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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: Texas undergrads win ASHRAE equipment grant; 1414 Degrees among exhibitors at Australia energy storage conference

Ben Welter - Monday, May 21, 2018

• A University of North Texas research project, “Design of Energy Recovery Heat Exchanger Coupled with Phase Change Materials for Building Temperature Control,” is one of 25 undergraduate projects awarded a 2018 equipment grant from ASHRAE. The grants, totaling more than $113,000, will help the winning students complete undergraduate projects at schools around the world.

• New from HTF Market Intelligence: "United States Cold Chain Equipments Market Report 2018"

• New from Future Market Insights: "Salt Hydrate Market: Global Industry Analysis 2012 - 2016 and Opportunity Assessment; 2017-2027"

• New from QY Research: "Global Thermal Energy Storage (TES) Industry 2018 Market Research Report"

CouchBed

• The retail market is full of PCM-topped mattresses, pillows and seat cushions. Here's the first fold-out couch we've seen that features the temperature-control technology. The CouchBed, made by an Arizona company, is a 10-inch memory foam mattress that’s “made with 100% CertiPur certified ultra-dense memory foam, combined with phase change material to actively cool the sleeping surface."

• The U.S. Department of Energy has announced $72 million for new projects to advance high-temperature concentrating solar power technologies. The high-temperature thermal storage systems targeted by this program seek to achieve at least 700 degrees C, which would boost the efficiency and lower the cost of electricity. Awardees include Brayton Energy, Hampton, N.H, $7.6 million; National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colo., $7 million; and Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, N.M., $9.5 million.

• Under a new joint development agreement, the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy will join Cleanergy AB's board of directors and help the Swedish firm advance its concentrated solar power and storage technology. The agency will fund a “substantial part” of Cleanergy's research and development work on thermal energy storage. Cleanergy, in turn, will be able to test its technology using the agency's facility in Ouarzazate, Morocco.

• A Ph.D. candidate at Delft University of Technology outlines a strategy to maximize the potential of aquifer thermal energy storage and phase out the use of natural gas in the Netherlands.

• Thermal energy storage company 1414 Degrees will be among more than 60 companies from around the world scheduled to attend the Australian Energy Storage Conference and Exhibition May 23-24 at the Adelaide Convention Center. Other exhibitors include Tesla, Toshiba, GE and Victron Energy.

Patent application: Heating and cooling technologies

Ben Welter - Friday, December 15, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170354190 (applicant Charles J. Cauchy, Traverse City, Mich.):

"A heating and cooling device is disclosed comprising at least one integral low voltage heating and cooling source and an efficient flexible heat distribution means having a thermal conductivity of from 375 to 4000 W/mK for distributing the heat and cool across a surface. Further aspects include thermal interface compounds to provide full thermal contact as well as the use of a phase change material to provide a long lasting heating and/or cooling effect without the use of external electrical input. Preferred applications include automotive and furniture seating heating and cooling, along with outdoor garments having distributed heating and cooling effects."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170354190.pdf

Patent application: Temperature regulating polyurethane gels

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 03, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170210961 (applicant Technogel Italia, Vicenza, Italy): 

"A method for the production of a temperature regulating polyurethane gel composition and corresponding articles includes fatty acid esters as a phase change material (PCM) directly incorporated in the fluid phase of a polyurethane gel without encapsulation. The liquid or melted PCM is solved in the polyol component of the gel and is able to crystallize and melt within the gel structure reversibly. The polyurethane gels are under-crosslinked and include at least nominal three functional ethylene oxide-comprising alkylene oxide polyether polyol with 0 to 40% EO and an isocyanate with an effective functionality of from 1.5 to 3.5. The gels are useful in articles where the gel can be positioned close to the human body for temperature regulating purposes, and especially to improve the sleeping comfort of a resting person."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170210961.pdf

PCM-enhanced table selected for French accelerator program

Ben Welter - Friday, June 09, 2017

Table ClimatiqueA table designed to reduce energy costs by absorbing heat when indoor temperatures rise above a comfortable level is among 25 innovations chosen for FAIRE Paris, an accelerator program supporting "innovative urban design and architecture projects" in France. 

"Table Climatique," designed by Jean-Sébastien Lagrange and Raphaël Ménard, contains microencapsulated Micronal phase change material within triangular folds of lightweight anodized aluminum. The PCM has a melting point of 22º Celsius. It releases heat when temperatures fall below a comfortable level.

"The waved geometry of the conductive aluminum fosters thermal exchanges between the room and the PCMs located inside the Climatic Table," according to the creators' website. "The folds of the light-weight sheet of aluminum give also an excellent structural rigidity and carrying strength. Thus, the plateau might have a very large span."

Ménard and Lagrange hope to develop a line of "zero energy furniture" products based on the table.  

http://www.faireparis.com/en/

Research roundup: Heat storage system in diesel engine; integrating PCM in furniture; hybrid cooling vest; more

Ben Welter - Friday, November 18, 2016

Experimental study on heat storage system using phase-change material in a diesel engine [Energy]

Recycling Rhizopus oryzae resting cells as biocatalyst to prepare near eutectic palmitic-stearic acid mixtures from non-edible fat [Journal of Molecular Catalysis B: Enzymatic]

Dynamic thermal characteristics analysis of microencapsulated phase change suspensions flowing through rectangular mini-channels for thermal energy storage [Energy and Buildings]

Influence of internal thermal mass on the indoor thermal dynamics and integration of phase change materials in furniture for building energy storage: A review [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Experimental study of the thermal characteristics of microencapsulated phase change composite cylinders [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Experimental Investigation of Melting Behavior of PCM by Using Coil Heat Source inside Cylindrical Container  [Journal of Electrical Systems and Information Technology]

Simulation Study of Anomalous Thermal Properties of Molten Nitrate salt [Powder Technology]

Enhance heat transfer for phase-change materials in triplex tube heat exchanger with selected arrangements of fins [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Experiments on Thermal Performance of Erythritol/Expanded Graphite in a Direct Contact Thermal Energy Storage Container [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Hybrid cooling vest for cooling between exercise bouts in the heat: effects and practical considerations [Journal of Thermal Biology]

PCM-powered table is featured in Milan Design Week showcase

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 16, 2015

PCM tablePhase change material is on display at Milan Design Week. But you'd have to look carefully to find it. A table designed by Jean-Sébastien Lagrange and Raphaël Ménard contains PCMs within triangular folds of anodized aluminum. Photographer Amandine Dowle lists the table among her favorite green furnishings at the Designerblock showcase.

The prototype is designed to reduce energy costs buy absorbing heat when temperatures rise above a comfortable level and releasing heat when temperatures fall below that level. 

April 20, 2015, update: Ménard, responding to an e-mail inquiry, said the folds are filled with BASF's microencapsulated Micronal PCM, with a melting point of 22º Celsius. Regarding retail plans, he wrote: "We are looking forward [to] large-scale development for [a] full range of products."

http://zef-design.tumblr.com/tagged/ZEF-prototype