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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: India startup wins Energy Transition award; new market research on thermal energy storage

Ben Welter - Monday, March 27, 2017

Thermal Energy Service Solutions, maker of a PCM-based "plug-and-chill" refrigeration system, was one of six startup companies honored at Tech Festival 2017 in Berlin last week. The Indian company's cooling technology is designed to reduce the use of fossil fuels in storing and transporting food. The Startup Energy Transition Awards competition, sponsored by the German Energy Agency, drew more than 500 applications from 66 countries.

Machine learning tools can help researchers analyze sustainable products and chemicals more easily, but as with all computing, data quality is important, writes Christina Valimaki, senior director of chemicals at Elsevier's R&D Solutions.

• New from MarketsandMarkets: "Thermal Energy Storage Market by Technology (Sensible, Latent, and TCS), Storage Material (Water, Molten Salt, and PCM), Application (Power Generation, District Heating & Cooling, and Process Heating & Cooling), End-User, and Region - Global Forecast to 2022"

• Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, have shown that it is possible to convert solar energy directly into energy stored in the bonds of a chemical fluid. The system is based on the organic compound norbornadiene, which upon exposure to light converts into quadricyclane.

Research roundup: PCM compatibility with metals, plastic; desiccant packet for cooling vest; paraffin viscosity; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 23, 2017

Investigation of the corrosive properties of phase change materials in contact with metals and plastic [Renewable Energy]

Preparation and thermal properties of SAT-CMC-DSP/EG composite as phase change material [Applied Thermal Engineering]

A numerical study on the usage of phase change material (PCM) to prolong compressor off period in a beverage cooler [Energy Conversion and Management]

Abilities and limitations of thermal mass activation for thermal comfort, peak shifting and shaving: A review [Building and Environment]

Corrosion effect of phase change materials in solar thermal energy storage application [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

A review for phase change materials (PCMs) in solar absorption refrigeration systems [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Sodium nitrate – Diatomite composite materials for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy]

Innovative PCM-desiccant packet to provide dry microclimate and improve performance of cooling vest in hot environment [Energy Conversion and Management]

Heat transfer study of phase change materials with graphene nano particle for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy]

Energy performance evaluation of heat-storage gypsum board with hybrid SSPCM composite [Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry]

Empirical equation to estimate viscosity of paraffin [Journal of Energy Storage]

Yearly energy performance of a photovoltaic-phase change material (PV-PCM) system in hot climate [Solar Energy]

PCM briefing: BASF expands R&D presence in South Asia; Viessmann, Aldi Nord team up on ice-based TES system

Ben Welter - Friday, March 10, 2017

BASF Group opened its Innovation Campus Asia Pacific in Mumbai this week, dramatically expanding its research and development presence in India. BASF expects to invest 50 million euros in the campus, making it the company's largest R&D investment in South Asia. BASF Venture Capital, meanwhile, is investing in the U.S. renewable chemistry firm P2 Science

• The heating and cooling technology company Viessmann and the food retailer Aldi Nord have developed a new cooling and heating system that employs propane heat pumps, photovoltaics and ice storage. The ESyCool system, designed to reduce energy costs by 15 percent and reduce life-cycle costs, will be installed in 10 Aldi Nord stores in Germany. 

• Registration is open for the 2017 New Product Development and Innovation in the Chemical Industry summit, to be held April 26-27 in Berlin. Speakers include Stephan Altmann, head of innovation excellence at BASF, and Olivier Magnin, technology director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at DuPont Performance Materials.

Patent application: Thermal management system with PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 09, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170067693 (General Electric Co., Schenectady, N.Y.):

GE patent drawing"A thermal management system including a first vapor housing configured to receive a fluid that absorbs thermal energy from a first heat source, and a phase change material (PCM) housing thermally coupled to the first vapor housing, wherein the PCM housing is configured to receive a PCM that absorbs thermal energy from the first vapor housing, wherein the first vapor housing and the PCM housing are one-piece. ... As illustrated, the vascular network includes a plurality of conduits or passageways [52] that may vary in size, length, orientation, etc. throughout the PCM housing [30]. "

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170067693.pdf

Ice Energy developing line of ice batteries for commercial refrigeration

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ice Energy plans to introduce a line of ice-based thermal energy storage systems for the commercial refrigeration market. The new Polar Bear line, under development at the company’s IdeaLAB in Riverside, Calif., is designed for supermarkets and the general commercial refrigeration market.

A variety of Polar Bear models will support a range of storage capacities and application needs. They are expected to be available by the end of this year. No word yet on pricing.

The company says the systems will enable businesses with large refrigeration-based energy loads to reduce their peak electricity demand by up to 95 percent, shifting six hours of a building's refrigeration-based peak load to cheaper off-peak hours. 

“The Polar Bear ice battery will seamlessly integrate with existing supermarket or commercial refrigeration systems,” the company said in a press release. “It will also provide a smart-grid controller to monitor energy use and control performance.”

Axiom Exergy and Viking Cold Solutions also offer load-shifting systems for the large-scale refrigeration market. Axiom, of Richmond, Calif., says its saltwater-based “refrigeration battery” can save customers up to 40 percent in energy use during peak hours. Viking, of Houston, Texas, has reported that its PCM-based technology showed reductions in electricity consumption of 30 percent and 39 percent in two low-temperature cold storage facilities in the San Diego area.

http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/ice-energy-extends-award-winning-multi-patented-ice-battery-technology-commercial-refrigeration-2195752.htm

Research roundup: PU-PCM in refrigerated vehicle; indirect solar dryer; triplex tube heat exchangers; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 02, 2017

Experimental and numerical study of insulation walls containing a composite layer of PU-PCM and dedicated to refrigerated vehicle [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Development and experimental validation of a CFD model for PCM in a vertical triplex tube heat exchanger [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Recycled additions for improving the thermal conductivity of concrete in preparing energy storage systems [Construction and Building Materials]

Thermal behavior of indirect solar dryer: nocturnal usage of solar air collector with PCM [Journal of Cleaner Production]

Solar still with latent heat energy storage: A review [Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies]

2-D numerical investigation of melting of an impure PCM in the arbitrary-shaped annuli [International Journal of Thermal Sciences]

Melting enhancement in triplex-tube latent heat energy storage system using nanoparticles-metal foam combination [Applied Energy]

A concept of a thermal comfort system with energy storage in structure of the building [Problemy Eksploatacji]

Impact of Sodium Silicate Pentahydrate as Phase Change Material in Concrete Cubes for Enhancing the Thermal Comfort [pdf]
[International Journal of Civil Engineering and Technology]

Patent application: Cooling agent for cold packs and beverage containers

Ben Welter - Monday, January 23, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170016664 (applicant Frosty Cold LLC, Overland Park, Kansas):

"Safe, stable, non-toxic and recyclable cooling agent compositions comprising solid particulate compounds undergo an endothermic process when mixed with water such that the resulting mixture is useful for cooling surfaces, liquids and solids. The mixtures include ammonium nitrate in an amount of at least 45 wt % of the mixture. Total nitrogen—containing salts exclusive of phosphates are present in an amount less than 68% by weight of the composition. A phosphate salt is also present in an amount as needed to stabilize the composition against detonation. A balance of additional salts is formulated to provide the mixture with a cooling capacity of at least 240 kJ/kg of the mixture."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170016664.pdf

PCM briefing: Axiom Exergy's fast pitch; Peli BioThermal's new bulk freight shipper

Ben Welter - Wednesday, January 11, 2017

• Six energy storage startups made speed pitches at last month's Energy Storage Summit in San Francisco. Greentech Media takes a look at three of the pitches, including one made by Axiom Exergy co-founder Amrit Robbins. Axiom's PCM-powered "refrigeration battery" is designed to cut energy costs at supermarkets. "They are scrambling to reduce costs by just a few basis points -- and energy is a huge opportunity," Robbins said. "Saving $30,000 on a utility bill is the same as selling an additional $1.5 million of groceries."   

Peli BioThermal has introduced its new CoolPall Vertos Advance, a single-use, passive bulk freight shipper that incorporates phase change materials and vacuum insulation panels. 

• Scientists in the United Kingdom are developing a way to turn pinene, a paper industry waste product, into plastic. "We're not talking about recycling old Christmas trees into plastics, but rather using a waste product from industry that would otherwise be thrown away, and turning it into something useful," Helena Quilter, a Ph.D. student at the University of Bath's Center for Sustainable Chemical Technologies.

• Researchers at MIT have created three-dimensional samples of graphene that are up to 10 times stronger than steel, with just 5 percent of the density.

Sonoco ThermoSafe will offer its daylong master class on temperature assurance packaging on Feb. 2 at the Temperature Controlled Logistics conference in London. Sonoco, Peli BioThermal, CrodaTherm, Pluss Advanced Technologies, Ecocool and Cryopack will be among the exhibitors at the conference.

•  Symbol Mattress will launch its new climate-controlled SleepFresh line at the Las Vegas Market later this month. The mattresses use various combinations of gel foams, gel memory foams, phase-change gel latex and ventilated foams, along with the addition of graphite-infused foams. A climate control system in the foundation has the capacity to heat, ventilate and cool.

Patent application: Absorption body for a capsule containing a PCM

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 10, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170003084 (applicant Cryogel, Paris):

"The invention relates to an oblong absorption body for a capsule for a refrigeration apparatus intended to contain a phase-change material, characterised in that said body comprises a flexible casing filled with gas at atmospheric pressure, having a main portion which is generally cylindrical, has a circular cross-section and ends in hemispherical end portions. The invention also relates to capsules provided with such an absorption body."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170003084.pdf