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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: A call for presentations on renewable heating and cooling; EnergyNest, Tata team up on demo project

Ben Welter - Friday, April 07, 2017

Frank Bruno, leader of the Thermal Energy Storage Group at the University of South Australia, talks about the advantages of thermal storage in an interview with the Guardian newspaper.

Robert Riebolge, chief network analyst of the Adelaide-based energy storage company 1414 Degrees, tells Ecogeneration magazine that storage is “quite clearly” the solution to the intermittency problem of wind and solar. But, he says, the way in which the Australian market is constructed and the regulatory system is set up doesn’t allow for its easy introduction.

• The Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia has teamed with Basque technology company Tecnalia to develop On Site Robotics, a 3D printing construction project in which sustainable, low-cost buildings can be built on-site with a special clay-based material made of natural, biodegradable, recyclable and locally sourced materials.

• Get the latest information on the Toxic Substances Control Act in a free webinar April 19. The presentation by Mark N. Duvall of the environmental law firm Beveridge & Diamond will identify the principal amendments, discuss the impact on manufacturers and compare the amended TSCA to the European Union's REACH regulation.

• In a video posted on YouTube, Adam Tetz of Pelican BioThermal and other industry experts discuss the future of temperature controlled logistics at last month's Temperature Controlled Logistics Europe 2017.

• The Eu­ro­pean Tech­nol­ogy and In­no­va­tion Plat­form on Re­new­able Heat­ing & Cool­ing has issued a call for presentations to be made at the group's an­nual event in Brus­sels June 20. Topics include biomass; district heating and cooling; solar thermal heating and cooling; hybrid systems; and thermal energy storage. Applications are due by May 22. 

Tata Steel and EnergyNest have begun work on a thermal energy storage demo project at Tata's plant in IJmuiden, Netherland. EnergyNest's concrete-based TES system will store exhaust heat from steel production to cover some of the plant's energy demands. EnergyNest, meanwhile, won the top prize in the 2017 Nordic Cleantech Open last week. The contest, organized by Cleantech Scandinavia, consisted of several competitive rounds in which hundreds of companies applied.

Chris Pais has joined Axiom Exergy as director of field operations. Pais was previously director of system architecture at LightSail Energy. Axiom's "refrigeration battery" system, aimed at supermarkets and cold storage warehouses, stores water chilled at night, when electricity is cheapest, to take the load off condensers and compressors during the day.

Vaibhav Bahadur, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, was one of eight faculty members at the university to receive National Science Foundation early career development awards totaling more than $2 million. Bahadur received funding for his project “Influence of electric fields on liquid-to-solid phase change associated with clathrate hydrate formation.”

• In a piece posted on LinkedIn, Liam Holmes, Europe and Asia engineering team lead at Sonoco ThermoSafe, writes about the role of industrial design in the temperature-assurance packaging industry's shift from single-use products to modular reusable green systems.

PCM briefing: Trump budget 'just not correct' on ARPA-E; Croda's Kevin Bozec among panelists at Plant Based Summit

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ice Energy and Horizon Solar Power have completed the installation of a solar-plus-ice-battery-storage system at Palm Springs Cultural Center in California’s Coachella Valley. The system, which replaced an aging HVAC system, comprises 73.6 kW of solar panels and five Ice Bear 30s.

• The Trump administration's budget blueprint is "just not correct" about the function of the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, its former director said this week. The blueprint eliminates all ARPA-E funding "because the private sector is better positioned to finance disruptive energy research and development and to commercialize innovative technologies." But agency was created just for stages of research and development that the private sector does not finance, said Ellen Williams, the agency's director from 2014 until January 2017.

Dow Chemical and DuPont won the blessing of the European Union for their $130 billion merger by agreeing to sell substantial assets, including key research and development activities.

• The global PCM market is expected to see a compound annual growth rate of 19.9 percent over the next five years, according to a new market research from Mordor Intelligence, "Global Phase Change Material Market-Segmented by Material Type, Product Type, Application, and Geography-Trends and Forecasts (2017-2022)." 

Kevin Bozec, marketing coordinator at Croda, is among the presenters at the Plant Based Summit in Lille, France, April 25-27. He will discuss Crodatherm phase change materials in a session on new materials. To register for the conference and trade show, visit www.plantbasedsummit.com.

GSA Business offers a closer look at the leadership transition at Alexium International Group Ltd., the company that took its flame-retardant material and PCM-based cooling fabrics to commercial markets in 2016. 

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. 

PCM briefing: Encapsulation market projected to hit $17.9 billion; report casts shadow on solar-plus-storage

Ben Welter - Monday, February 27, 2017

• The global microencapsulation market is expected to reach $17.94 billion by 2025, according to a new report from Grand View Research. Microtek Laboratories, Encapsys, BASF and Aveka Inc. are among the companies profiled in the report, "Microencapsulation Market Estimates & Trend Analysis By Application (Pharmaceutical, Household Product, Agrochemical, Food Additive, Phase Change Material), By Region (North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, RoW), And Segment Forecasts, 2014 - 2025"

• A Rochester Institute of Technology study casts a shadow on the economics of residential solar-plus-storage. The conclusion: A customer must face high electricity bills and unfavorable net metering or feed-in policies for "grid defection" to work. 

• New from Transparency Market Research: "Reusable Ice Packs Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2016-2024"

• New from QYResearch: "China Bio-Based Phase Change Materials Market Research Report 2017"

A one-day workshop on energy storage for building, solar and wind sectors will be held March 4 at Anna University in Chennai, India. Topics include integration of PCMs for passive cooling in buildings, energy-efficient cool thermal energy storage systems and thermal energy storage technologies for solar applications. 

The National Law Review has posted a detailed update on implementation of the newly revised Toxic Substances Control Act. A key takeaway: Resource and budgetary constraints under the Trump administration could have an impact on the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to implement the new provisions.

• The latest issue of Chemical & Engineering News features a piece on “natural catalysts” derived from wild plants, mud and earthworms. 

Samit Jain, director at Pluss Advanced Technologies, talks about his company’s pharma logistics products in an interview with India's Financial Express.

Drexel professor looking for partners to scale up de-icing material

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Dr. Yaghoob Farnam, an assistant professor in Drexel University’s College of Engineering, knows that harsh winters pose a significant challenge for the folks who design, build and maintain roads. In an interview with Drexel's News Blog this week, he shared some background on his research:

"One of the things that my research group has been looking for is better options for deicing. We are designing special types of phase change material — like paraffin wax or vegetable oil — that can be used to expedite the snow/ice melting process. Right now we have lab-scale work that is very promising. We have proven that these materials can melt about two inches of snow and they will stay in the pavement for longer periods of time, which saves the labor of reapplying it before every snow/ice event. Imagine how much salt and snow plowing could be avoided! By keeping the snow and ice from sitting on the road surface, the phase change materials could also reduce damage from freeze-thaw cycles.

"We are reaching out to local departments of transportation, as well as the Federal Aviation Administration, as possible research partners who could help support full-scale outdoor testing — and benefit from the findings."

https://newsblog.drexel.edu/2017/01/26/qa-how-do-winters-mood-swings-affect-our-roads/

PCM briefing: Seasonal TES with concentrated sodium hydroxide; increased preference for biobased chemicals

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

• Swiss researchers say they have developed a system that can capture heat during summer and then later use it during winter. The system uses concentrated sodium hydroxide (NaOH) as the thermal storage medium and a collection of readily available components to capture, convert and release heat energy on demand. "The stored heat can also be transported elsewhere in the form of concentrated sodium hydroxide solution, which makes it flexible to use,” said Benjamin Fumey of the Empa research institute.

• The market research firm Technavio has identified the use of phase change material as a trend in the development of battery thermal management systems for electric vehicles.

Sure Chill's long-term passive cooling device, designed to maintain vaccines in a temperature range of 2° to 8°C for 10 days or more without the need for grid-based electricity, received high marks in a PATH field test in Senegal. 

• Submissions are now being accepted for the 2017 Reaxys PhD Prize. The international competition is open to Ph.D. students or recent graduates conducting innovative research in synthetic chemistry. Forty-five finalists will be selected based on originality of research, rigor of methodology, quality of published work and supervisor's letter of recommendation. The finalists will present their research at the Reaxys PhD Prize Symposium. Three winners will then be selected and receive $2,000. The application deadline is March 13. 

• Thanks to a slowdown in China and Japan, new investment in clean energy fell to $287.5 billion worldwide in 2016, down 18 percent from 2015's record high,  Bloomberg New Energy Finance reports.

An increased preference for biobased chemicals and other environmentally friendly alternatives will significantly affect the growth prospects of the global petrochemicals market in the next few years, Transparency Market Research reports.

• New from QYResearch: "China Inorganic Phase Change Materials Market Research Report 2017"

• U.K.-based Dulas Ltd. is delivering more than 300 of its VC150SDD solar refrigerators to Nigeria. The refrigerators use a paraffin-based phase change material to keep vaccines in a safe temperature range..

Rehau Akademie is offering a free webinar (in German) on Building Information Modeling on Jan. 26.

• In an interview with Business Quarter, Sunamp founder Andrew Bissell talks about how partnering with the University of Edinburgh helped his company overcome challenges associated with phase change materials.

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.

Colorado's first certified passive house 'has gone well past expectations'

Ben Welter - Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Colorado's first certified International Passive House is nestled in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains north of Denver. The 1,200-square-foot MARTaK house, designed by architect and author Andrew Michler, is used primarily as an off-the-grid workspace. The structure has now been occupied continuously for six months. Has it met Michler's energy expectations?

MARTaK passive house photo by Andrew Michler"Yes," Michler says, "it's gone well past my expectations. ... We haven't turned on the heating system this year." 

A solar array shared with a neighboring home provides all electrical power and most of the heating, with a propane-powered hydronic system serving as backup. Passive House Planning Package software was used to find the most efficient mix of insulation, windows and shading. Natural, nontoxic and recycled materials are used throughout the house. 

Biobased phase change material with a melt point of 23º C is used to help even out temperature spikes. The PCM is contained in 500 square feet of ENRG Blankets made by Phase Change Energy Solutions. Most of the material is installed a south-facing interior wall. 

Is it possible to measure the PCM's impact on overall performance?

"That's the question that I haven't found anybody able to answer," Michler says. "It's more about experiential. It's hard to isolate the PCM performance. There's no good modeling software for this. ...

"Overheating has been the biggest issue with passive houses, and we're seeing some anecdotal success with PCMs. We had a really warm fall, and the PCM did seem to level out the interior temperature, leveling out at 78 degrees Fahrenheit."

Has Michler used PCM in other projects? "No, this is the first. I do have interest in trying it again."

http://www.archello.com/en/project/martak-passive-house

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]

PCM briefing: Pelican BioThermal is looking for VP for new products; Ice Energy completes project at North Hollywood movie theater

Ben Welter - Friday, August 05, 2016

Pelican BioThermal has posted an opening for a vice president of engineering and new product development. The VP will "lead a team of highly-driven and innovative engineers to design and develop the next generation of best-in-class temperature controlled packaging solutions for the life sciences industry." 

Appearing at this week's Advances in Thermal Management 2016 conference in Denver, Colo.: Mark Hartmann, chief technology officer at Outlast Technologies, discussed the use of thermal materials to manage the heat generated by lithium-ion batteries. Croda International's CrodaTherm biobased phase change materials were on display at booth 35. Outlast materials scientist Joe Kelly spoke at the companion conference, Battery Power 2016

• The U.S. Department of Energy has introduced two new tools designed to help cities nationwide make more strategic energy decisions based on actual and estimated data and analysis. The City Energy Profile tool uses robust data science methodologies to derive data on energy use and costs for 23,400 cities. The Local Energy Toolbox allows cities to build a customizable list of actions to help make strategic energy decisions.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems has begun verification testing of a solar thermal power system at the company's new facility in Yokohama, Japan. The hybrid system combines a low-temperature Fresnel evaporator, a high-temperature thermal storage system and a tower-type superheater that collects sunlight by heliostats.

• Safety expert John D. Modine is the new chief executive at the American Chemistry Council's Chemtrec division.

Ice Energy has installed four Ice Bear 30 thermal storage units at a Cinemark movie theater in North Hollywood, Calif. Ice Energy says the project qualifies for energy efficiency rebates from the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power.