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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: Viking Cold Solutions lands deal in Phoenix; study finds ARPA-E is doing what it was designed to do

Ben Welter - Monday, June 19, 2017

Viking Cold Solutions has announced a collaboration between Salt River Project and Bashas' Supermarkets to install and evaluate the performance of Viking's PCM-based thermal energy storage system at Bashas' distribution center in the Phoenix area. The system is expected to significantly reduce energy costs by shifting peak demand to nighttime hours.

A six-year study finds that ARPA-E, the U.S. Energy Department program that supports cutting-edge energy technologies, is meeting the goals of the 2007 law that created it even as the Trump administration seeks to eliminate its funding. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report concludes that the program is moving in the right direction and does not require major changes to keep bringing new energy technologies to market.

• The co-creator of a camisole that uses phase change material to reduce the discomfort of hot flashes is profiled in ChicagoInno this month. Nancy Munro, who is selling "CoolCami" online, hopes to partner with a women’s undergarment company like Spanx or Soma. CoolCami is made of absorbent bamboo fabric and features a PCM-filled cooling liner.

Peli BioThermal reports that its ProMed thermal transport bags performed well in a five-month trial in the United Kingdom. The Great North Air Ambulance Service used the bags to transport blood plasma to accident scenes.

Ministry of Supply, the Boston startup that integrates phase change material in its high-tech menswear, has added a lightweight polo shirt to its lineup. The machine-washable Apollo 3 Polo sells for $70. 

Axiom Exergy, maker of "refrigeration batteries" designed to reduce energy use in supermarkets, is looking to fill eleven positions, including product engineer, product engineer manager and engineering intern. Candidates for the internship are asked to give a concise response to a "bonus question": "Given the choice between pure water and a NaCl-water solution as the thermal energy storage medium in medium temperature (40°F, 4.4°C) refrigeration applications, what are the pros and cons of each material?"

CIC energiGUNE is looking for a laboratory technician to join the Thermal Energy Storage unit's materials development and characterization group.

• The European Commission, in with collaboration with Skanska, Saint-Gobain, Sustainable Building Alliance and Green Building Councils, has developed an open-source assessment framework for measuring the energy performance of buildings. Level(s) links a building’s environmental impact with resource priorities at the European level. The voluntary tool will be ready for testing this fall.

Va-Q-tec AG has established a Japanese subsidiary in Tokyo. The German company develops, manufactures and sells vacuum insulation panels and phase change materials for use in thermal packaging, air freight containers and other applications. Va-Q-tec Japan GK will focus on providing "small box and container sales and rental solutions" in the Asian market.

• A recent New York Times piece answered the question: "What if you need a battery? A really big one — big enough to run a city?" A 2.35-million-square-foot office tower in New York City is among many buildings around the world equipped with a system that stores energy in the form of ice. The system freezes water overnight to help cool the building during the day, when electricity is typically more expensive.  

Massachusetts has awarded $1.5 million to help fund installation of more than 200 residential thermal energy storage units on Nantucket. Ice Energy, which makes the Ice Bear units, is partnering with Genbright LLC on the project. The goal is to help reduce peak energy demand and demonstrate an alternative to a third undersea transmission line to the island.

SaltX Technology and Aalborg CSP have agreed to work together to develop and commercialize an integrated energy storage solution for concentrated solar power based on EnerStore, SaltX's patented technology for large-scale energy storage. A prototype is scheduled to be built later this year with the aim of securing a commercial pilot plant in 2018.

PCM briefing: New oil palm varieties show sharply increased yields; thermal energy workshop in Germany

Ben Welter - Friday, June 09, 2017

Dr. Halime Paksoy, EnerSTOCK 2018 chair, reports that the energy storage conference has received more than 200 abstracts. Acceptance notifications will be sent out at the end of June. The conference will be held April 25-28, 2018, at Cukurova University in Adana, Turkey. 

• A workshop on “Thermal Energy Storage System for Energy Efficient Buildings" will be held June 22 at Ruhr University Bochum in Bochum, Germany. The workshop, which will be conducted in English, is part of the EU-supported project TESSe2b.

• Ryan Adelman, formerly chief commercial officer at Axiom Exergy, is now executive sales director for distributed energy at Direct Energy Business.

• New industry analysis from McKinsey & Co.: "What to do when a specialty chemical business gets commoditized."

• New from QYResearch Group: "Global Thermal Energy Storage Sales Market Report 2017"

KOTUG International BV has been nominated for a Maritime Innovation Award for its zero-emission heat recycling system, which uses phase change material to store and regenerate heat on tugboats. The annual award is presented by Netherlands Maritime Technology.

• Dutch food supplier Huuskes is using BoTemp's “Cold Battery” in cold chain logistics.
The refrigerated transport system, which does not require continuous electrical power, uses phase change material to remove heat in the cargo space and maintain a temperature anywhere from -20º C to +4º C.

Two new varieties of oil palm developed in Indonesia will increase crude palm oil yields by up to double current levels, says SMART Tbk, a subsidiary of Golden-Agri Resources. The two clones of oil palm planting material – called Eka 1 and Eka 2 – were approved for use in April by the country’s Ministry of Agriculture. The new varieties also have a quicker time to harvest – 24 months – compared to the industry average of 30 months.

Sunamp Ltd.'s PCM heat battery system was featured in a BBC News piece this week: "From hand-warmer to house-warmer for tech firm."

PCM briefing: Managing heat in low-orbit satellites; Expert Forum on VDI 2164 canceled

Ben Welter - Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Roccor LLC of Longmont, Colo., is using phase change material in a device designed to manage internal heat in low-orbit satellites. “We have one product with paraffin wax inside a flat structure. When the spacecraft is hot, it dumps heat into that paraffin wax and turns that into a liquid — basically a store of energy,” Chris Pearson, Roccor’s vice president of space programs, said in an interview with Via Satellite. The heat is later released into the satellite to keep temperatures stable.

• A new research portal for energy-optimized construction summarizes some of the funding measures of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology under one umbrella. The German-language site, www.projektinfos.energiewendebauen.de, also has research on thermal energy storage and provides examples of projects and activities that apply PCM to optimize the energy needs of buildings.

Lloyds reports that Maersk Line is planning to make advanced monitoring data on premium perishables and pharma products available to its shipping customers later this year. 

• New from Research and Markets: "Global District Cooling Market By Type and Region, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2012-2026"

• New from HJResearch: "Global Bio-Based Phase Change Materials Industry Market Research 2017"

Pluss Advanced Technologies of Gurgaon, India, is seeking candidates for the position of research associate to design and perform experiments for the development of inorganic and organic phase change materials.

• The Swedish environmental group ChemSec has launched a free website linking companies selling alternatives to hazardous chemicals with those seeking to buy them. The first product request posted on The Marketplace: Clothing retailer H&M is looking for alternatives to the bisphenol A used in thermal paper for cash register and credit card receipts.

Celsia Inc.'s redesigned website, celsiainc.com, features a heat pipe performance calculator, a spreading delta-T calculator and a heat sink size calculator.

Glacier Tek, maker of cooling vests powered by PureTemp phase change material, has launched a redesigned website at www.glaciertek.com. The new site features improved navigation, fresh photography and a new tagline: "Prepare to be Cool."

• The City Council of Goderich, Ontario, has approved a proposal by NRStor to build a 1.75-megawatt compressed air energy storage plant in an unused salt cavern. The electricity created will feed into Ontario's energy grid.

• The Expert Forum on VDI Guideline 2164, scheduled for June 20 in Düsseldorf, Germany, has been canceled. The forum, organized by the Association of German Engineers' building and building technology group in cooperation with the RAL Quality Association PCM, may be held at a later date.

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.