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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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Patent application: Devices for controlling conditions and delivery of substances

Ben Welter - Thursday, July 26, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180207368 (inventor Ron Nagar, Tel Aviv, Israel)

"Embodiments of the present disclosure are directed to devices, systems, and methods for controlling environmental conditions for a volume of material. In some embodiments, a handheld, portable environmental control sleeve (ECS) is disclosed which is configured for controlling at least one environmental condition of a drug contained within a drug delivery or storage device (DDSD). The ECS includes an environmental control mechanism (ECM), thermal insulation material, at least one of a power source, a processor, at least one electrical contact, at least one indicator, at least one switch, at least one environmental condition sensor, a wireless transceiver, a phase change material and at least one heat dissipater."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180207368.pdf

Patent application: Non-invasive brain temperature-regulating devices for enhancing sleep

Ben Welter - Thursday, July 26, 2018

Sleep aid patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20180200476 (inventors Robert E. Tucker, Sanibel, Fla., and Jeffrey J. Schirm, Monroeville, Penn.): 

"Methods, systems and devices for enhancing sleep, including enhancing the quality of sleep, reducing sleep onset time, increasing total sleep time, treating insomnia, and/or treating other neurological disorders by non-invasive temperature regulation of the frontal cortex prior to and/or during sleep. Described herein are thermal applicators that include phase change materials and/or evaporative cooling, as well as headgear for securing the applicators comfortably against the appropriate region of the user's head."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180200476.pdf

Patent application: Modular mobile lab for the detection and analysis of infectious diseases

Ben Welter - Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Field lab drawingU.S. patent application 20180193843 (applicant MRIGlobal, Kansas City, Missouri):

"A mobile field-deployable laboratory to more conveniently enable the detecting, sequencing and analyzing of biological agents at the point-of-need. This device enables field operators to go from sample to actionable information in the field without the need for an internet connection or grid-based power. ... The present system uses customized phase-changed cooling solutions to achieve proper storage temperatures for critical reagents and consumables for up to 72 hours during field deployment, without the need for an external power source."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180193843.pdf

Patent application: Treatment systems with fluid mixing systems and fluid-cooled applicators

Ben Welter - Monday, July 09, 2018

Zeltiq Aesthetics patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180185189 (applicant Zeltiq Aesthetics Inc., Pleasanton, Calif.):

"A treatment system for cooling subcutaneous lipid-rich cells [200] in a human subject includes an applicator [410] and a control unit. The treatment system has a cooling mode for cooling tissue and a heating mode for warming tissue. The control unit includes a circulation circuit in fluid communication with the applicator, a chiller apparatus configured to chill fluid from the applicator circulation circuit, and a heater apparatus to warmed fluid from the applicator circulation circuit. ... The chilled reservoir can hold coolant (referred to as 'chilled coolant') at a relatively low temperature and the chiller fluidic circuit can include, without limitation, a refrigeration unit, a cooling tower, a thermoelectric chiller, a cartridge of phase change material, or any other device capable of removing heat from coolant."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180185189.pdf

PCM briefing: Neck collar uses Outlast to keep wearer cool; thermally responsive bandage heals wounds quickly

Ben Welter - Monday, June 25, 2018

A new neck collar designed for people living with motor neurone disease features Outlast phase change technology to keep the wearer cool. The Heads Up collar supports the collection of small muscles in the neck that are vulnerable to the wasting effects of the disease.

• A Northwestern University team has developed a thermally responsive bandage that quickly heals painful, hard-to-treat sores in people with diabetes. The bandage features a hydrogel that rapidly solidifies when exposed to body temperature, conforming to the shape of the wound.

• In the short term, analysts say crude palm oil prices have likely hit rock bottom. But a Rabobank analyst is projecting reduced production - and higher prices - from 2022 to 2025. 

•  A call for papers has been issued for the Advanced Automotive Battery Conference Europe, to be held in Strasbourg, France, Jan. 27-31, 2019. "Thermal modeling" and "preventing thermal runaway" are among the topics. The deadline for priority consideration is June 29.

Emily Liu, a professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, was recently selected by the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Energy Technologies Office to receive a $1.8 million award to study high-temperature molten-salt properties and corrosion mechanisms.

Dr. Robert Brookins, interim CEO at Alexium International Group Ltd., will present an hourlong webinar, "Phase Change Materials: How Can They Help Set Your Company Apart," on June 28. The free event is sponsored by the Industrial Fabrics Association International.  

• Swedish solar company Azelio has launched a demonstrator of its solar energy storage technology. The system uses an aluminum alloy as a thermal storage material. 

In a new directive, the European Commission is calling for at least 32 percent of total EU energy use to come from renewable sources by 2030. The directive, which will require the formal approval of the European Parliament, sets specific annual targets for cooling and heating installations. 

• The agenda is taking shape for the 13th International Conference on Advanced Building Skins, to be held Oct. 1-2 in Bern, Switzerland. Topics include "Energy buffering with phase change materials" and "Thermal performance of phase change materials for the building skin."

Va-Q-tec AG is expanding its Kölleda location in Thuringia, Germany. The company manufactures vacuum isolation panels, phase change materials and passive thermal packaging systems at two plants there.

• MIT Technology Review reports that Alphabet Inc. (Google's parent company) appears to be in talks to spin out Project Malta, a molten-salt energy storage project, in a transaction involving Breakthrough Energy Ventures, Bill Gates’ $1 billion investment fund.

PCM briefing: DowDuPont shifts to small-scale R&D projects; Viking Cold Solutions has opening for business development manager

Ben Welter - Monday, June 04, 2018

Arktek vaccine carrierWired takes a close look at Arktek, "the Ebola vaccine's high-tech thermos." The World Health Organization is using the PCM-equipped container to transport the temperature-sensitive vaccine to wherever it's needed, whatever the conditions. The container is designed keep payloads colder than -65 C for five days.

• With an eye toward increased profits, CEO Edward Breen says DowDuPont is moving away from large-scale R&D projects in favor of less risky initiatives of $30 million or less.

Viking Cold Solutions has posted an opening for a business development manager for the Northeastern United States.

ASHRAE has published a new standard describing a methodology to apply building energy modeling throughout the design process. ASHRAE Standard 209-2018 defines minimum requirements for providing energy design assistance using building energy simulation and analysis.

Pelican BioThermal is opening its first Canadian drop point for the Credo on Demand rental program. The new drop point, at ATS Healthcare headquarters in Toronto, offers customers an additional location to return temperature-control pallet and bulk shippers. 

PCM briefing: BASF to spend $2.2 billion on R&D; Sunamp heat batteries qualify for Scottish loan program

Ben Welter - Monday, May 14, 2018

Chemical & Engineering News reports that the top 50 U.S. chemical producers generated $285.4 billion in chemical revenues in 2017, a 9.4 percent increase over 2016. 

• Under its new CEO, Martin Brüdermüller, BASF is planning to pour $2.2 billion into research and development, making BASF the second-highest investor in innovation in the chemicals sector after DuPont

Grace HsiaWarmilu LLC founder Grace Hsia, right, is on Crain's 20 in Their 20s list honoring Michigan's rising young leaders. Warmilu makes a PCM-equipped infant warming blanket.   

Axiom Exergy of Richmond, Calif., has raised $7.6 million in Series A funding, for a total of $12.5 million raised to date. The round was co-led by GXP Investments and Shell Ventures. Axiom's PCM-based "refrigeration battery" is designed to reduce energy supermarket energy costs. 

Sunamp Ltd. is applauding the Scottish government's decision to include heat batteries to its Home Energy Scotland Loan program. Homeowners and private landlords are now eligible to apply for an interest-free loan of up to 6,000 pounds to install Sunamp's PCM-based heat battery systems.

• Albuquerque-based SAVSU Technologies is launching two new high-performance shipping containers branded as Evo Extreme. The containers are designed for the 2-8C and -80C temperature ranges.

Emirates District Cooling has won a contract to supply a district cooling system to the Expo Dubai 2020 event. The system will have a capacity of 60,000 tons of refrigeration. 

• Georg Rodriguez, managing director at MUTZ Engineering mbH, will present a free lecture, presumably in German, on "phase change materials for temperature management and energy storage in buildings" on Tuesday, May 15, at the KEBAB lecture room in Berlin.

Research roundup: Thermal performance of PCM wallboards; baby incubator; characterization of desert sand; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 22, 2018

• An Innovative Apparatus for Simulating Daily Temperature for Investigating Thermal Performance of Wallboards Incorporating PCMs [Energy and Buildings]

Application of Combined Materials for Baby Incubator [Procedia Manufacturing]

Characterization of desert sand to be used as a high-temperature thermal energy storage medium in particle solar receiver technology [Applied Energy]

Use of partial load operating conditions for latent thermal energy storage management [Applied Energy]

Melting phenomenon in a finned thermal storage system with graphene nano-plates for medium temperature applications [Energy Conversion and Management]

Ca(NO3)2-NaNO3/expanded graphite composite as a novel shape-stable phase change material for mid- to high-temperature thermal energy storage [Energy Conversion and Management]

Cumulative energy demand and global warming potential of a building-integrated solar thermal system with/without phase change material [Journal of Environmental Management]

Patent application: Thermal composite material and compression sheet

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 22, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180049914 (applicant PolyPhysics Inc., Hampton, Va.):

PolyPhysics patent drawing"A temperature-controlled, compression sheet for use in hot or cold therapy applications, the sheet comprising: a composite sheet comprising a temperature control component and an elastic structural component; the temperature control component comprises a phase change material [13] having a predetermined, therapeutic, specific temperature of phase change from solid to liquid forms in the range of from about 32 degrees F. to about 122 degrees F.; and the elastic structural component is comprised of a material having elastomeric properties."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180049914.pdf

Patent application: Storage systems and methods for medicines

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 08, 2018

Medicine container patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180036202 (inventors Sandy and Eric John Wengreen, Sammamish, Wash.):

"In some embodiments, devices to store medicines can include a chamber configured to store a medicine, a thermal bank, and an insulated cover. The thermal bank can be located inside the insulated cover. At least a portion of the chamber can be located inside the thermal bank. The thermal bank can include phase change materials. Storage devices can also include innovative structures that dramatically reduce the volume and weight of the storage devices while still shielding medicines from extreme outdoor environments."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180036202.pdf