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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: 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.  

PCM briefing: Dethleffs unveils solar-powered camper; ScienceDirect launches 'personalized recommendations'

Ben Welter - Tuesday, September 05, 2017

ScienceDirect, the full-text research database from Elsevier, now offers a "personalized recommendations" feature. Registered users of the site are automatically enrolled in the service, which uses an adaptive algorithm to analyze a user's searches and then sends a list of three to five recommended articles to the user by e-mail each week. 

Ember Technologies' temperature-control coffee mug won a Silver IDEA Award in the kitchen and accessories category at the 2017 International Design Excellence Awards in August. 

Dethleffs e-home motorhome• German camper manufacturer Dethleffs has unveiled a concept vehicle that runs on a 107-horsepower electric motor. The "e.home" features 334 square feet of thin solar panels and a heating system that uses phase change materials to absorb heat when the outside temperature rises above 79° F. Fully equipped, its driving range on a full charge is just over 100 miles. But of course its batteries recharge when the sun shines.

Gary Owens has been named president and chief executive officer at Mesa Laboratories Inc., succeeding John Sullivan, who has held the positions since 2009. 

Dulas Ltd., maker of solar-powered vaccine refrigerators, has completed a supply and training program in Myanmar under the auspices of the World Health Organization. Dulas delivered refrigeration units that feature phase change material, a 400W photovoltaic array and 132-liter vaccine storage capacity.

Pluss Advanced Technologies' MiraCradle infant cooling device, which uses phase change material to treat birth asphyxia, is featured in an article in The Guardian this week. The device was launched commercially in 2014 and is now being used in more than 125 hospitals across India and three in South Africa. 

Dow Chemical and DuPont have completed their planned $130 billion merger to form DowDuPont. Shares of the merged company will trade on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol "DWDP." 

Research roundup: Flexible PCMs with high thermal conductivity; treatment for exercise-induced muscle damage; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 31, 2017

Thermal sensitive flexible phase change materials with high thermal conductivity for thermal energy storage [Energy Conversion and Management]

The efficacy of cooling with phase change material for the treatment of exercise-induced muscle damage: pilot study [Journal of Sports Sciences]

Form-stable phase change material based on Na2CO3·10H2O-Na2HPO4·12H2O eutectic hydrated salt/expanded graphite oxide composite: The influence of chemical structures of expanded graphite oxide [Renewable Energy]

Structure and Thermal Performances of Paraffin/Diatomite Form-stable Phase Change Materials [Chinese Journal of Materials Research]

Patent application: Polymeric prosthetic and orthotic devices with heat and hardness control

Ben Welter - Monday, August 21, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170231788 (applicant Ohio Willow Wood Co., Mount Sterling, Ohio):

"Prosthetic liners, prosthetic sockets and prosthetic suspension sleeves, as well as orthotic components, having enhanced thermally conductivity and/or enhanced heat absorption capabilities. Such components may be used in various combinations to create assemblies and systems that are operative to better transfer heat away from and/or absorb heat produced by residual or intact limbs of a user."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170231788.pdf

Patent application: Thermal locking mechanism for a medication delivery device

Ben Welter - Monday, August 21, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170224929 (applicant Eli Lilly and Co., Indianapolis, Ind.):

"A medication injection device includes a housing and a needled syringe supported by the housing. The needle syringe has a plunger and a volume containing medication. The medication injection device further includes an expelling mechanism operably coupled to the plunger. Additionally, the device includes a thermal locking mechanism  operably coupled to the expelling mechanism, comprising a material which is solid when the device is refrigerated and transitions to a liquid or gel-like state at a phase-change temperature when the device is taken out of refrigeration and warms up together with the contained drug to a temperature which is suitable for performing an injection."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170224929.pdf

Patent application: Multifunctional temperature self-regulating film and face mask

Ben Welter - Monday, August 21, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170231884 (applicant Handy Technology, Zhuhai, China):/p>

"The present invention [below] discloses a multifunctional temperature self-regulating multilayer film, from outside to inside comprising at least: a carrier layer loaded with functional material, and a thermal-insulation layer directly contacted with the skin; wherein the carrier layer loaded with functional material has a sealed cavity sealed with a flexible water-impermeable material, the sealed cavity is at least loaded with a refrigerating or heat-generating chemical material; wherein thermal-insulation layer is made of a material having waterproof and thermal-insulation properties. The present multilayer film can be manufactured into a face mask or eye mask for use on facial skin. ... [The] the sealed cavity is loaded with a solid-liquid phase change material which generates heat when the material changes from liquid to solid, and an actuating means which is used to trigger an exothermic state of the solid-liquid phase change material."

Handy mask patent drawing

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170231884.pdf

Patent application: Self-managed portable hypothermia system

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 03, 2017

Portable hypothermia system drawingU.S. patent application 20170209304 (inventors Michael and Laura Zumbrunnen, Rochester, Minn.):

"A non-user assisted, portable, entirely self-managed capable hypothermia device to eliminate hair loss caused by the side effects of certain chemotherapy treatments or to reduce the metabolic rate of ischemic tissue along with the severity of swelling is disclosed. The device consists of a conformal cap system, a thermally conductive liquid located between the body part to be cooled and the cap system, thermal transfer fluids, phase change materials, thermally insulated cooler, physical measuring devices, mechanical and electrical components, a ‘smart’ user interface device, a battery, and an uninterruptible power controller."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170209304.pdf

PCM briefing: A baby manikin that sweats; a salt and antifreeze TES system

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 03, 2017

Alphabet Inc.'s secretive development lab is developing a system for storing renewable energy in tanks filled with salt and antifreeze. "The system takes in energy in the form of electricity and turns it into separate streams of hot and cold air," Bloomberg reports. "The hot air heats up the salt, while the cold air cools the antifreeze, a bit like a refrigerator. ... Flip a switch and the process reverses. Hot and cold air rush toward each other, creating powerful gusts that spin a turbine and spit out electricity when the grid needs it. Salt maintains its temperature well, so the system can store energy for many hours, and even days, depending on how much you insulate the tanks."

Thermetrics baby manikinThermetrics LLC has introduced an 11-zone thermal baby manikin that features a thermally conductive carbon-epoxy shell, a “sweating skin system” and internal heater elements and temperature sensors. Nicknamed “Ruth,” the manikin can be used to evaluate the thermal properties of clothing, diapers, bedding, car seats and strollers.

Axiom Exergy and Ice Energy are on a list of 25 companies notable for developing innovative technologies to reduce energy consumption in commercial and industrial buildings.  

Croda International has announced the acquisition of Enza Biotech AB, a research enterprise established as a spin-out company from Lund University in Sweden.

AkzoNobel has announced the winners of its 2017 Imagine Chemistry initiative, recognizing and supporting efforts to help solve real-life chemistry-related challenges and to uncover sustainable opportunities for the company’s specialty chemicals business. Among the winners is Industrial Microbes of Emeryville, Calif., for its work on the biocatalysis of ethylene to ethylene oxide.

Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins and Magnum CAES CEO Richard Walje will be among the speakers at the Energy Storage North America conference in San Diego next week. 

ONE Aviation of Albuquerque, N.M., has selected Acme Aerospace to provide lithium ion battery systems to be used in ONE’s “Project Canada” aircraft. The Acme system features a proprietary phase change material to improve battery performance.

Reuters reports that Dow Chemical and DuPont are seeing increased benefits in developing sustainable "green" products, as the chemical giants seek new areas of growth and build a stronger connection with millennials.

TemperPack, a Virginia-based manufacturer of sustainable packaging for perishable goods, has raised $10 million in an investment round that will help it further expand operations and add jobs.

Digital strategies “will have a significant impact on many areas of the chemical industry, with the potential to change value chains, lead to higher productivity and more innovation, and create new channels to market,” according to a McKinsey & Co. analysis.

• The Bioencapsulation Research Group has posted the program for the 3rd Latin-America Symposium on Microencapsulation, to be held in Chile Nov. 27-29.

1414 Degrees, the Australian startup that has developed a way to store electricity as thermal energy by heating and melting containers full of silicon, has posted openings for a chief financial officer and an energy storage and power network system analyst.

• New from QY Research: "Global Inorganic Advanced Phase Change Materials (PCM) Market Research Report 2017"

• New from Future Market Insights: "Energy Harvesting Market: Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment 2014 - 2020" and "Chilled Water Storage System Market: Global Industry Analysis 2012 – 2016 and Opportunity Assessment; 2017 – 2027"

ThermoSafe ChillTechSonoco ThermoSafe has launched a new range of reusable, universal solutions for the pharmaceutical and biologics markets. ChillTech is a pre-qualified range of 2°C to 8°C PCM systems providing temperature control from two days up to six days for payloads from 4L to 40L. The range uses Laminar Medica’s ChillPhase paraffin phase change material.

• A new reference manual for the oleochemical industry is now available. "Fatty Acids: Chemistry, Synthesis, and Applications" presents new information on industrially important fatty acids including detailed descriptions of fatty acid crystallization, enzymatic synthesis and microbial production.

Pluss Advanced Technologies has received a 50 lakh grant (about $78,000 USD) under India’s Millennium Alliance Program to promote the use of the company’s MiraCradle cooling device in hospitals and neonatal care units across India. The device uses phase change material to treat birth asphyxia in newborns. 

• Why haven't phase change materials taken off in the UK construction industry? Ian Biggin of Phase Energy Ltd., which is developing novel shape-stabilized technologies, says the industry needs to address what he calls the "4Ps": price, performance, proof and promotion.

From Italy to Singapore by bicycle, with a little help from PCM

Ben Welter - Monday, July 03, 2017

Italian couple celebrate completion of 18,000-kilometer ride to Singapore

They made it! The Italian couple who embarked on a 17,550-kilometer bicycle trek last June arrived in Singapore last week. Chiara Ricciardi and Riccardo Rocchi began the yearlong journey, dubbed "Piece of Cake," to raise awareness about diabetes. Ricciardi has type 1 diabetes and requires a daily dose of insulin. She used Pelican BioThermal's Credo ProMed pack to keep insulin at the right temperature. 

Their latest Facebook post: "385 days. 21 countries. Bottom line: with type 1 diabetes, you can do it. But also ... We've learned that the world is a better place than they say, people help and help you. ... The engine is overrated, time is the biggest luxury of the 21st century."

http://www.forapieceofcake.com/en/

Research roundup: Graphite particle fillers; sodium nitrate microcapsules; domestic space heating in UK; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Effect of temperature and graphite particle fillers on thermal conductivity and viscosity of phase change material n-eicosane [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Thermal stability of sodium nitrate microcapsules for high-temperature thermal energy storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Phase change materials to meet domestic space heating demand in the UK - A numerical study [Journal of Fluid Flow, Heat and Mass Transfer]

Synthesis of three-dimensional graphene aerogel encapsulating n-octadecane for enhancing phase-change behavior and thermal conductivity [Journal of Materials Chemistry A]

A recyclable thermochromic elastic phase change oleogel for cold compress therapy [Applied Thermal Engineering]