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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.

Two Entropy advisors, Dr. Mohammed Farid and Lucas B. Hyman, are pleased to take your questions about PCMs and thermal energy storage. Send your questions to bwelter@puretemp.com. We'll select the best and post the answers here each week.

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Research roundup: PCM wallboard; composite Trombe solar wall; indoor thermal comfort; more

Ben Welter - Friday, September 15, 2017

Energetic performance of two different PCM wallboards and their regeneration behavior in office rooms [Energy Procedia]

Correlation between energy efficiency in buildings and comfort of the users [Energy Procedia]

Numerical study of a composite Trombe solar wall integrating microencapsulated PCM [Energy Procedia]

Design of High Temperature Thermal Energy Storage for High Power Levels [Sustainable Cities and Society]

Numerical analysis of heat transfer processes in a low-cost, high-performance ice storage device for residential applications [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Solid-liquid phase change investigation through a double pipe heat exchanger dealing with time-dependent boundary conditions [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Evaluation of energy efficient hybrid hollow plaster panel using phase change material/xGnP composites [Applied Energy]

Indoor thermal comfort assessment using different constructive solutions incorporating PCM [Applied Energy]

The experimental phase diagram study of the binary polyols system erythritol-xylitol [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Multifunctional poly (melamine-urea-formaldehyde)/graphene microcapsules with low infrared emissivity and high thermal conductivity [Materials Science and Engineering: B]

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.  

Managing room temperature with PCM? There's an art to it

Ben Welter - Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A good piece of framed art can light up a room. Now, to some degree, it can also heat and cool it.

Cutaway of Tempassist wall decorTempassist, a wall decor system developed by Larson-Juhl of Norcross, Ga., and Phase Change Energy Solutions of Asheboro, N.C., is designed to maintain comfortable temperatures and reduce energy costs.

Here’s how it works: BioPCM, a biobased phase change material made by PCES, is enclosed in multi-layer film mats and placed in each frame, behind a large piece of art. The PCM absorbs excess heat when temperatures rise above 72 degrees F. When room temperature falls below 72, the PCM releases the heat. 

PCES says the system, which is now aimed at commercial customers such as hotels, hospitals and office buildings, offers a minimum 40 percent reduction in HVAC run times and 50 percent reduction in system on/off cycles, using temperature-control materials lasting more than 85 years.

Larson-Juhl is bringing Tempassist to market under a partnership/licensing agreement with PCES.

Doug Doolen, PCES’ Tempassist expert, answered questions about the product by email:

Q: How did the idea for this product originate?

A: In 2015, Phase Change Energy Solutions, Inc. (Phase Change) had a tech partner group introduce us to Larson-Juhl, a Berkshire Hathaway Company with a hundred-year history in manufacturing innovative custom picture frame moldings and wall décor all over the world.

In early discussions, Phase Change presented ENRG Blanket and BioPCM as a plant-based phase change material that can work in any orientation inside the building envelope. As an example, Phase Change mentioned use in a large coffeehouse as a place where ENRG Blanket could be incorporated behind the wall décor and pictures they had on display. This would help buffer thermal loads during peak hours associated with people and long lines and thus drive energy savings. 

LJ asked if the same concept could be applied to any room with wall décor that they supply across the world. 

Phase Change produced scale-model replicas of various rooms and validated proof of concept. This was then scaled to demonstrate performance with different material densities, conductivity and performance.

Full-size room/multiple-room testing commenced late in 2015 to prove room savings, distribution within the room and finally performance. This led to several successful full-building tests which showed significant energy savings that is consistent (often exceeding) the advertised 25-35% HVAC energy savings.

Q: Which PCM is used? C23? C25? Or a new PCM altogether?

A: BioPCM is the material powering Tempassist. It is specifically tuned (transition temperature and mass) to perform to this specific application. Larson-Juhl has also incorporated various features and construction elements that enhance overall performance.

Q: What's your take on the potential market size? 

A: Market size is quite large when you consider the number of retail and commercial structures with multiple room/floor configurations.

Value of TES 'not always fully recognized by policymakers'

Ben Welter - Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Heating and cooling in buildings and industry accounts for half of Europe's energy consumption, and yet the potential “immense value” of thermal energy storage has barely been explored, the head of an energy storage trade group says. 

Patrick Clerens“Despite its immense value to the energy system, the role of thermal energy storage concepts is not always fully recognized by policymakers,” Patrick Clerens, secretary-general of the European Association for Storage of Energy, said in an interview with Energy Storage News. 

“For example, the ongoing discussions about the energy storage definition in the European Parliament would appear to exclude thermal energy storage and Power-to-Gas, or Power-to-Liquids. A broader energy storage definition, such as the European Commission’s initial proposal, is needed to allow all energy storage technologies to be considered.”

In a position paper published in July, the trade group called for economic incentives such as accelerated depreciation, better regulatory framework to “ensure non-discriminatory access to energy grids” and improved support from European Union research agencies.

https://www.energy-storage.news/news/immense-value-of-thermal-energy-storage-not-yet-recognised-by-europes-polic

PCM briefing: Inventory reset rule takes effect; va-Q-tec reports strong first half

Ben Welter - Monday, August 28, 2017

• Thermal energy storage, a proven technology for years in Europe, is now a "budding HVAC option" in the United States, ACHR News reports. “In many ways, applications haven’t changed,” said Steve Benz, a 35-year veteran of the thermal storage industry and Evapco’s director of global thermal storage and district energy. “What has changed is related to the electric market — with an emphasis today on sustainable energy production and electricity storage."

Jane Chen• In an appearance at Stanford School of Engineering, Embrace founder Jane Chen, right, talked about the challenges she faced in developing and expanding the use of the PCM-based infant warming blanket. "You will inevitably fail," she said, "and you need to have the courage and the persistence to get back out there, learn from your mistakes, and try again."

• The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has published the final TSCA inventory reset rule. The rule, which is effective immediately, creates new reporting obligations for companies that manufacture or import chemical products.

Va-Q-tec AG is reporting a strong first half of the year, with revenue 44 percent higher than the same period last year. The company, based in Würzburg, Germany, develops, manufactures and sells vacuum insulation panels and phase change materials. 

• Monday, Aug. 28, is the deadline for submitting entries in Bio-Based World News' bio-based innovation competition for the Americas. The two categories are product of the year and chemical innovation of the year. The awards will be presented at the Bio-Based Live conference in San Diego Sept. 25-26. 

Singapore's "Grid 2.0" may include district cooling systems that incorporate phase change materials. 

Sonoco ThermoSafe has an opening for product manager in Arlington Heights, Ill. 

• New from Market Research Future: "Global Thermal Energy Storage Market Research Report - Forecast to 2022"

SaltX Technology of Sweden and Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. Ltd of China have reached an agreement to jointly develop and commercialize a "groundbreaking solution" for wind power with integrated energy storage.  

Research roundup: HDPE spheres; erythritol-based composites; shape-stabilized PCM sheets; graphite foam; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, August 23, 2017

High density polyethylene spheres with PCM for domestic hot water applications: Water tank and laboratory scale study [Journal of Energy Storage]

Numerical Simulation and Optimization of the Melting Process of Phase Change Material inside Horizontal Annulus [Energies]

Evaluation and comparison of erythritol-based composites with addition of expanded graphite and carbon nanotubes [Applied Energy]

Investigation of thermo-fluidic performance of phase change material slurry and energy transport characteristics [Applied Energy]

Numerical investigation of heat transfer performance of a rotating latent heat thermal energy storage [Applied Energy]

Application of shape-stabilized phase-change material sheets as thermal energy storage to reduce heating load in Japanese climate [Building and Environment]

Graphite foam as interpenetrating matrices for phase change paraffin wax: A candidate composite for low temperature thermal energy storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Alkali polyphosphates as new potential materials for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy]

Magnesium phosphate cements formulated with low grade magnesium oxide incorporating phase change materials for thermal energy storage [Construction and Building Materials]

Numerical and experimental investigation of an insulation layer with phase change materials (PCMs) [Energy and Buildings]

Research roundup: Geopolymer concrete; octyl, decyl, dodecyl and tetradecyl stearates; supercooling suppression of erythritol; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 03, 2017

From Cement and Concrete Research:

Mechanical properties and microscale changes of geopolymer concrete and Portland cement concrete containing micro-encapsulated phase change materials

From Applied Energy:

Impact of pressure on the dynamic behavior of CO2 hydrate slurry in a stirred tank reactor applied to cold thermal energy storage

From International Journal of Refrigeration:

Parametric analysis of domestic refrigerators using PCM heat exchanger

From American Institute of Physics:

Utilization of the PCM Latent Heat for Energy Savings in Buildings [pdf]

From Journal of Cleaner Production:

LCA perspective to assess the environmental impact of a novel PCM-based cold storage unit for the civil air conditioning

From Renewable Energy:

A calcium chloride hexahydrate/expanded perlite composite with good heat storage and insulation properties for building energy conservation
Ionic compounds derived from crude glycerol: Thermal energy storage capability evaluation
Comparative study of the thermal performance of four different shell-and-tube heat exchangers used as latent heat thermal energy storage systems

From Materials Today: Proceedings:

Viscoelastic characterization of multifunctional composites incorporated with microencapsulated phase change materials

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Effect of phase change material wall on natural convection heat transfer inside an air filled enclosure
A numerical study of building integrated with CaCl2·6H2O/expanded graphite composite phase change material
Study of the thermal behavior of the composite phase change material (PCM) room in summer and winter

From Applied Polymer Science:

Emulsion-electrospinning n-octadecane/silk composite fiber as environmental-friendly form-stable phase change materials

From Journal of Materials Chemistry A:

Versatility of polyethylene glycol (PEG) in designing solid-solid phase change materials (PCMs) for thermal management and their application to innovative technologies

From Materials:

Influence of Microencapsulated Phase Change Material (PCM) Addition on (Micro) Mechanical Properties of Cement Paste
Investigation of the Dynamic Melting Process in a Thermal Energy Storage Unit Using a Helical Coil Heat Exchanger

From Energy and Buildings:

Experimental analysis of thermal performance in buildings with shape-stabilized phase change materials
Preparation and thermal properties of octyl, decyl, dodecyl and tetradecyl stearates as phase change materials for thermal energy storage
Effect of PCM application inside an evacuated tube collector on the thermal performance of a domestic hot water system

From Solar Energy:

Experimental investigation of water based photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) system with and without phase change material (PCM)
Heat transfer studies of building brick containing phase change materials
Experimental investigations on stable supercooling performance of sodium acetate trihydrate PCM for thermal storage

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Supercooling suppression and thermal behavior improvement of erythritol as phase change material for thermal energy storage
MgCl2·6H2O-Mg(NO3)2·6H2O eutectic/SiO2 composite phase change material with improved thermal reliability and enhanced thermal conductivity

Research roundup: Transient energy storage; metal alloys for high-temperature applications; low-cost PCM emulsion; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Transient thermal energy storage in partitioned enclosures packed with microencapsulated phase change materials [International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer]

Considerations for the use of metal alloys as phase change materials for high temperature applications [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Experimental analysis of a coiled stirred tank containing a low cost PCM emulsion as a thermal energy storage system [Energy]

Fabrication and characterization of novel shape-stabilized synergistic phase change materials based on PHDA/GO composites [Energy]

Fabrication of hard-shell microcapsules containing inorganic materials [International Journal of Refrigeration]

Renewable Energy and Energy Storage Systems [Energy]

Thermal Storage Capacity and Night Ventilation Performance of a Solar Chimney Combined with Different PCMs [International Journal of Photoenergy]

Preparation and characterizations of asphalt/lauric acid blends phase change materials for potential building materials [Construction and Building Materials]

Numerically Study the Performance of An Air—multiple PCMs unit for Free Cooling and Ventilation [Energy and Buildings]

Patent application: Air conditioner units having dehumidification features

Ben Welter - Tuesday, July 11, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170191721 (applicant General Electric Co., Schenectady, N.Y.):

"Air conditioner units are provided. An air conditioner unit includes an outdoor heat exchanger, the outdoor heat exchanger including a coil assembly through which refrigerant is flowable, and an indoor heat exchanger, the indoor heat exchanger comprising a coil assembly through which refrigerant is flowable. The air conditioner unit further includes an auxiliary heat exchanger [110, above] disposed between the outdoor heat exchanger and the indoor heat exchanger along a refrigerant flow path, the auxiliary heat exchanger including a coil assembly [112] through which refrigerant is flowable and further including a phase change material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170191721.pdf

Ohio company wins grant to develop geothermal energy storage with PCM

Ben Welter - Monday, July 03, 2017

Melink Corp. of Milford, Ohio, is one of 13 small companies to receive a share of $4.5 million in grants recently announced by the U.S. Department of Energy. 

The grants are funded through the department’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. The 13 companies are receiving the funding to develop "energy-efficient technologies in the buildings sector with a strong potential for commercialization and job creation." 

Melink, a global provider of energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions for the commercial building industry, added a new division in April to serve the geothermal heating, ventilation and air conditioning market. Melink received its grant to explore the development of geothermal seasonal energy storage based on phase change materials that could "dramatically lower the cost of storing energy."

http://www.einnews.com/pr_news/389670615/energy-department-announces-nearly-4-5-million-for-innovative-small-businesses-focused-on-building-energy-efficiency-technologies