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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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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

PCM briefing: Space station gets water-based heat exchanger; China gets molten salt solar power plant

Ben Welter - Wednesday, December 28, 2016

• An experimental PCM heat exchanger has been installed aboard the International Space Station. The device is designed to help maintain safe temperatures for crew members and equipment. The device uses a water-based PCM to remove heat from areas that must be cooled and move it into areas that must be warmed.

China News Service reports that Asia's first molten salt solar power plant has been connected to the grid and will begin operations next week in northwestern China. The 10-megawatt plant, run by Beijing Shouhang Resources Saving Co., generates electricity from solar power 24 hours a day. It will provide electricity for 30,000 households during its initial phase.

• A cooling technology that can operate without a constant power supply will undergo pilot trials in Dubai. Sure Chill's water-based system is used in a refrigerator that maintains a temperature range of 2° to 8°C for 10 days or more without the need for a grid-based electricity. The Welsh company signed a memorandum of understanding with the state-run Dubai Electricity and Water Authority after taking part in the 12-week Dubai Future Accelerators Program.

• In a decision involving a patent on phase change material, a U.S. appeals court has reversed a Patent Trial and Appeal Board decision to exclude certain e-mails used as evidence of an earlier conception date in REG Synthetic Fuels LLC v. Neste Oil OYJ. The court found that the board had improperly excluded the emails as hearsay.

• Noting recent acquisitions by FedEx and UPS, Pelican Biothermal VP Kevin Lawler lists consolidation among the key trends likely to shape the temperature-controlled logistics market in 2017.

Research roundup: Ice-on-coil storage; active-passive ventilation wall; cross-flow heat exchanger; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Experimental and numerical investigation of discharging process of direct contact thermal energy storage for use in conventional air-conditioning systems [Applied Energy]

Experimental and numerical study of thin ring and annular fin effects on improving the ice formation in ice-on-coil thermal storage systems [Applied Energy]

Experimental characterization and simulation of a hybrid sensible-latent heat storage [Applied Energy]

Thermal and Fluid Characteristics of a Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage Unit [Energy Procedia]

Numerical Modelling of Thermal Performance of Active-passive Ventilation Wall with Phase Change Material [Energy Procedia]

Development of heat storage unit based on the phase change materials for mining machinery with combustion engines [Acta Montanistica Slovaca]

Experimental Study of the Performance of Phase Change Material Air Cooling Rig [Procedia Manufacturing]

Experimental and Numerical Investigation of the Cross-flow PCM Heat Exchanger for the Energy Saving of Building HVAC [Energy and Buildings]

Design and Performance of Thermal Energy Storage Module using High Thermal Conductivity Phase Change Composite Material [International Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Conference]

Transient multiphysics modeling of a robotic personal air-conditioning device [International Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Conference]

Numerical study of heat transfer in macro-encapsulated phase change material for thermal energy storage [Bulgarian Chemical Communications]