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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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Research roundup: Self-luminous wood composite; palmitic acid/mullite composite; corrosion sensitivity of metal alloys; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 12, 2019

From Energy Storage Materials:

Self-luminous wood composite for both thermal and light energy storage

From International Journal of Refrigeration:

The thermal performances of a refrigerator incorporating a Phase Change Material

From Renewable Energy:

Enhanced thermal conductivity of palmitic acid/mullite phase change composite with graphite powder for thermal energy storage
An experimental study on the corrosion sensitivity of metal alloys for usage in PCM thermal energy storages

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Sorption thermal energy storage: Hybrid coating/granules adsorber design and hybrid TCM/PCM operation
Novel hybrid microencapsulated phase change materials incorporated wallboard for year-long year energy storage in buildings

From Thermochimica Acta:

Experimental Investigation on Thermal Properties of Sodium Acetate Trihydrate based Phase Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage
The preparation of AgI/Au/foam-Cu as a framework of composite for water-based cool storage phase-change material with low supercooling

From Energy and Buildings:

Nano-encapsulation of phase change materials: from design to thermal performance, simulations and toxicological assessment
Investigation of phase change materials integrated with fin-tube baseboard convector for space heating

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Nano-enhancement of phase change material in a shell and multi-PCM-tube heat exchanger

From Applied Energy:

Numerical investigation of phase change material thermal storage for space cooling

From Journal of Materials Chemistry A:

Vertically aligned carbon fibers as supporting scaffolds for phase change composites with anisotropic thermal-conductivity and good shape-stability

PCM briefing: Viking Cold Solutions taps Constellation funding; energy sector veteran to lead Sunamp growth plans

Ben Welter - Monday, February 11, 2019

• Researchers at the University of Alabama have won a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to develop a thermally activated building envelope system that integrates non-combustible phase change materials and hydronic activation into building envelopes. The goal is to reduce the energy costs as well as to support renewable energy sources for "power grid reliability, quality, resilience and dispatchability." It's one of 19 projects that will share up to $19.5 million in DOE grants for early-stage research and development for advanced building technologies and systems.

Viking Cold Solutions warehouse installationViking Cold Solutions of Houston, Texas, has reached an agreement with Constellation to offer Viking's commercial and industrial refrigeration customers access to the energy retailer's Efficiency Made Easy program. The program helps businesses implement energy conservation measures with no upfront capital costs. The upgrades are included in the monthly charges that appear on a customer's Constellation utility bill. Viking's PCM-based thermal energy storage systems, such as the one shown at right, are designed to reduce energy costs by shifting peak demand to nighttime hours.

• Registration is open for the 2019 Energy Storage Association Conference set for April 16-19 in Phoenix, Ariz. Exhibitors include battery thermal management startup Hotstart Inc. and Hydrostor, a Canadian company that offers "utility-scale energy storage facilities that can be flexibly sited using its Advanced Compressed Air Energy Storage (A-CAES) technology."

• The deadline for submitting presentations for the Advancements in Thermal Management conference is Feb. 15. Topics include emerging technologies for thermal management; market opportunities for thermal products and services; thermal materials; and thermal modeling characterization and measurement. The conference will be held Aug. 7-8 in Denver, Colo.

Sunamp Ltd. has appointed energy sector veteran Bill Edrich as global head of commercial and industrial to lead the thermal energy storage company's growth plans.  

Ice Bear 30Ice Energy says it has completed the first phase of what will be the largest installation of its Ice Bear thermal storage systems in the United States. Under a 21.6-megawatt energy storage contract with Southern California Edison, about 100 Ice Bear systems have been installed at businesses across SCE’s territory. The two-year project calls for the deployment of more than 1,200 Ice Bears.

• Nominations are being sought for the World Materials Forum's 2019 Start Up Challenge. The competition honors "demonstrated breakthroughs" in a handful of categories, including new material composition and new product design. The top prize is 50,000 euros. The application deadline is Feb. 28.

• A group of businesses and environmental leaders have jointly launched the Plant Based Products Council, a group working to "guide the global economy toward more sustainable and responsible consumer products and packaging through greater use of plant-based materials." The group's website, pbpc.com, features a database of more than 480 plant-based and biobased products now on the market. 

Pelican BioThermal has opened a new network station and service center in Los Angeles to service, refurbish, repair and condition the company’s reusable Credo on Demand temperature-controlled shippers.

Tim RiazziTim Riazzi, right, president at Microtek Laboratories of Dayton, Ohio, has been elected vice president of the Phase Change Materials Industry Association of North America. He succeeds Pete Horwath, CEO at Insolcorp, who was elected president of the association in December.

• The CAVU Group of Dayton, Ohio, has posted an opening for a chemical engineer, "responsible for designing new process plants/equipment, work cells or modifying existing ones."

• Registration is open for the 11th Microencapsulation Training School, to be held April 9-12 in Loughborough, United Kingdom. Topics include spray drying/cooling, dripping technology, membrane emulsification and microencapsulation in microfluidic systems. The training is hosted by Loughborough University's chemical engineering department. The deadline for early registration, with fees ranging from 450 to 1,000 euros, is Feb. 28.

• Registration is open for the 3rd Sustainable Oils & Fats International conference to be held April 4-5 in Paris.

• The presentations given Jan. 24 at the Workshop on Energy Efficient Buildings & Thermal Energy Storage Systems at the University of Nottingham are available for download. Among the highlights: "PCM Products R&D overview" (Adam Dicken), "Enhanced geothermal borehole heat exchangers with PCMs" (Heiko Gaich and Amandio Rebola) and "Phase change materials for renewable heating and cooling" (Sam Gledhill). 

Patent application: Thermal energy storage apparatus

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 07, 2019

CCT thermal storage patent drawingU.S. patent application 20190041139 (applicant Climate Change Technologies Pty. Ltd., Adelaide, Australia):

"A thermal energy storage apparatus, including: a block of a heat-absorbing material, and a plurality of heat storage elements, the heat storage elements including a phase change material stored in a containment vessel; wherein each heat storage element is in thermal contact with the block of heat-absorbing material. ... The phase change material may include silicon metalloid or a eutectic, hypereutectic or hypoeutectic silicon composition."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190041139.pdf

Research roundup: Thermal conductivity; decarbonization potential of compact heat storage; liquid desiccant cooling systems; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 06, 2019

From Energy:

Effects of thermal conductivity and density on phase change materials-based thermal energy storage systems

From Renewable Energy:

Melting process investigation of phase change materials in a shell and tube heat exchanger enhanced with heat pipe

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Compact latent heat storage decarbonisation potential for domestic hot water and space heating applications in the UK
Numerical and experimental study of phase-change temperature controller containing graded cellular material fabricated by additive manufacturing
A novel composite phase change material with paraffin wax in tailings porous ceramics
Characterisation and evaluation of a new phase change enhanced working solution for liquid desiccant cooling systems
Thermal properties enhancement and application of a novel sodium acetate trihydrate-formamide/expanded graphite shape-stabilized composite phase change material for electric radiant floor heating

From Environmental Research:

Latent heat storage biocomposites of phase change material-biochar as feasible eco-friendly building materials

From Colloids and Surfaces A:

A facile microencapsulation of phase change materials within silicone-based shells by using glass capillary devices

From Microporous and Mesoporous Materials:

Phase change in modified metal organic frameworks MIL-101(Cr): Mechanism on highly improved energy storage performance

From Applied Energy:

Role of porous metal foam on the heat transfer enhancement for a thermal energy storage tube
Energy saving performance assessment and lessons learned from the operation of an active phase change materials system in a multi-storey building in Melbourne

From Building and Environment:

Comparative analysis of the PCM application according to the building type as retrofit system

From Construction and Building Materials:

Evaluation of the potential use of form-stable phase change materials to improve the freeze-thaw resistance of concrete

From Results in Physics:

Application Research of Nano-storage Materials in Cold Chain Logistics of E-commerce Fresh Agricultural Products

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Using PCM as energy storage material in water tanks: Theoretical and experimental investigation

PCM briefing: Cash infusion for PCES; call for e-textile conference papers

Ben Welter - Monday, January 28, 2019

Phase Change Energy Solutions Inc. of Asheboro, N.C., last week announced an investment by Pegasus Capital Advisors, Emerald Technology Ventures and Third Prime, an early-stage venture fund and prior investor. Dennis McGill, operations advisor at Pegasus, joined PCES last month as chief executive officer. The company says it will use the proceeds to fund the continued development of its thermal storage products and expand its operations globally. Terms of the investment were not disclosed. 

Mark RichardsMark Richards, right, CEO at Emery Mechanical Engineering in San Diego, is featured in a recent episode of the HVAC 360 podcast. Richards, former applications engineering manager at Phase Change Energy Solutions, talks about "Phase Change Materials in Practice." 

1414 Degrees of Australia reports that the first commercial pilot of its molten silicon energy storage system is one step closer to commissioning. The GAS-TESS will store energy to generate electricity from biogases produced at a wastewater treatment plant. 

• In collaboration with Canada's Université Laval, researchers at the University of the Basque Country in Spain conclude that "fake ISO 9001 quality certificates are very widespread across Chinese companies and that the certification processes of the auditing companies lack credibility." 

• The Association Connecting Electronics Industries has issued a call for technical conference abstracts and educational course proposals for IPC E-TEXTILES 2019 to be held Sept. 11 in Philadelphia, Pa. Topics include reliability, test methods, design, washability and materials innovation. Abstracts and proposals are due by April 10. 

Research roundup: Micro environmental control system; alkali nitrate salts; sodium thiosulfate pentahydrate; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 22, 2019

From Journal of Thermal Science and Engineering :

Phase Change Material Freezing in an Energy Storage Module for a Micro Environmental Control System
Phase Change Material Melting in an Energy Storage Module for a Micro Environmental Control System

From Renewable Energy:

Form-stable oxalic acid dihydrate/glycolic acid-based composite PCMs for thermal energy storage
Molecular simulation of the structure and physical properties of alkali nitrate salts for thermal energy storage

From Applied Energy:

Effect of inclination on the thermal response of composite phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Characterization and thermal performance of microencapsulated sodium thiosulfate pentahydrate as phase change material for thermal energy storage
Fabrication and applications of dual-responsive microencapsulated phase change material with enhanced solar energy-storage and solar photocatalytic effectiveness

From Energy:

Numerical investigations of optimal phase change material incorporated into ventilated walls

From Polymer Degradation and Stability:

EG-based coatings for flame retardance of shape stabilized phase change materials

From Construction and Building Materials:

Freeze-thaw performance of phase change material (PCM) incorporated pavement subgrade soil

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Research roundup: Solar storage tank; concentric PCM module; supercooling degree improvement; more

Ben Welter - Monday, January 21, 2019

From Journal of Thermal Science:

Energy Storage Performance of a PCM in the Solar Storage Tank

From International Journal of Applied Engineering Research:

Numerical assessment of suitability of phase-change materials in a concentric PCM-module for thermal storage applications [pdf]

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Experimental measurements and numerical computation of nanofluid and microencapsulated phase change material in porous material

From IOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering:

Nano-enhanced phase change material effects on the supercooling degree improvement: A review

From Renewable Energy:

Potential of ventilation systems with thermal energy storage using PCMs applied to air conditioned buildings

From Journal of Mechanical Engineering and Technology:

Thermal performance analysis of nano enhanced paraffin wax and myristic acid

From Solar Energy:

Synthesis and characterization of microencapsulated phase change materials with comb-like acrylic co-polymer shell as thermal energy storage materials
Sensible and latent heat energy storage systems for concentrated solar power plants, exergy efficiency comparison

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Thermal energy storage characteristics of myristic acid-palmitic eutectic mixtures encapsulated in PMMA shell

From Thermal Science and Engineering Progress:

Parametric analysis and optimization of an underfloor solar assisted heating system with phase change materials

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

The improved enthalpy-transforming based lattice Boltzmann model for solid-liquid phase change

From Applied Energy:

Innovative design of superhydrophobic thermal energy-storage materials by microencapsulation of n-docosane with nanostructured ZnO/SiO2 shell

From AIP Conference Proceedings:

Preparation and characterization of nanoparticle blended polymers for thermal energy storage applications

PCM briefing: CEO Hopkins leaves Ice Energy; 1414 Degrees says TESS-IND commissioning verified

Ben Welter - Monday, January 21, 2019

Mike HopkinsMike Hopkins, right, CEO of Ice Energy since 2014, has left the Riverside, Calif., company to pursue a "soon to be revealed" opportunity. Ice Energy makes ice-based thermal energy storage systems. According to an Ice Energy representative: "Dr. Marcel Christians (previously CIO) and Alex Collins (VP at Pacific Advantage Capital, majority shareholder in Ice Energy) have joined together to lead the company as co-COOs. Other than that, it’s business as usual as the company pushes most of its resources towards finding viable candidates for its 20+ MW thermal energy storage contract with major California utility, Southern California Edison."

AIMPLAS, a plastics technology center in Spain, is among 10 participants in a European project led by the Polytechnic University of Valencia. The consortium is developing new components for geothermal systems offering high thermal-conductivity properties.  

1414 Degrees Ltd. has announced that the commissioning of the Australian company's TESS-IND has been verified by Bureau Veritas. In three- and eight-hour test runs, the molten silicon heat store powered the system's turbine to generate average electricity outputs of 104kW and 148kW. "The maximum verified temperature of the phase change material heat store was 1418 degrees Celsius," the company said.

Research roundup: Hydrophobic lauric acid; paraffin in heat exchanger; EnergyPlus vs. IES; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, January 10, 2019

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Preparation of hydrophobic lauric acid/SiO2 shape-stabilized phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Development of paraffin wax as phase change material based latent heat storage in heat exchanger

From Renewable Energy:

Characterization and stability study of a form-stable erythritol/expanded graphite composite phase change material for thermal energy storage

From Journal of Building Engineering:

Comparison of EnergyPlus and IES to model a complex university building using three scenarios: Free-floating, ideal air load system, and detailed

From 4th International Conference on Renewable Energies for Developing Countries :

Phase Change Materials in a Domestic Solar Hot Water Storage Tank of the Lebanese Market
Numerical and experimental investigations of a PCM integrated solar chimney
Integrating a High Solar Combi-Plus System using PCM Storage in a Smart Network: KSA Case Study

From International Journal of Advanced Research In Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology:

Solar Cooker with Heat Storage System: A Review [pdf]

From Energy and Buildings:


From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Bio-based poly (lactic acid)/high-density polyethylene blends as shape-stabilized phase change material for thermal energy storage applications

From Construction and Building Materials:

Microstructure-guided numerical simulation to evaluate the influence of phase change materials (PCMs) on the freeze-thaw response of concrete pavements

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Thermal management of Li-ion battery pack with the application of flexible form-stable composite phase change materials
Experimental investigation on cylindrically macro-encapsulated latent heat storage for space heating applications

From International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer:

Experimental investigation on using a novel phase change material (PCM) in micro structure photovoltaic cooling system
Experimental investigation on a novel composite heat pipe with phase change materials coated on the adiabatic section

From Journal of Cleaner Production:

Patent application: Thermal storage system and temperature controlled container

Ben Welter - Thursday, January 03, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190003781 (applicants University of Ghent, Belgium; Colruyt Group, Halle, Belgium):

"Passive thermal storage systems and methods comprising at least one thermal storage module for storing thermal energy in a predetermined temperature range, are disclosed. The thermal storage module comprises an FT unit and a Heat Storage (HS) unit at least partially filled with a first Phase Change Material (PCM). The HS unit comprises a container. The thermal storage module may be in the form of a stacked structure comprising the FT unit having a first wall with a first heat exchange surface and the HS unit having a second wall with a second heat exchange surface, the first and second heat exchange surfaces being in thermal contact with each other. The thermal storage system may be used to maintain the temperature of the payload of a temperature controlled container at a predetermined value or within a predetermined range."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190003781.pdf