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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: Multilayer thermal laminate

Ben Welter - Saturday, March 23, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190089027 (applicant Dell Products L.P., Round Rock, Texas):

"A multilayer thermal laminate with aerogel is used for a battery cell enclosure to improve thermal properties and to reduce thermal inhomogeneity in the form of localized hotspots that exceed a desired rated temperature, thereby enabling a more compact design within rated thermal design limits for a given electrical performance. ... [The third layer of the laminate] serves as a thermal storage medium and may accordingly be comprised of a phase change material, such as a wax. The phase change material may be selected to have a desired melting temperature range, such as between 30 C and 70 C, between 45 C and 65 C, or between 40 C and 60 C, in given implementations, among other possible melting temperature ranges."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190089027.pdf

Patent application: Removable sticker for cooling hot spots in cellular phones

Ben Welter - Saturday, March 23, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190086158 (inventor James Hirschfeld, Delray Beach, Fla.):

"A removable cooling sticker secured to the surface of a cellular telephone for extraction of heat from the cellular telephone. The cooling sticker is thin and sized to be conveniently carried. [Using phase change material as the active heat extraction material,] the cooling sticker is adhered to the cellular telephone at its hot spot for maximum efficiency. An optional feature employs thermal strips that indicate when the electronic device is exceeding a temperature threshold sticker."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190086158.pdf

Research roundup: PCM wallboard; cement mortars; electric load shifting; red-mud geopolymer composite; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 27, 2019

From Renewable Energy:

Phase Change Material Wallboard (PCMW) melting temperature optimisation for passive indoor temperature control

From Cement and Concrete Research:

Multiphysics analysis of effects of encapsulated phase change materials (PCMs) in cement mortars

From Journal of Molecular Liquids:

Preparation and characterization of sodium sulfate pentahydrate/sodium pyrophosphate composite phase change energy storage materials

From Energy and Buildings:

Performance of heat pump integrated phase change material thermal storage for electric load shifting in building demand side management
Indoor thermal comfort assessment using PCM based storage system integrated with ceiling fan ventilation: Experimental design and response surface approach

From International Journal of Photoenergy:

Experimental Study on the Performance of a Phase Change Slurry-Based Heat Pipe Solar Photovoltaic/Thermal Cogeneration System

From Solar Energy:

Effects of sodium nitrate concentration on thermophysical properties of solar salts and on the thermal energy storage cost
Red-mud geopolymer composite encapsulated phase change material for thermal comfort in built-sector [pdf]

From Energies:

A Novel Encapsulation Method for Phase Change Materials with a AgBr Shell as a Thermal Energy Storage Material

From Advanced Composites and Hybrid Materials:

Latent heat and thermal conductivity enhancements in polyethylene glycol/polyethylene glycol-grafted graphene oxide composites

From International Journal of Refrigeration:

Preparation and performance of form-stable TBAB hydrate/SiO2 composite PCM for cold energy storage

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Delignified wood/capric acid-palmitic acid mixture stable-form phase change material for thermal storage
Molten salt corrosion mechanisms of nitrate based thermal energy storage materials for concentrated solar power plants: A review

From Buildings:

Thermal Performance of Hollow-Core Slab Ventilation System with Macro-Encapsulated Phase-Change Materials in Supply Air Duct

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Heat transfer performance of the finned nano-enhanced phase change material system under the inclination influence

From Journal of the Electrochemical Society:

Effect of High Temperature Circumstance on Lithium-Ion Battery and the Application of Phase Change Material

From Energy:

High-temperature PCM-based thermal energy storage for industrial furnaces installed in energy-intensive industries

Patent application: Temperature control device with PCM

Ben Welter - Monday, December 10, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180347869 (inventors Anthony Boule, Toulouse, France; Pierre Lapalus, Marseille, France):

"The invention relates to a portable device for regulating the temperature of an element, comprising: an engagement part adapted to be placed in contact with the element, a temperature regulation unit comprising a thermoelectric module having two sides (41, 42), a first side (41) of the thermoelectric module being thermally coupled with the engagement part (2). The device further comprises: a reception part (5) adapted to removably receive a phase change material (PCM) (6), a second side (42) of the thermoelectric module being thermally coupled with the reception part (5), such that a phase change material (PCM) (6) provided in the reception part will also be thermally coupled with the second side (42) of the thermoelectric module."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180347869.pdf

PCM briefing: Isomer can store energy for up to 18 years; concept combines pumped storage and heat storage using water as a medium

Ben Welter - Friday, November 02, 2018

• Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and Universidad de La Rioja have created a system capable of storing solar energy for extended periods. The Molecular Solar Thermal Energy Storage system uses a molecular photo switch made from carbon, hydrogen and nitrogen. Sunlight turns the molecule into an energy-rich isomer. The isomer can be stored in a liquid form to be used for heating at night or in winter. “The energy in this isomer can now be stored for up to 18 years. And when we come to extract the energy and use it, we get a warmth increase which is greater than we dared hope for,” said Kasper Moth-Poulsen, professor at Chalmers.

• New research at California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory reveals how an unusual type of ice known as Ice VII can form at speeds over 1,000 miles per hour. "This ice type was only discovered occurring naturally in March, trapped inside diamonds deep underground," reports Science Alert, "and this latest study looks in detail at how exactly it takes shape – apparently in a way that's completely different to how water usually freezes into ice."

• A research team at the Graz University of Technology, Austria, has combined the advantages of pumped storage technology and heat storage using water as a medium in a hybrid storage concept called "hot-water pumped storage hydropower." The new system stores and supplies electricity, heat and cooling energy. 

• The U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) has openings for program directors, tech-to-market advisors and two-year fellowships.  

Registration is open for the 2019 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, to be held in Denver, Colo., July 8-10. Now in its 10th year, the annual conference and technology showcase "brings together experts from different technical disciplines and professional communities to think about America’s energy challenges in new and innovative ways."

A full agenda is available for the World Bio Markets conference, to be held in Amsterdam, Netherlands, April 1-3. Speakers include Rolf Hogan, executive director, Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials; Chris Sayner, vice president customer alliances, corporate sustainability, Croda; and Davide Bragholi, project manager, environmental innovations, Tetra Pak. 

• Registration is open for the inaugural Thermal Materials Summit to be held in Los Angeles on May 2. This technical forum will explore the latest advancements in thermal interface materials for professionals working in aerospace, automotive, telecom, batteries and other fields. Presentation proposals are due by Dec. 7.

Ecozen Solutions of India is one of five finalists in Rabobank’s inaugural Food Loss Challenge Asia. The competition aims to identify innovative ag-tech start-ups working to solve farm-to-market food loss problems. The finalists will present their solutions to a panel of judges at Rabobank’s annual Asia Food & Agribusiness advisory board meeting in Singapore later this month. Ecozen makes portable solar cold rooms for small farms, using a thermal storage unit that can store power for more than 36 hours in case of cloudy or rainy weather.

Patent application: Cooling electronic devices in a data center

Ben Welter - Saturday, August 18, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180235108 (applicant Google LLC, Mountain View, Calif.):

"A data center cooling system includes a thermosiphon, an actuator coupled to the thermosiphon, and a controller. The thermosiphon includes an evaporator; a condenser; and at least one conduit coupled between the evaporator and the condenser to transport a working fluid between the evaporator and the condenser. The controller is coupled to the actuator and configured to operate the actuator to adjust a liquid level of the working fluid in the evaporator based, at least in part, on a parameter associated with a heat load of one or more data center heat generating computing devices."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180235108.pdf

Patent application: Use of a composite material for heat management

Ben Welter - Monday, July 09, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180187977 (applicant SGL Carbon SE, Wiesbaden, Germany):

"The use of a composite material for heat management in the electrical and/or electronic area, in particular in a car. A grid-like structure filled with a phase change material (PCM), and to a composite material that includes a grid-like structure filled with PCM. The filled grid-like structure being present on a cover layer or between two cover layers."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180187977.pdf

Patent application: Systems for thermal management

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 08, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180068924 (Henkel IP & Holding GmbH, Dusseldorf, Germany):

"A heat-dispersing article comprising: a first conductive/protective layer, one or more porous thermally conductive, low-profile structure(s), impregnated with a sufficient quantity of a formulated phase change material (PCM) so as to substantially cover the surface and voids of said porous thermally conductive, low-profile structure, wherein said formulated PCM comprises said PCM containing 5-20% by weight of a gelling agent mixed with said PCM, and a second conductive/protective layer, wherein said one or more porous thermally conductive, low-profile structure(s) are sandwiched between said first and second conductive/protective layers, and wherein said article has: a latency of at least 100 J/cc, and an effective thermal conductivity of at least 10 W/mK."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180068924.pdf

Patent application: Method and apparatus for absorbing thermal energy

Ben Welter - Friday, October 27, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170268829 (applicant Rini Technologies Inc., Oviedo, Fla.):

"The subject invention pertains to a method and apparatus for storing thermal energy. The subject thermal energy storage apparatus can function as a heat absorber in a cooling system. A cooling system can incorporate a cooling cycle that utilizes thermal energy storage and has two coolant loops. The primary cooling loop acquires the waste heat from a heat source, such as an electronic device, by heat transfer to the primary coolant via, for example, a sensible heat process (where sensible heat is heat absorbed or transmitted by a substance during a change in temperature which is not accompanied by a change of state) or by evaporating the primary coolant through a latent heat phase change process. The waste heat absorbed by the primary coolant is transferred to the host material of the heat absorber. The subject invention uses a high thermal conductivity host material to house a lower thermal conductivity phase change material, in order to achieve a thermal energy absorber that has a high effective thermal conductivity."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170268829.pdf

Patent application: Capacitor assembly and related method of forming

Ben Welter - Monday, June 19, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170169948 (assignee General Electric Co., Schenectady, N.Y.):

"A capacitor assembly, comprising: a housing; a plurality of capacitors disposed within the housing; a thermally conductive article disposed about at least a portion of a capacitor body of the capacitors, and in thermal contact with the capacitor body; and a heat sink disposed within the housing and in thermal contact with at least a portion of the housing and the thermally conductive article such that the heat sink is configured to remove heat from the capacitor in a radial direction of the capacitor assembly. ... In some embodiments ... the heat sink may be formed of the phase change material or the heat sink may include the phase change material that is combined with one or more thermal conductive materials."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2017/0169948.html