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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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PCM briefing: Viking Cold is finalist for innovation award; Sonoco launches sustainable packaging initiative

Ben Welter - Friday, September 20, 2019

Viking Cold Solutions is a finalist for an Energy Storage of North America Innovation Award. The behind-the-meter thermal energy storage systems up for the award are part of an Eversource demand management program in Massachusetts. 

A thermal storage project in Northamptonshire, England, is expected to provide 47 new homes with hot water and heat via renewable energy sources such as solar power. The borehole technology, developed by Caplin Solar of Leicester, stores heat in the ground in warmer months for later use in colder periods.

• Packaging giant Sonoco of Hartsville, S.C., has announced the creation of its EnviroSense sustainable packaging initiative. EnviroSense products are designed to incorporate a number of elements associated with more sustainable packaging, including optimized package-to-product ratio; increased use of recycled and recyclable content; fiber sourcing; compostability; and the use of bio-based materials.

• Registration is open for Sonoco ThermoSafe's next Leading Minds Seminar, "Collaborative Learning that FUELS Your Temperature Sensitive Healthcare Products," to be held Nov. 14 in Amsterdam. The seminar is designed for European supply chain, logistics, quality and packaging professionals responsible for the protection and management of temperature sensitive healthcare clinical supplies and finished products. 

Hydrostor, a Canadian developer of advanced compressed air energy storage projects, has announced the closing of $37 million (USD) in growth financing. Hydrostor has three projects in operation or under construction in Canada and Australia 

• A projected tripling of heat-related deaths in the United Kingdom over the next 30 years will require a drastic rethinking of ways to cool buildings, a parliamentary select committee warns. “The risk of overheating in terms of minimising risks to health and safety of occupants should be enshrined into regulations for new build homes and retrofits," the Environmental Audit Committee said. "This should be considered alongside an integrated review of energy efficiency and ventilation, and be included in the government’s planned Future Homes Standard, to include improvement in the measurement of current and future overheating risk and prioritise passive cooling measures.”

• The most entertaining obituary of a self-taught chemist you will read this month. Rest in peace, Joe Heller.

Influential physicist Leo Kadanoff dies; known for work on phase transitions

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 12, 2015

Leo P. Kadanoff, a leading theoretical physicist best known for developing the concepts of "scale invariance" and "universality" as they apply to phase transitions, died Oct. 26 in Chicago. He was 78.

Dr. Leo P. KadanoffKadanoff, a professor at the University of Chicago from 1978 until his retirement in 2003, won the Buckley Prize of the American Physical Society in 1977, the Wolf Foundation Prize in 1980, the 1989 Boltzmann Medal of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, and the 1999 National Medal of Science.

From the Boston Globe obituary:

"Phase transitions, such as those between steam and water and between water and ice, in which a single substance takes many forms, have intrigued scientists for centuries. Some have been well explained, but creating detailed explanations for some of the more complex transitions continued to challenge physicists until the last half of the 20th century.

"Throughout the world of modern physics, Dr. Kadanoff was lauded as one of the foremost in delineating how even the most subtle and complex phase transitions occur. He was also credited with showing how the large-scale changes that are easily observable stem from microscopic changes beyond the reach of the senses."