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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.  

Research roundup: INPATH-TES Ph.D. program; waste-to-energy plants; EnergyPlus-based building model; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 29, 2017

INPATH-TES: Innovative pathways to PhD research in thermal energy storage [Sustainable and Renewable Energy Engineering]

Application of high temperature phase change materials for improved efficiency in waste-to-energy plants [Waste Management]

Experimental investigation and EnergyPlus-based model prediction of thermal behavior of building containing phase change material [Journal of Building Engineering]

Experimental Analysis of Graphite Dispersed Salt Hydrates based Phase Change Materials to Determine Enhancement in their Thermophysical Properties [pdf] [Journal of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences]

Use of phase change materials during compressed air expansion for isothermal CAES plants [35th UIT Heat Transfer Conference]

Simulation of Melting Process of a Phase Change Material (PCM) using ANSYS (Fluent) [pdf] [International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology]

Cellulose/Paraffin Composite Fibers for Thermal Energy Storage and Temperature Regulation [IUMRS International Conference in Asia]

Enhanced Specific Heat Capacity of Binary Chloride Salt by Dissolving Magnesium for High-temperature Thermal Energy Storage and Transfer [Journal of Materials Chemistry A]

Research roundup: SiO2 nanoparticles; multilayer wall thermal performance; spherical shells

Ben Welter - Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Effects of SiO2 nanoparticles on structure and property of form-stable phase change materials made of cellulose acetate phase inversion membrane absorbed with capric-myristic-stearic acid ternary eutectic mixture [Thermochimica Acta]

Influence of the PCM Layer Location on the Multilayer Wall Thermal Performance [Open Journal of Energy Efficiency]

Numerical Model for Solidification and Melting of PCM Encapsulated in Spherical Shells [Energy Procedia]

PCM briefing: Pluss VP honored as 'Innovator under 35'; BASF partners with Hewlett Packard Enterprise on new supercomputer

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ankit Jhanwar, VP for corporate planning and strategy at Pluss Advanced Technologies, was honored as one of 10 "Innovators under 35" at EmTech India 2017.

Sunamp Ltd., maker of PCM-based heat batteries, is one of eight finalists for an Ashden UK Award. Winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on June 15. The competition recognizes excellence in the field of green energy.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise will work with BASF to develop a supercomputer that will sharply reduce the time it takes to run simulations and modeling in chemical research. "The new supercomputer will promote the application and development of complex modeling and simulation approaches, opening up completely new avenues for our research at BASF,” said Dr. Martin Brudermueller, chief technology officer at BASF.

McKinsey & Co. analysts say a slowdown in the chemical industry's financial performance over the past five years reflects important changes in the industry’s fundamentals. One of their recommendations: "Incumbent specialty-chemical players must prepare for further encroachment of commoditization and erosion of their historical advantages when attackers from developing markets gain more experience and become increasingly technologically savvy."

California lawmakers have introduced legislation to encourage more clean energy resources to address peak load. The bills would require utilities to deploy clean energy during peak demand in order to meet the state's aggressive greenhouse gas and renewable energy goals. 

Research roundup: Novel PCM plaster; chitosan-derived carbon aerogel; carboxylic esters; Trnsys simulation; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 02, 2017

Thermal effects of a novel phase change material (PCM) plaster under different insulation and heating scenarios [Energy and Buildings]

Form-stable phase change material embedded with chitosan-derived carbon aerogel [Materials Letters]

Investigation of Unbranched, Saturated, Carboxylic Esters as Phase Change Materials [Renewable Energy]

A simulation study of a solar collector using phase change materials for air heating application needs [AIP Conference Proceedings]

Intensification of monostearin (phase change material) synthesis in infrared radiated rotating reactor: Optimization and heterogeneous kinetics [Energy Conversion and Management]

Preparation research of novel composite phase change materials based on sodium acetate trihydrate [Applied Thermal Engineering]

The quasi-enthalpy based lattice Boltzmann model for solid-liquid phase change [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Synthesis and thermal properties of novel solid-solid phase change materials with comb-polyurethane block copolymer structure for thermal energy storage [Thermochimica Acta]

Synthesis of epoxy-loaded poly(melamine-formaldehyde) microcapsules: effect of pH regulation method and emulsifier selection [Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects]

Dual-encapsulation of octadecanol in thermal/electric conductor for enhanced thermoconductivity and efficient energy storage [Materials Chemistry Frontiers]

A Trnsys simulation of a solar-driven ejector air conditioning system with an integrated PCM cold storage [AIP Conference Proceedings]

Research roundup: Ice-on-coil storage; active-passive ventilation wall; cross-flow heat exchanger; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Experimental and numerical investigation of discharging process of direct contact thermal energy storage for use in conventional air-conditioning systems [Applied Energy]

Experimental and numerical study of thin ring and annular fin effects on improving the ice formation in ice-on-coil thermal storage systems [Applied Energy]

Experimental characterization and simulation of a hybrid sensible-latent heat storage [Applied Energy]

Thermal and Fluid Characteristics of a Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage Unit [Energy Procedia]

Numerical Modelling of Thermal Performance of Active-passive Ventilation Wall with Phase Change Material [Energy Procedia]

Development of heat storage unit based on the phase change materials for mining machinery with combustion engines [Acta Montanistica Slovaca]

Experimental Study of the Performance of Phase Change Material Air Cooling Rig [Procedia Manufacturing]

Experimental and Numerical Investigation of the Cross-flow PCM Heat Exchanger for the Energy Saving of Building HVAC [Energy and Buildings]

Design and Performance of Thermal Energy Storage Module using High Thermal Conductivity Phase Change Composite Material [International Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Conference]

Transient multiphysics modeling of a robotic personal air-conditioning device [International Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Conference]

Numerical study of heat transfer in macro-encapsulated phase change material for thermal energy storage [Bulgarian Chemical Communications]

Research roundup: Battery thermal management; plastic greenhouse thermal modeling; cementitious composites; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Investigation of phase change material based battery thermal management at cold temperature using lattice Boltzmann method [Energy Conversion and Management]

A study on thermal calculation method for a plastic greenhouse with solar energy storage and heating [Solar Energy]

Assessing the feasibility of integrating form-stable phase change material composites with cementitious composites and prevention of PCM leakage [Materials Letters]

Expanded graphite/disodium hydrogen phosphate/sodium acetate trihydrate stabilized composite phase change material for heat storage [pdf] [Journal of Thermal Science and Technology]

Coupling of solar reflective cool roofing solutions with sub-surface phase change materials (PCM) to avoid condensation and biological growth [Environmental Science and Sustainable Development]

Experimental Study on Thermal Performance Improvement of Envelop Integrated with Phase Change Material in Air-conditioned Room [International High Performance Buildings Conference]

Dutch-led consortium develops calculation model for industrial heat storage

Ben Welter - Friday, December 16, 2016

LOCOSTO PCM test tankA consortium led by the Energy Research Center of the Netherlands (ECN) has developed a calculation model to predict the performance of a phase change material buffer for industrial heat storage in the 100-250° C temperature range. The model is used to optimize the design of a heat exchanger to achieve the required performance in the most cost-effective way. According to the ECN:

"A test installation with around 100 liters of PCM (see photo) is used to measure the performance of the storage and compare it with the model calculations. There is a high level of consistency between the experimental and model outcomes, providing a basis for the further development and scaling of PCM heat storage technology."

The consortium continues to work on the selection of PCMs with the desired attributes for industrial heat storage. 

"We consider salt hydrates as most feasible option for industrial heat storage," said Robert de Boer, thermal systems project manager at ECN. "I wouldn’t say it is ideal, but the best we can get at this moment."

Members of the LOCOSTO consortium are end-users DOW, Perstorp and EMMTEC; system suppliers IEE and Bronswerk Heat Transfer; materials suppliers PCM Technology and Nedmag; and Dutch research institutes TNO and ECN. "LOCOSTO" stands for "LOw COst STOrage" of heat.

https://www.ecn.nl/news/item/ecn-develops-energy-saving-and-cost-effective-technology-for-industrial-heat-storage/

Research roundup: Supercooling and TES; sepiolite supported stearic acid composites; PCM-air heat exchanger; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 13, 2016

A review on supercooling of phase change materials in thermal energy storage systems [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Numerical calibration and experimental validation of a PCM-air heat exchanger model [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Cold Storage for a Single-Family House in Italy [Energies]

Thermal energy storage characteristics of poly(styrene-co-maleic anhydride)-graft-PEG as polymeric solid–solid phase change materials [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Sepiolite supported stearic acid composites for thermal energy storage [RSC Advances]