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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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Research roundup: Enthalpy-temperature plots; solar wall collector; vertical U-tube heat exchanger; more

Ben Welter - Monday, November 20, 2017

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Enthalpy-temperature plots to compare calorimetric measurements of phase change materials at different sample scales
Preparation and enhanced thermal performance of novel (solid to gel) form-stable eutectic PCM modified by nano-graphene platelets

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

An implicit algorithm for melting and settling of phase change material inside macrocapsules

From Energy Procedia:

Experimental study of a solar wall collector with PCM towards the natural ventilation of model house
Experimental Study of Solar - Phase Change Material Wall for Domestic Hot Water Production under the Tropical Climate

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Efficiency analysis of utilizing phase change materials as grout for a vertical U-tube heat exchanger coupled ground source heat pump system

From Sustainable Cities and Societies:

PCM Thermal Energy Storage in Solar Heating of Ventilation Air—Experimental and Numerical Investigations

From International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer:

Evaluation of thermophysical properties of refrigerant clathrates with additives

From Solar Energy:

A comprehensive study on the effect of hot water demand and PCM integration on the performance of SDHW system

Patent application: Refrigerator with a phase change material as a thermal store

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 02, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170314839 (applicant Enviro-Cool Commercial Ltd., Tonbridge, Great Britain):

"A refrigerator having a thermal store comprising a phase change material is disclosed. The refrigerator has a cooling chamber for containing an object to be cooled, and a vapor compression refrigeration system including a first evaporator for cooling the cooling chamber and a second evaporator for cooling the phase change material. A valve is provided to control the flow of refrigerant to the first and second evaporators depending on the cooling load on the refrigerator. When the refrigerator is subject to a relatively low cooling load, refrigerant flows to the second evaporator to cool the phase change material and, when the refrigerator is subject to a relatively high cooling load, refrigerant flows to the first evaporator such that increased cooling is provided to the cooling chamber by the first evaporator and the phase change material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170314839.pdf

Patent application: Refrigerated container

Ben Welter - Monday, October 23, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170292759 (applicant XALT Energy, Midland, Mich.):

"A transport vehicle having a refrigerated container and system of refrigeration is provided. ... The reefer, system, and method according to the present invention is also related to a reefer, system, and method having a plurality of energy supply units each having a battery, an electric compressor along with a condenser and evaporator and/or a heat pump, a system of tubes carrying a refrigerant, a refrigerant, sensors and a controller, and potentially having an engine exhaust system generator and or a panel having a phase change material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170292759.pdf

Patent application: Evaporator and refrigerator using the evaporator

Ben Welter - Monday, October 02, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170276419 (applicant Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea):

"Disclosed are an evaporator, a refrigerator using the evaporator, and a method for controlling the refrigerator. The evaporator includes a refrigerant evaporation unit in which a flow passage where a refrigerant evaporates is formed, and a phase change material (PCM) accommodation unit that is coupled to the refrigerant evaporation unit and accommodates the PCM whose phase is changed according to latent heat absorbed by the refrigerant, wherein the PCM is brought into direct contact with an outer surface of the refrigerant evaporation unit inside the PCM accommodation unit."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170276419.pdf

Patent application: Refrigeration, or thermal, energy storage system

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 31, 2017

Refrigeration TES system patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20170248377 (applicants Upgrading Services SPA and Labor SRL, Italy):

"A refrigeration, or thermal, energy storage system for storing refrigeration, or thermal, energy, comprising a body, closed and insulated, the body being configured to contain two fluids, respectively a Phase Change Material (PCM) type fluid and a secondary fluid, the two fluids being immiscible with each other and having different densities, so as to be stratified within the volume of the body; withdrawal means configured to draw the secondary fluid from the body, and to convey the same inside a heat exchanger configured to exchange frigories, or calories, with the secondary fluid; and distribution means configured to draw the secondary fluid from the heat exchanger, and distribute the secondary fluid into the PCM type fluid, so that the secondary fluid exchanges with the PCM type fluid frigories, or calories, absorbed in the heat exchanger, the secondary fluid having a solidification temperature substantially lower than that of the PCM type fluid."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170248377.pdf

Research roundup: Geopolymer concrete; octyl, decyl, dodecyl and tetradecyl stearates; supercooling suppression of erythritol; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 03, 2017

From Cement and Concrete Research:

Mechanical properties and microscale changes of geopolymer concrete and Portland cement concrete containing micro-encapsulated phase change materials

From Applied Energy:

Impact of pressure on the dynamic behavior of CO2 hydrate slurry in a stirred tank reactor applied to cold thermal energy storage

From International Journal of Refrigeration:

Parametric analysis of domestic refrigerators using PCM heat exchanger

From American Institute of Physics:

Utilization of the PCM Latent Heat for Energy Savings in Buildings [pdf]

From Journal of Cleaner Production:

LCA perspective to assess the environmental impact of a novel PCM-based cold storage unit for the civil air conditioning

From Renewable Energy:

A calcium chloride hexahydrate/expanded perlite composite with good heat storage and insulation properties for building energy conservation
Ionic compounds derived from crude glycerol: Thermal energy storage capability evaluation
Comparative study of the thermal performance of four different shell-and-tube heat exchangers used as latent heat thermal energy storage systems

From Materials Today: Proceedings:

Viscoelastic characterization of multifunctional composites incorporated with microencapsulated phase change materials

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Effect of phase change material wall on natural convection heat transfer inside an air filled enclosure
A numerical study of building integrated with CaCl2·6H2O/expanded graphite composite phase change material
Study of the thermal behavior of the composite phase change material (PCM) room in summer and winter

From Applied Polymer Science:

Emulsion-electrospinning n-octadecane/silk composite fiber as environmental-friendly form-stable phase change materials

From Journal of Materials Chemistry A:

Versatility of polyethylene glycol (PEG) in designing solid-solid phase change materials (PCMs) for thermal management and their application to innovative technologies

From Materials:

Influence of Microencapsulated Phase Change Material (PCM) Addition on (Micro) Mechanical Properties of Cement Paste
Investigation of the Dynamic Melting Process in a Thermal Energy Storage Unit Using a Helical Coil Heat Exchanger

From Energy and Buildings:

Experimental analysis of thermal performance in buildings with shape-stabilized phase change materials
Preparation and thermal properties of octyl, decyl, dodecyl and tetradecyl stearates as phase change materials for thermal energy storage
Effect of PCM application inside an evacuated tube collector on the thermal performance of a domestic hot water system

From Solar Energy:

Experimental investigation of water based photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) system with and without phase change material (PCM)
Heat transfer studies of building brick containing phase change materials
Experimental investigations on stable supercooling performance of sodium acetate trihydrate PCM for thermal storage

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Supercooling suppression and thermal behavior improvement of erythritol as phase change material for thermal energy storage
MgCl2·6H2O-Mg(NO3)2·6H2O eutectic/SiO2 composite phase change material with improved thermal reliability and enhanced thermal conductivity

Patent application: Refrigerator and control method thereof

Ben Welter - Monday, June 26, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170176083 (applicant LG Electronics, Seoul, South Korea):

"A refrigerator comprising: a main body having a storage chamber; a compressor configured to compress a refrigerant; a condenser configured to condense the refrigerant compressed by the compressor; an evaporation expander configured to depressurize the refrigerant condensed by the condenser; a first evaporator configured to evaporate the refrigerant depressurized by the evaporation expander and thus to cool the storage chamber; a condensing expander installed between the condenser and the evaporation expander and configured to depressurize the refrigerant condensed by the condenser; and a subsidiary condenser installed between the condensing expander and the evaporation expander and configured to condense the refrigerant depressurized by the condensing expander. ... The refrigerator according to claim 3, further comprising a cold storage part having a phase change material (PCM) therein and in which the subsidiary condenser and the cold storage evaporator are installed, wherein the cold storage part exchanges heat with each of the subsidiary condenser and the cold storage evaporator."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170176083.pdf

PCM briefing: Tessol featured in Forbes India; Terrafore Technologies selected for Argonne program

Ben Welter - Monday, June 05, 2017

Thermal Energy Service Solutions, maker of a PCM-based "plug-and-chill" refrigeration system for delivery trucks, is profiled in this month's issue of Forbes India. The system's heat exchanger is designed to keep the refrigerator on the truck within the optimal temperature range for a full day’s operation without drawing power from the engine. The heat exchanger can be fully charged in about six hours at any power outlet.

C-Therm Technologies will be among the exhibitors the Techtextil North America trade show in Chicago June 20-22. The company will demonstrate its non-destructive TCi Property Analyzer, which is designed to characterize the thermal performance (the “warm feel” or “cool touch”) of textiles, fabrics and apparels.

Terrafore Technologies of Minneapolis is one of seven small businesses recently selected to collaborate with researchers at Argonne National Laboratory as part of the Department of Energy's Small Business Vouchers program. Terrafore and Argonne will test the reliability of phase change salt capsules for a compact high-temperature thermal energy storage system for concentrated solar power.

SpecialChem is offering an online course titled "How to Search & Map U.S. Patents for Patentability." The 90-minute course, scheduled for June 28, is designed to for R&D people "looking to avoid patent infringement by enhancing their patent searching and mapping skills." The cost for three attendees on one connection is 300 euros.

PCM briefing: Outlast introduces Xelerate fabric; Warmilu signs 2 distributors

Ben Welter - Friday, May 19, 2017

Drawing of Outlast Xelerate

Outlast Europe's Martin Bentz spoke with T.EVO magazine this month about the company's new Xelerate fabric. The fabric, introduced at a German trade fair earlier this year, incorporates "heat spreader" technology, a process traditionally known for cooling electronic devices. Xelerate fabric features improved thermal conductivity, Bentz said, and is suitable for home textiles, sportswear and protective gear. In an email exchange with Phase Change Matters, Bentz declined to discuss specific partners or customers.

Warmilu, maker of the IncuBlanket infant warmer, reports that is on track for $300,000 in total 2017 sales after signing two distributors for Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia: Relief for Africa Foundation and Maternova. The IncuBlanket, which has been successfully tested in clinical trials in India, uses packs filled with sodium acetate trihydrate to keep infants warm for up to five hours. CEO Grace Hsia says the device recently cleared its first regulatory filing with Kenya's Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

Axiom Exergy has won a Gold Stevie for Energy Innovation in the 15th annual American Business Awards. Axiom's "refrigeration battery" enables supermarkets and food warehouses to store thermal energy at night when power is cheaper. The system, which uses salt-based phase change material, reduces peak power usage by up to 40 percent.

• Registration is open for IFAI's Expo 2017, set for Sept. 27-29 in New Orleans. The Industrial Fabrics Association International show will feature sessions on smart fabrics, military procurement, biomimesis and green certification.   

Pelican BioThermal has introduced a new Series 22 Universal system for its Credo brand of shippers. The system uses a dual PCM coolant system designed to be operational throughout the year.

National Law Review offers a fresh overview of green chemistry laws across the United States. "State chemical control regimes," the authors conclude, "are likely to increase cost and foster confusion about chemical safety, which is one reason that Congress agreed to modernize TSCA by adopting LCSA."

Monodraught's Cool-phase ventilation and cooling system was among the finalists honored at the National CSR Awards in London this week. The hybrid system, which won a "One to Watch" award, uses PCMs to store and release thermal energy, providing a free cooling load and reducing energy and maintenance costs.

• The agenda has been released for the 15th Cold Chain Global Forum to be held Sept. 25-29 in Chicago. Frank Butch, director of engineering at Sonoco ThermoSafe, will lead a master class on temperature assurance packaging certification.

Bloomberg BNA is offering a free webinar June 12: "Reviewing New Chemicals under Amended TSCA: Impact on Innovation." 

Outlast Europe's Martin Bentz spoke with T.EVO magazine this month about the company's new Xelerate fabric (shown below). The fabric, introduced at a German trade fair earlier this year, incorporates "heat spreader" technology, a process traditionally known for cooling electronic devices. Xelerate fabric features improved thermal conductivity, Bentz said, and is suitable for home textiles, sportswear and protective gear. In an email exchange with Phase Change Matters, Bentz declined to discuss specific partners or customers.

Axiom Exergy system installed at Whole Foods in California

Ben Welter - Friday, April 28, 2017

Axiom Exergy has completed the first installation of its thermal storage system at a Whole Foods Market store in Los Altos, Calif.

In just three years, notes Greentech Media, Axiom has transitioned from a garage startup to a revenue-generating company with a major supermarket customer.

Axiom system integratorAxiom's "Refrigeration Battery" system is designed to reduce a supermarket's peak power use by up to 40 percent and provide backup cooling during power outages. It uses the excess capacity of a customer's existing refrigeration system to "store cooling" at night by freezing tanks of salt water. The frozen tanks supply refrigeration to the building during periods of peak demand, reducing the need to run energy-intensive compressors and condensers.

The "passive retrofit" at Whole Foods did not require modification of the store's existing refrigeration system. The thermal storage tanks were placed in the loading dock area behind the store, and Axiom's system integrator was installed next to the compressor racks in the mechanical room. Axiom says the system has successfully charged and discharged 1040 kWh of load for up to 10 hours a day over the course of several months.

"We are proud to be leading our industry by being the first to use such an innovative technology to shift our large refrigeration-based energy loads to off-peak hours," said Tristam Coffin, director of sustainability and facilities at Whole Foods.

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/axiom-exergy-brings-its-refrigeration-batteries-to-market-in-three-years