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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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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

Research roundup: Expanded graphite/adipic acid composite PCMs; nanomagnetite enhanced paraffin; more

Ben Welter - Friday, April 28, 2017

From Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry:

Preparation and thermal cycling of expanded graphite/adipic acid composite phase change materials

From RSC Advances:

Phase change materials of fatty amine-modified silicate clays of nano layered structures
Myristic acid-hybridized diatomite composite as a shape-stabilized phase change material for thermal energy storage

From 4th Sustainable Thermal Energy Management International Conference:

Domestic thermal storage requirements for heat demand flexibility

From Smart Materials and Nondestructive Evaluation for Energy Systems:

Novel dynamic thermal characterization of multifunctional concretes with microencapsulated phase change materials

From Digest Journal of Nanomaterials and Biostructures:

Nanomagnetite Enhanced Paraffin for Thermal Energy Storage Applications [pdf]

From Energy Procedia:

Solar Thermal Energy with Molten-salt Storage for Residential Heating Application

From Solar Energy:

Performance study and analysis of an inclined concentrated photovoltaic-phase change material system

From Energy:

Preparation, thermal properties and thermal reliability of a novel mid-temperature composite phase change material for energy conservation

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Investigation on the thermal performance of a high-temperature latent heat storage system

From Cement and Concrete Composites:

Numerical simulations to quantify the influence of Phase Change Materials (PCMs) on the early- and later-age thermal response of concrete pavements

From International Journal of Refrigeration:

Performance study on air-cooled household refrigerator with cold storage phase change materials

From Energy and Buildings:

Novel thermosetting phase change materials with polycarbonatediol based curing agent as supporting skeleton for thermal energy storage 

From Journal of Cleaner Production:

Improving thermal response of lightweight timber building envelopes during cooling season in three European locations 

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