Heat battery maker Sunamp Ltd. is one of 15 European scaleups selected to give presentations in California next week at Startup Europe Comes to Silicon Valley

Pelican BioThermal has opened a service center in Puerto Rico. The center will serve as a depot for the company’s Credo on Demand rental program and enable customers to receive and return reusable temperature controlled packaging systems.

Facebook has announced that its cloud campus in Odense, Denmark, will be connected to a neighborhood district heating system. The company expects the system will warm 6,900 homes.

Evelyn Wang, director of MIT’s Device Research Laboratory and an internationally recognized leader in phase change heat transfer on nanostructure surfaces, has been named associate department head of operations in the school's Department of Mechanical Engineering.  

Long-Qing Chen, professor of engineering science, mechanics and mathematics at Penn State University, has been awarded a Humboldt Research Award by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of Germany. Chen will work with Jürgen Rödel, professor of materials science and engineering at the Technische Universität Darmstadt, on areas of mutual interest, including multiferroic thin films and phase change materials.

MIT researchers are taking a look at 3,000-year-old technology that could help reduce the use of fossil fuels. Under the proposal, electric resistance heaters would convert excess electricity into heat. The heat would be stored in a large mass of firebricks, which can retain heat for long periods if they are enclosed in an insulated casing. The heat could be used directly for industrial processes, or it could feed generators that convert it back to electricity when the power is needed.  

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."