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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: Shipping costs rise for chemical companies; Inventure to build plant in China

Ben Welter - Saturday, August 11, 2018

Viking Cold Solutions founder and board chairman Paul Robbins, who retired as president at Caribbean Shipping Services in July, says he plans to resume a more active role in the day-to-day operations at Viking. The Houston company makes TES systems that pair phase change material with intelligent controls and remote energy-monitoring software to reduce commercial refrigeration costs.  

Chemical Week reports that shipping costs are on the rise for chemical companies as capacity tightens and truck traffic shifts to railroads.  

Inventure Renewables of Tuscaloosa, Ala., is partnering with Wilmar International and Desmet Ballestra Group on a new manufacturing plant in China's Jiangsu province, the Birmingham Business Journal reports. Construction is expected to begin in 2019. The plant will use Inventure’s soap carbonate technology to convert low-value processing residues into uncontaminated free fatty acids.

Maurizio ZaglioMaurizio Zaglio‎, right, international business development manager at Sunamp Ltd., was in Hangzhou, China, this week to present the company's new products at the 2018 China Heat Pump Annual Conference.

• New from Research and Markets: "Phase Change Materials (PCMs) - A Global Market Overview"

ARPA-E has issued a funding opportunity of up to $35 million for the High Intensity Thermal Exchange through Materials and Manufacturing Processes program, to develop new approaches and technologies for the design and manufacture of high-temperature, high-pressure, and highly compact heat exchangers. 

• The American Chemistry Council confirmed this week that high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is on the list of U.S. petrochemicals and plastics targeted for $16 billion in retaliatory tariffs from China. "Prospects of trade war are eroding business confidence from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act," says the ACC's Kevin Swift. The U.S. economy is expected to grow by 2.4 percent in 2019, Morningstar reports, but economists have cut the average forecast for 2020 from 2 percent to 1.8 percent. 

PCM briefing: PureTemp blog is finalist for industry award; ACC urges Trump to remove all chemicals from tariffs list

Ben Welter - Friday, July 27, 2018

• The Phase Change Matters blog is a finalist in the 2018 PR News Platinum and Agency Elite Awards. Other finalists in the blog category include Shopfloor (National Association of Manufacturers), The Blonde Abroad (R&R Partners) and Transform (Microsoft Inc.). Winners will be announced at a luncheon in New York City on Sept. 21.

Phase Change Material Products Ltd. and Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE will be among the exhibitors at Chillventa 2018. The trade show for refrigeration, air conditioning, ventilation and heat pumps will be held Oct. 16-18 in Nuremberg, Germany. 

FLIR One Pro LTFlir Systems has released the One Pro LT thermal image camera for the iPhone. The new model has many of the core features of the popular One Pro model but at a lower price: $299.

Ed Brzytwa, the American Chemistry Council's director of international trade, has urged the Trump administration to remove all chemicals and plastics products, valued at $2.2 billion, from a list of Chinese goods subject to possible increased tariffs. In testimony before officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative this week, Brzytwa said higher tariffs on those products “has the potential to harm America’s manufacturing renaissance and is counterproductive to U.S. economic interests.” 

• The program for the 13th Conference on Advanced Building Skins has been posted. The event will be held Oct. 1-2 in Bern, Switzerland. Last year's conference included at least 10 presentations on phase change material. "Phase change" appears just twice in this year's program. A presentation by Jose Manuel Montes Donaire of AKT II Envelopes, London, "Thermal tuning of envelopes and its use as a parametric design tool," will address the topic of energy buffering with phase change materials. A presentation by Annie Shaw of Manchester School of Art on the architectural potential of knitted textiles will explore "three-dimensional seamlessness and stretch, phase-change form-finding and form-fixing."

• Pillow talk: Phase change material is no longer enough. Manufacturers like Tulo and Blu Sleep are turning to titanium particles and essential oils in an effort to stand out it in the crowded pillow market.

Pelican BioThermal's newest temperature-control bulk shipper, the CoolPall Flex, is now available for purchase. The CoolPall Flex, unveiled in Milan in March, has a capacity range of 140 to 767 liters. Options include standard insulation or vacuum insulated panels and water-based or PCM coolants in single or double coolant configurations.

Sonoco ThermoSafe and United Cargo announced a global partnership agreement for the leasing of the PharmaPort 360 temperature-controlled bulk shipping container. The agreement enables pharmaceutical shippers to lease PharmaPort 360 containers directly from United Cargo.

Patent application: Cooling system and method

Ben Welter - Thursday, July 26, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180209716 (applicant PepsiCo Inc., Purchase, N.Y.):

"A cooling system having a cooling chamber including a surface defining one or more openings. A surface is configured to hold at least one container. An access door provides access to the cooling chamber. A refrigeration system is configured to cool the cooling chamber by forcing cool airflow through the one or more openings in the surface. The airflow through each of the one or more openings may be similar. ... In some embodiments of the cooling system 100, portions of the cooling chamber 200 can include a phase change material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180209716.pdf

Research roundup: Silicon carbide for battery thermal management; Stefan moving boundary models; alkali nitrate/nitrite salts; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, July 24, 2018

From Renewable Energy:

Using Renewables Coupled with Thermal Energy Storage to Reduce Natural Gas Consumption in Higher Temperature Commercial/Industrial Applications

From Solar Energy:

Development of a solar thermal storage cum cooking device using salt hydrate

From Applied Energy:

One-step fabrication of fatty acids/nano copper/polyester shape-stable composite phase change material for thermal energy management and storage
Palmitic acid/polyvinyl butyral/expanded graphite composites as form-stable phase change materials for solar thermal energy storage

From Chinese Journal of Chemical Engineering:

Preparation and phase change performance of Na2HPO4·12H2O@poly(lactic acid) capsules for thermal energy storage

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Thermal performance of sodium acetate trihydrate based composite phase change material for thermal energy storage
Performance improvement and energy consumption reduction in refrigeration systems using phase change material (PCM)
A thermal conductive composite phase change material with enhanced volume resistivity by introducing silicon carbide for battery thermal management
Numerical and Experimental study on the performance of a new two -layered high-temperature packed-bed thermal energy storage system with changed-diameter macro-encapsulation capsule

From Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects:

Green Nano-encapsulation Technique for Preparation of Phase Change Nanofibers Mats with Core-Sheath Structure
From International Journal of Thermal Sciences:

Analytical and numerical analysis of PCM solidification inside a rectangular finned container with time-dependent boundary condition

From Construction and Building Materials:

Elaboration and properties of a composite bio-based PCM for an application in building envelopes

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Lorentz forces effect on NEPCM heat transfer during solidification in a porous energy storage system
A translucent honeycomb solar collector and thermal storage module for building façades

PCM briefing: DowDuPont shifts to small-scale R&D projects; Viking Cold Solutions has opening for business development manager

Ben Welter - Monday, June 04, 2018

Arktek vaccine carrierWired takes a close look at Arktek, "the Ebola vaccine's high-tech thermos." The World Health Organization is using the PCM-equipped container to transport the temperature-sensitive vaccine to wherever it's needed, whatever the conditions. The container is designed keep payloads colder than -65 C for five days.

• With an eye toward increased profits, CEO Edward Breen says DowDuPont is moving away from large-scale R&D projects in favor of less risky initiatives of $30 million or less.

Viking Cold Solutions has posted an opening for a business development manager for the Northeastern United States.

ASHRAE has published a new standard describing a methodology to apply building energy modeling throughout the design process. ASHRAE Standard 209-2018 defines minimum requirements for providing energy design assistance using building energy simulation and analysis.

Pelican BioThermal is opening its first Canadian drop point for the Credo on Demand rental program. The new drop point, at ATS Healthcare headquarters in Toronto, offers customers an additional location to return temperature-control pallet and bulk shippers. 

PCM briefing: BASF to spend $2.2 billion on R&D; Sunamp heat batteries qualify for Scottish loan program

Ben Welter - Monday, May 14, 2018

Chemical & Engineering News reports that the top 50 U.S. chemical producers generated $285.4 billion in chemical revenues in 2017, a 9.4 percent increase over 2016. 

• Under its new CEO, Martin Brüdermüller, BASF is planning to pour $2.2 billion into research and development, making BASF the second-highest investor in innovation in the chemicals sector after DuPont

Grace HsiaWarmilu LLC founder Grace Hsia, right, is on Crain's 20 in Their 20s list honoring Michigan's rising young leaders. Warmilu makes a PCM-equipped infant warming blanket.   

Axiom Exergy of Richmond, Calif., has raised $7.6 million in Series A funding, for a total of $12.5 million raised to date. The round was co-led by GXP Investments and Shell Ventures. Axiom's PCM-based "refrigeration battery" is designed to reduce energy supermarket energy costs. 

Sunamp Ltd. is applauding the Scottish government's decision to include heat batteries to its Home Energy Scotland Loan program. Homeowners and private landlords are now eligible to apply for an interest-free loan of up to 6,000 pounds to install Sunamp's PCM-based heat battery systems.

• Albuquerque-based SAVSU Technologies is launching two new high-performance shipping containers branded as Evo Extreme. The containers are designed for the 2-8C and -80C temperature ranges.

Emirates District Cooling has won a contract to supply a district cooling system to the Expo Dubai 2020 event. The system will have a capacity of 60,000 tons of refrigeration. 

• Georg Rodriguez, managing director at MUTZ Engineering mbH, will present a free lecture, presumably in German, on "phase change materials for temperature management and energy storage in buildings" on Tuesday, May 15, at the KEBAB lecture room in Berlin.

Cost-savings calculator opens doors to conversations about TES system

Ben Welter - Monday, May 07, 2018

Case studies, white papers, product descriptions and “how it works” videos are effective ways to market thermal energy storage systems. But what potential customers really want to know is: “How much will your system save me?”

Viking Cold Solutions’ new web-based calculator can answer that question.

Viking makes TES systems designed to stabilize temperatures and reduce cold storage energy costs by up to 35 percent. The systems pair phase change material with intelligent controls and remote energy-monitoring software.

“It’s a new technology in an old industry,” said Damon Vance, who joined the Houston company last year as marketing director. “We use the tool as a starting point for conversations about what we could potentially save customers. It just helps open doors and start conversations.”

The calculator, www.vikingcold.com/estimate-energy-savings/calculator, is adapted from a more sophisticated tool used by the company for years to provide customers with detailed estimates of potential savings. The pared-down version asks users to provide freezer square footage, temperature set point, equipment type, condenser type, compressor load control, defrost type and average kWh rate. A summary of the results is displayed in the web browser. The user can fill out a form to get more detailed results.

Vance said several hundred visitors have completed the form since the tool was introduced a few months ago. More than half of requests, he said, have led to “legitimate customer conversations.”

“We’ve got good feedback on it,” he said. “We use it as a sales tool, but it also sets realistic expectations for customers and opens their eyes to the potential of the technology.”

Viking recently installed one of its systems at a Dreisbach Enterprises food warehouse in Richmond, Calif. The system is designed to ensure temperature stability in the freezer space while reducing the electricity demand by over 55 percent for 11 hours each day – from 850 kilowatts to 400 kilowatts – and reducing total electricity consumption in the 93,000-square-foot warehouse by as much as 35 percent.

www.vikingcold.com/estimate-energy-savings/calculator

Patent application: Devices for use with refrigeration devices

Ben Welter - Monday, April 02, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180087831 (Tokitae LLC, Bellevue, Wash.):

"A refrigeration device includes a thermal transfer unit with an evaporative region, an adiabatic region, and a condensing region with a reversible valve attached to the adiabatic region. The device includes a container sealed around PCM, with a set of refrigeration coils of a compressor unit in thermal contact with the PCM. A storage region is in thermal contact with the evaporative region of the thermal transfer unit. A controller is operably connected to the reversible valve and the refrigeration compressor unit. The storage region can be used to store cold packs within a predetermined temperature range for medical outreach."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180087831.pdf

Research roundup: Personal cooling device; China's cold chain; prismatic lithium ion batteries; more

Ben Welter - Friday, March 16, 2018

"Preparation and Characterization of Modified Porous Wood Flour/Lauric-Myristic Acid Eutectic Mixture as a Form-Stable Phase Change Material" [Energy & Fuels]

A novel phase based cooling system for prismatic lithium ion batteries [Institut International du Froid]

Optimization of solar photovoltaic system integrated with phase change material [Solar Energy]

A novel heat transfer enhancement technique for performance improvements in encapsulated latent heat storage system [Solar Energy]

Experimental and numerical investigation of a solar collector/storage system with composite phase change materials [Solar Energy]

Enhanced thermal conductivity of phase change material nanocomposites based on MnO2 nanowires and nanotubes for energy storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Enhancing the Thermosiphon-Driven Discharge of a Latent Heat Thermal Storage System used in a Personal Cooling Device [International Journal of Refrigeration]

An Overview of Current Status of Cold Chain in China [International Journal of Refrigeration]

Applications of Thermal Analysis to the Study of Phase-Change Materials [Handbook of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry]

Thermo-physical characteristics, mechanical performance and long-term stability of high temperature latent heat storages based on paraffin-polymer compounds [Thermochimica Acta]

High thermal conductive paraffin/calcium carbonate phase change microcapsules based composites with different carbon network [Applied Energy]

PCM briefing: Axiom lowers energy costs at Whole Foods store; EnergyNest has opening for senior engineer

Ben Welter - Monday, February 19, 2018

• Nearly a year ago, a Whole Foods in Los Altos, Calif., connected a thermal battery system made by Axiom Exergy to the store's refrigeration system. Whole Foods pays Axiom a monthly fee for the saltwater-based technology. Axiom says that payment, coupled with a lower monthly power bill, amounts to less than what the grocer was paying its utility before the batteries were installed. 

• Thermal battery maker EnergyNest AS of Norway is looking to hire a senior engineer to work in its main office outside Oslo.  

• The schedule has been posted for the 2018 GlobalChem Conference & Exhibition in Washington, D.C., Feb. 28-March 2. Most of the sessions focus on the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Global Harmonized System of Classification and other regulatory topics. 

Applications are being accepted for the Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Fields Grant Program (WAMS). The program supports research and extension projects that will increase participation by rural women and underrepresented minorities from rural areas in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

• CONTISOL, a solar reactor that can run day or night, is being tested by researchers in Germany. The reactor uses concentrated solar power and thermal energy storage.

Registration is still open for the second annual European Chemistry Partnering event, to be held Feb. 23 in Frankfurt, Germany. It's a chance to pitch innovations and connect with investors and decision-makers in the chemical industry.

• U.K.-based Sure Chill Co., whose water-based refrigeration technology is used to keep vaccines cool without the need for grid-based electricity, has been shortlisted for a 2018 St. David Award in Innovation, Science and Technology. 

• The U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has voted to clear a path for energy storage projects in the capacity, energy and ancillary services markets. Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur noted that newer technologies “like some of the batteries, flywheels, compressed air, new forms of thermal storage, are rapidly gaining commercial viability and scale.”