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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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PCM briefing: Sasol introduces Parafol 17; CIC Energigune seeks scientific director for energy storage group

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 07, 2017

• In a LinkedIn post, the chemicals giant Sasol has announced the development of a new phase change material, Parafol 17. The product has a melting range of 20-22º Celsius. Potential applications include building/construction and the transportation of temperature-sensitive goods. The company says the new PCM is commercially available, but it is not yet listed on the company's websites.

CIC Energigune is seeking candidates for the position of scientific director in its energy storage group, which is focused on the research of systems that can store heat from medium to high temperatures. The research center, based in Spain's Basque Country, also has a leadership opening in the TES group's device, prototype and testing area. 

• Want to learn how your company can include sustainability in its business goals? Stanford University's Center for Professional Development is offering a free webinar, "The Pursuit of Sustainability," at 11 a.m Pacific time March 14. 

GreenCE is offering an online course titled "Inspiration Green: Biomimicry, Climate & Culture." The course, sponsored by T. Stern Sustainability of Seattle, will cover strategies used in high-performance buildings to reduce environmental impact and earn LEED credits. The cost: $35.

• New from Transparency Market Research: "1-Tetradecanol Market - Global Industry Analysis and Forecast 2024"

Sonoco ThermoSafe has posted the results of an industry survey on the "current and future state" of clinical trial supplies. Half of those surveyed said they planned to adopt new supply chain technology within the next two years.

PCM briefing: Stanford energy hub wins AIA award; is that PCM atop a Japanese greenhouse?

Ben Welter - Friday, January 20, 2017

Stanford University's new Central Energy Facility, the heart of a campus-wide energy system, has won a 2017 Institute Honor Award, the American Institute of Architects' highest recognition for design excellence. A 2.5-million-gallon hot water tank in the courtyard showcases the energy plant’s mission.

Greenhouse in Yamaguchi Prefecture• A strawberry-cultivation system that stores excess solar heat in a tank filled with cobblestones reduced heating costs by 80 percent at a greenhouse in Japan's Yamaguchi Prefecture. "A mat-like heat-insulating material" – phase change material, perhaps? – atop the greenhouse, right, is rolled up during the day to let in sunlight.

A power plant under construction in Kiel, Germany, will be able to store more than 1,500 megawatt hours of heat in a 60-meter-high water tank, ensuring the supply of more than 70,000 district heating customers for up to eight hours. The gas-fired Stadtwerke Kiel will simultaneously generate electricity and heat through cogeneration.

• New from QYResearch: "Europe Bio-Based Phase Change Materials Market Report 2017" and "Global Bio-Based Phase Change Materials Market Professional Survey Report 2017."

• The Industrial Fabrics Association International has issued a call for presenters for the IFAI Advanced Textiles Conference, to be held Sept. 26-29 in New Orleans. The deadline for submitting a proposal is Feb. 5.

• In partnership with Technical University Hamburg Harburg and Hamburg Energie, Siemens AG is developing a thermal storage system that will convert excess wind energy to heat and store it in rock fill. A steam turbine will convert the heat energy back to electricity on demand. The full-size system will be able to store about 36 MWh of energy in a container filled with 2,000 cubic meters of rock.

• The global market for thermal energy storage is projected to reach a value of $1.8 billion by 2020, Transparency Market Research reports. Latent heat and thermochemical storage technologies are expected to grab market share from sensible heat technology, which is now the dominant technology in the market.

Pluss Advanced Technologies has an opening for a quality assurance manager at its facility in Bawal, India. The quality manager is responsible for overall development, implementation and maintenance of the quality management system for the company's polymer and PCM business units.

PCM briefing: Axiom founders make Forbes '30 Under 30' list; Massachusetts utility to test thermal storage using PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, January 05, 2017

Anthony Diamond and Amrit Robbins, cofounders of Axiom Exergy, have made Forbes' annual list of "30 Under 30" in the energy category. The two men developed a "refrigeration battery" that enables supermarkets and food warehouses to store thermal energy at night when power is cheaper. The battery, which uses salt-based phase change material, reduces peak power usage by up to 40 percent and provides backup cooling during power outages. The Berkeley, Calif., startup has raised $3.5 million from investors and, according to Forbes, has a $15 million sales pipeline. 

Alexium International has reached a preliminary agreement to supply its Alexicool phase change material to New York-based Pegasus Home Fashions Inc. for use in pillows. Alexium, based in Perth, Australia, and Greer, S.C., says the deal is worth $10 million in annual sales of PCM.

Eversource, New England's largest energy provider, is seeking $21.5 million from the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities to fund energy storage demonstration projects for commercial and industrial customers. The utility plans to test ice storage and phase change materials. A related opening for an energy efficiency consultant is posted on the company's website. 

• The University of Birmingham has posted an opening for a research fellow in energy storage integration. The work will involve "optimising the operation of cryogenic and thermal energy storage in energy systems."

• Engineering students at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville have developed a heat storage system that uses phase change material to store thermal energy from the sun during the day and release it after the sun sets.

PCM briefing: Karlsruhe professor wins $2.6M Leibniz Prize; outlook strong for U.S. chemical industry

Ben Welter - Thursday, December 15, 2016

Dr. Britta Nestler• Dr. Britta Nestler of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology has won the 2017 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize for her research into computer-aided materials modeling. The prize comes with $2.6 million in research funds to be used at her discretion. Her work includes the development of foam structures within integrated phase change materials for use in latent heat storage systems.

• The 2017 outlook for the U.S. chemical industry is better than that in Germany and Europe, the American Chemistry Council reports. The U.S. industry group expects a 3.6 percent production increase, compared with the 0.5% increase expected by the European Chemical Industry Council.

Alexium International, maker of Alexicool phase change material, has an opening for a senior sales rep at its office in Greer, S.C.

Setaram Instrumentation's next free webinar, "Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry Applied to Thermal Energy Storage," will be held Jan. 24, 2017.   

• New from QY Research: "United States Microencapsulated Phase Change Materials (MPCM) Market Report 2016"

PCM briefing: Croda earns EcoVadis Gold Status; case study on heat flux sensor use

Ben Welter - Friday, November 04, 2016

Croda, the U.K.-based specialty chemicals company whose product line includes biobased CrodaTherm phase change material, has earned EcoVadis Gold Status for the third year running, placing in the top 1 percent of all chemical companies evaluated. The designation is based on a company's environmental, labor, fair business and sustainable procurement practices. 

CIC Energigune is seeking candidates for a postdoctoral position in the thermal energy storage group for research focused on materials development and characterization. The research center, based in Spain's Basque Country, also has openings for a lab technician and a TES group leader. 

• Australia's National Solar Energy Centre is seeking a Ph.D. student to join a research team studying high-temperature solar thermal energy storage. Areas of research may include novel thermal processes and energy storage systems; process dynamic simulation and integration; and computational modeling of particulate flow.  

GreenTEG has posted a case study explaining how heat flux sensors can help construction planners better understand how phase change materials perform in building materials.

Dr. Barbara Pause, president of Textile Testing and Innovation LLC, talked about the potential for phase change materials in automotive applications at last month's Industrial Fabric Association International Expo in North Carolina. She presented data showing that PCM embedded in adhesives and fabrics can reduce the temperature inside a parked car from as high as 180º F down to under 120º F over a two-hour period.  

Cardinal Health Inc. will give a presentation on its award-winning packaging solutions at Pack Expo International in Chicago on Tuesday. The Reusable Packaging Association recently honored Cardinal for its innovative approach to ensuring the safe, efficient and sustainable delivery of refrigerated pharmaceuticals. In partnership with Sonoco ThermoSafe, Cardinal switched from water-based coolant gel packs within its reusable plastic totes to plant-based PureTemp phase change materials. The change helped Cardinal reduce product spoilage by 90 percent.

• New from Wise Guy Reports: "Global Eutectic PCMs Sales Market Report 2016," "Global Salt Hydrates Sales Market Report 2016," "Global Inorganic PCMs Sales Market Report 2016," "Global Non-Paraffin Compounds Sales Market Report 2016" and "Global Paraffin Compounds Sales Market Report 2016."

• On the agenda for the International District Cooling Conference in Dubai Nov. 13-15: Steve Benz of EVAPCO will talk about thermal energy storage types and best practices for optimizing chilled water dispatch. Henry Johnstone of GLHN Architects & Engineers will address the question of managing Delta T in buildings.

PCM briefing: Senate weighs energy storage tax credit; va-Q-tec signs deals with 2 air carriers

Ben Welter - Tuesday, October 11, 2016

• Under a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., energy storage technologies such as batteries, thermal energy storage and regenerative fuel cells that qualify would get a 30 percent investment tax credit, similar to incentives available to wind and solar projects.

• PCM maker va-Q-tec AG has signed global rental agreements with two air carriers, Cargolux of Luxembourg and IAG Cargo, based in London and Madrid. The airlines will rent passive containers designed to ship temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical and biotech goods safely and efficiently. Va-Q-tec shares began trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (ticker symbol VQT) last week.

The Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, known as Empa, has posted an opening for a postdoctoral researcher in the field of phase change materials in building materials. The one-year position requires a strong background in thermal energy storage with PCMs and applications.

• PCM maker Entropy Solutions has an opening for a sales engineer. The sales engineer will work closely with Entropy's research and development team, providing direct support to key customers, channel partners and vendors, while taking the lead in managing incoming inquiries.  

Sunamp Ltd. took first-place honors last week at the Solar Power Portal Awards in Birmingham, England. The heat battery maker won the Residential Energy Management Project award for its work on the Eastheat PV/PCM project in Edinburgh and surrounding towns. 

The biobased products industry contributed $393 billion and 4.2 million jobs to the U.S. economy in 2014, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "As this sector is strengthening, so is the economy in rural America, where this year the unemployment rate dropped below six percent for the first time since 2007," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Cardinal Health Inc., a global health care services and products company, has received the 2016 Excellence in Reusable Packaging award. The Reusable Packaging Association honored Cardinal for its innovative approach to ensuring the safe, efficient and sustainable delivery of refrigerated pharmaceuticals. In partnership with Sonoco ThermoSafe, Cardinal switched from water-based coolant gel packs within its reusable plastic totes to plant-based PureTemp phase change materials. The change helped Cardinal reduce product spoilage by 90 percent.

PCM briefing: CrodaTherm line qualifies for biobased product label; registration open for thermal energy conference in U.K.

Ben Welter - Tuesday, August 30, 2016

USDA Biobased Product labelCroda has earned the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Certified Biobased Product label for all six of its CrodaTherm phase change materials. Third-party verification administered through the USDA's Biopreferred Program is required to confirm a product's biobased content. Croda and Entropy Solutions are the only PCM makers to qualify for the label.  

• Refrigeration battery maker Axiom Exergy has posted openings for an electromechanical technician, a product engineer and a project manager at its facility in Richmond, Calif.

• Registration is open for the U.K.-focused Future Thermal Energy Conference at the University of Warwick, Coventry, England, Oct. 10-11. Topics include district heating networks, heat pumps, CHP, biomass and above- and below-ground thermal storage.

PCM briefing: Pelican BioThermal is looking for VP for new products; Ice Energy completes project at North Hollywood movie theater

Ben Welter - Friday, August 05, 2016

Pelican BioThermal has posted an opening for a vice president of engineering and new product development. The VP will "lead a team of highly-driven and innovative engineers to design and develop the next generation of best-in-class temperature controlled packaging solutions for the life sciences industry." 

Appearing at this week's Advances in Thermal Management 2016 conference in Denver, Colo.: Mark Hartmann, chief technology officer at Outlast Technologies, discussed the use of thermal materials to manage the heat generated by lithium-ion batteries. Croda International's CrodaTherm biobased phase change materials were on display at booth 35. Outlast materials scientist Joe Kelly spoke at the companion conference, Battery Power 2016

• The U.S. Department of Energy has introduced two new tools designed to help cities nationwide make more strategic energy decisions based on actual and estimated data and analysis. The City Energy Profile tool uses robust data science methodologies to derive data on energy use and costs for 23,400 cities. The Local Energy Toolbox allows cities to build a customizable list of actions to help make strategic energy decisions.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems has begun verification testing of a solar thermal power system at the company's new facility in Yokohama, Japan. The hybrid system combines a low-temperature Fresnel evaporator, a high-temperature thermal storage system and a tower-type superheater that collects sunlight by heliostats.

• Safety expert John D. Modine is the new chief executive at the American Chemistry Council's Chemtrec division.

Ice Energy has installed four Ice Bear 30 thermal storage units at a Cinemark movie theater in North Hollywood, Calif. Ice Energy says the project qualifies for energy efficiency rebates from the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power.

PCM briefing: Job openings at ARPA-E; PCM heat exchanger arrives at space station

Ben Welter - Saturday, July 23, 2016

Peli BioThermal has expanded its temperature-control packaging operations in Asia, teaming up with Pharmaserv Express of the Philippines and CMC Element of China.

Anne J. McNeil, a chemistry professor at the University of Michigan, is among the growing number of academics who use the Slack messaging app to communicate with team members. In a typical week, her team uses the software to send about 400 messages and 70 files. The advantages over e-mail: speed and searchability.

• Thermal storage pioneer CALMAC has posted a new white paper: "Ice Storage or Chilled Water Storage. Which one is right for the job?

• Eight years after construction began, Abu Dhabi's vision for a bustling, energy-efficient city in the desert remains largely unrealized. Masdar City, a planned community initially designed to accommodate 50,000 citizens, sits mostly empty, with only a few hundred residents. French photographer Etienne Malapert has documented the futuristic city's eerie landscape.

ARPA-E is accepting applications for two-year fellowships in Washington, D.C. ARPA-E fellows focus on identifying breakthrough energy technologies through technical and economic analyses. The application deadline is Sept. 1, 2016. The agency also has openings for program directors and technology-to-market advisors.

NASA's experimental PCM heat exchanger arrived at the International Space Station this week.

Plaza Provision Co., a food distributor based in Puerto Rico, has purchased its fourth thermal energy storage system from Viking Cold Solutions. Houston-based Viking says the three PCM-based systems installed earlier have saved Plaza Provision $650,000 in energy costs since 2010.

• The American Chemistry Council’s Specialty Chemicals Market Volume Index fell by 0.4% in June, the third consecutive monthly decline for the U.S. market.

PCM briefing: Research opening at Newcastle University; Pelican BioThermal lands Mexico partnership

Ben Welter - Wednesday, June 29, 2016

• The Sir Joseph Swan Center for Energy Research at Newcastle University has an opening for a research associate with expertise in adsorption refrigeration, thermal energy storage, solar power engineering, heat and mass transfer, and thermodynamics. The full-time position is for 12 months to cover maternity leave.

Pelican BioThermal has expanded its presence in Central America, announcing a distribution partnership with Kryotec, a cold chain technology company based in Mexico City.

• "While the wave of EPA regulation that is soon to come will impose many challenges, the revised TSCA also provides some opportunities that should not be overlooked," writes Joseph J. Green of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP. Manufacturers, for example, "can seek an EPA 'safe to use' determination -- which could have obvious marketing advantages (and forestall potential state regulations)."