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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: va-Q-tec opens North American headquarters; Viking Cold Solutions begins Phoenix-area installation

Ben Welter - Friday, January 19, 2018

• PCM maker va-Q-tec AG officially opened its new North American headquarters in Langhorne, Penn., this week. Va-Q-tec will use the 20,000-square-foot facility to showcase new products and to manufacture its small temperature-control shipping containers. The location will also serve as a hub for the company's rental and repair operation. “The investment in this new facility is a testament to our commitment to grow the business and expand our footprint in North America," said CEO Dr. Joachim Kuhn.

Drones that deliver sterile mosquitoes in the fight against the Zika virus will be field tested in Latin America early this year. The system, developed by the Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture's Insect Pest Control Laboratory, uses phase change material to keep the mosquitoes inactive during transportation. 

• New from Greentech Media: "The Next Five Years in Energy Storage According to 500 Energy Professionals"

• New from Global Info Research: "North America Advanced Phase Change Materials (PCM) Market by Manufacturers, Countries, Type and Application, Forecast to 2022"

• New from Technavio: "Global Advanced Phase Change Materials Market 2017-2021

Viking Cold Solutions has begun installing its PCM-based thermal energy storage system in a 10,000-square-foot freezer at the Bashas food distribution center in the Phoenix area. The system, which consists of salt-hydrate-filled panels suspended from warehouse ceilings, is designed to significantly reduce energy costs by shifting peak demand to nighttime hours.

• The cost of renewable energy is falling so fast that it should be a consistently cheaper source of electricity than fossil fuels by 2020, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency

Utility Dive takes a close look at Nantucket Island's "hybrid" plan to add energy storage, including thermal storage, to stave off expensive grid enhancements.

Research roundup: Review of latent heat storage systems; triple-glazed window with PCM; myristic acid; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Design of a Latent Thermal Energy Storage System From Constructal Approach [ASME 2017 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition]

Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage Systems with Solid–Liquid Phase Change Materials: A Review [Advanced Engineering Materials]

Simulation Research on the Dynamic Thermal Performance of a Novel Triple-glazed Window Filled with PCM [Sustainable Cities and Society]

Charging and Discharging Period Analysis of Myristic Acid as Phase Change Material [pdf] [International Journal of Current Engineering and Technology]

Solid-liquid phase equilibria of stearic acid and dicarboxylic acids binary mixtures as low temperature thermal energy storage materials [Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics]

Comparative study on the solar still performance utilizing different PCM [Desalination]

Temperature stabilization using salt hydrate storage system to achieve thermal comfort in prefabricated wooden houses [Energy and Buildings]

Multiobjective optimization of a building envelope with the use of phase change materials (PCMs) in Mediterranean climates [International Journal of Energy Research]

Experimental research in the phase change materials based on paraffin and expanded perlite [Phase Transitions]

Enhanced Thermal Conductivity and Thermal Performance of Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)/Modified SiO2 Composite Phase Change Material [Science of Advanced Materials]

RAL Quality Association PCM approves updated quality and testing specifications

Ben Welter - Thursday, December 14, 2017

Members of the RAL Quality Association PCM have unanimously approved revised versions of two documents governing the association’s quality testing program.

The association, formed in 2004, promotes the use of high-quality phase change material and oversees independent testing of PCMs. Members include Croda, va-Q-tec, Pluss Advanced Technologies and Entropy Solutions. Members and non-members alike can submit their products to the association for independent testing and earn the RAL Quality Mark.

RAL PCM quality markThe first document, “Quality and Testing Specifications for Phase Change Materials,” also known as RAL-GZ 896, sets out the general principles for PCM. The document defines PCM, PCM composites, PCM objects and PCM systems; establishes performance requirements; and outlines the nature and scope of monitoring measures.

Improvements to RAL-GZ 896 include:

Clearer structure and wording, less text. The prior edition was judged to be strongly fragmented, hard to read and too long. At the same time some definitions, especially those in the glossary, required clarification.

Heat flow meter measurements are now permissible. This will make measuring larger PCM products much easier.

Reduced testing frequency during cycling. The prior edition required testing the quality criteria at fixed intervals during cycling. The new edition recommends testing at intervals during cycling (to reduce the risk that cycling is continued until the end despite the sample has already failed) and the intervals are wider. These changes are designed to reduce the cost of testing.

Including segregation. Segregation is an important criterion for salt hydrates especially and was included as additional quality requirement.

Better explanation of monitoring.

The second document provides detailed provisions and references to the certification of PCM, PCM composites, PCM objects and PCM systems. Improvements to this document include more detailed descriptions of measuring methods and guidance on which methods are appropriate for different types of PCM.

The revised documents will be submitted to the German RAL Institute for Quality Assurance and Certification, the PCM association’s governing body, for final review and approval. The revised documents are expected to take effect in early spring.

PCM-assisted cooling system designed to cut energy costs at Norwegian airport

Ben Welter - Thursday, December 07, 2017

Two of four TES tanks installed at Bergen Airport

A PCM-based thermal energy storage system at a new airport terminal in Bergen, Norway, is designed to reduce energy costs by chilling water overnight, when ambient temperatures are lower.

To handle peak demand during summer, Bergen Airport required a cooling system with a maximum output of 5 megawatts, said civil engineer Rune Teigland, who designed the system.

Instead, chillers with a maximum output of just 2.5 megawatts were installed. An additional 11,000 kWh of cooling can be drawn from four large tanks that hold 44,000 panels filled with a modified salt-based phase change material. The PCM has a melting point of about 10º Celsius. The HDPE panels act as thermal batteries, holding the “chill” produced overnight for use during the day.

Installation of PCM panels in TES tank at Bergen Airport “The obvious advantage is that the cooling plant does not need to be big enough to handle the maximum cooling requirement. This offers some clear benefits, in terms of price, energy consumption and maintenance,” explained Teigland, a project leader and energy specialist at COWI of Lyngby, Denmark.

The panels, supplied by U.K.-based PCM Products Ltd., are 50x25x3 centimeters in size and are stacked on top of each other in the water-filled tanks. Each tank is 13 meters long and 3 meters in diameter.

When water at a temperature below the PCM’s freezing point is passed through the tanks, the PCM solidifies and energy is stored in the panels. When water is fed in at a temperature above the PCM’s freezing point, the PCM will melt and produce a cooling effect.

COWI says the system can run for two hours at full capacity solely on the energy stored in the PCM panels. The company projects an annual savings of 5,000 megawatt-hours compared to a conventional system.

“The method provides for big savings in energy and running costs, and we see great potential for buildings, data centers and production halls, which need to keep both temperatures and CO₂ emissions down. This method could change the whole cooling industry,” said Teigland.

Teigland said he began “measuring and logging” system performance a few months before the terminal opened in August. He plans to submit a paper about the project to ASHRAE. He offered these additional comments on the project:

"In an ordinary system one would install 5 MW with mechanical cooling. This means that at least 50% of the chillers rarely would be running, maybe only a few weeks in summer. A chiller or any refrigeration compressor is designed to be running. In long stand-still periods, flex gaskets will dry up which may result in refrigerant leaks and even engine damage. In summer time when maximum cooling capacity is needed we will first have to repair chillers that have had a long time with stand still. 

"We try to choose a more environmentally sustainable approach to this situation and we like to be in front of the technical development.

"We even use the tanks in winter to try to obtain maximum COP from chillers running. If one chiller is running and the next one is only on low partial load we would rather supply with energy from the tanks to avoid low partial load."

http://www.cowi.com/menu/newsandmedia/news/industryandenergy/storing-energy-in-brine-cells-can-reduce-co%E2%82%82--emissions

FloraHolland offices retrofitted with PCM-based induction units

Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Two years ago, Orange Climate Autarkis and Verkade Klimaat began installing PCM-based induction units in one floor of Royal FloraHolland’s 10-story office building in Naaldwijk, Netherlands. Known as Crystal Beam Modules, the Autarkis units are designed to enhance occupant comfort and reduce cooling costs by 20 percent.

Royal FloraHolland office building
Royal FloraHolland office building in Naaldwijk, Netherlands.

Walter van Kampen, Autarkis commercial adviser, says the flower industry trade organization liked the results and asked his company to retrofit additional floors. So far, Crystal Beam Modules have been installed on five floors. On another, a modular, PCM-based Crystal Climate Ceiling has been installed. Each floor is about 500 square meters.

“We changed from PCM beam modules to the Crystal Climate Ceiling on the eighth floor because more ventilation air was needed (it’s a mainly a big conference floor with meeting rooms) and because the customer wanted a different look,” van Kampen said.

How do the systems work?

“The building’s big chillers are only cooling down the fresh air to about 16-18 Celsius,” he explained. “Total cooling is achieved by the smaller chillers and the PCM material. Our customer compared the indoor to ‘a turtle.’ It remains nice and stable for a very long time and it does so every day.”

Royal FloraHolland office building
PCM panels are mounted above suspended ceilings.

Autarkis hopes to convert more floors next year. In an email interview, he provided additional information about the project and his company.

Q: Tell me about the history of Orange Climate Autarkis.

A: Orange Climate Autarkis has been focusing on PCM to air systems since 2009, mainly in the Netherlands. We have our own testing facilities (laboratory) in the town of Holten.

Our main focus is using PCM in three main areas:

1. Offices, micro datacenter and residential houses. In office buildings to reduce power, energy and CO2 emissions. We are able to do that with the highest standards in thermal comfort and a healthy (fresh air) working environment.

2. For micro datacenters we have a 90% energy reducing, without any HCFC or CFC. It’s an eco-friendly method of cooling smaller datacenters. These MER / SER datacenters are everywhere: in office buildings, in power plants in hospitals and so on.

3. We supply a PCM floor heating system that in combination with a heat pump and solar panels can store solar energy in the thermal "PCM battery" inside the floor heating system. All our products are installed and mounted by us with the help of our PCM knowledge partners.

Q: What is your role at the company?

Royal FloraHolland office building
An inorganic salt-hydrate PCM is stored inside HDPE containers.

I am a specialist in a lot of building-related topics – energy, ventilation, HVAC, cooling, heating, sustainability and so on. My role is both technical and commercial. I got intrigued by PCM because of the simplicity of the idea. All of the products and PCM services we deliver have been co-created by my colleagues Harry Schmitz (R&D), Henk Willem van Dorp (owner) and myself. I am also the only (lonely) person who travels to customers to see how our PCM solutions can help them with their efforts to create a sustainable solution.

Q: Who makes the PCM you use in your products?

A: PCM Technology produces our PCM and our PCM storage panels. It is co-owned by Salca BV and Autarkis. We mainly use an inorganic salt-hydrate stored inside a HDPE container.

Q: Do you or Verkade Klimaat have data quantifying the effect of your technology on energy consumption and cost?

A: We have not quantified the data in that way. We kept the main power for cooling and heating to basic levels and added PCM to create the most perfect and comfortable indoor climate. Without adding to the energy bill. And no complaints from people at all.

Research roundup: Axisymmetric lattice Boltzmann model; slurry flow in heated helical coils; sebacic acid/CNT sponge PCM; more

Ben Welter - Monday, November 27, 2017

Optimized demand side management (DSM) of peak electricity demand by coupling low temperature thermal energy storage (TES) and solar PV [Applied Energy]

Investigation of solid-liquid phase change in the spherical capsule using axisymmetric lattice Boltzmann model [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Thermodynamic assessment of binary erythritol-xylitol phase diagram for phase change materials design [Calphad]

Thermal Properties Optimization of Microencapsulated a Renewable and Non-toxic Phase Change Material with a Polystyrene Shell for Thermal Energy Storage Systems [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Heat transfer analysis of microencapsulated phase change material slurry flow in heated helical coils: A numerical and analytical study [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Experimental test bed design and development for PCM-water exchangers characterization [Sustainable Cities and Societies]

Synthesis of novel phase change material microcapsule and its application [Polymer]

Sebacic acid/CNT sponge phase change material with excellent thermal conductivity and photo-thermal performance [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]


Research roundup: Cascaded cold storage unit with multiple PCMs; evolution of global heat transfer coefficient; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Evolution of global heat transfer coefficient on PCM energy storage cycles [Energy Procedia]

Thermal performance analysis of a cascaded cold storage unit using multiple PCMs [Energy]

An experimental investigation of discharge/solidification cycle of paraffin in novel shell and tube with longitudinal fins based latent heat storage system [Energy Conversion and Management]

An alternative approach for assessing the benefit of phase change materials in solar domestic hot water systems [Solar Energy]

Organic-inorganic hybrid shell microencapsulated phase change materials prepared from SiO2/TiC-stabilized pickering emulsion polymerization [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Preparation of phase change material emulsions with good stability and little supercooling by using a mixed polymeric emulsifier for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Optimal design of PCM thermal storage tank and its application for winter available open-air swimming pool [Applied Energy]

Research roundup: Metal corrosion rate assessment; industrial heat storage; erythritol, glycerol and olive oil; more

Ben Welter - Monday, October 30, 2017

A Review of Phase Change Materials as an Alternative for Solar Thermal Energy Storage [Materials Today]

Step by Step Methodology for the Assessment of Metal Corrosion Rate with PCMs Suitable for Low Temperature Heat Storage Applications [Materials Today]

Investigation of the effect on the efficiency of phase change material placed in solar collector tank [Thermal Science and Engineering Progress]

Generalized diagrams of energy storage efficiency for latent heat thermal storage system in concentrated solar power plant [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Thermal energy storage with phase change materials to increase the efficiency of solar photovoltaic modules [Energy Procedia]

Development of industrial PCM heat storage lab prototype [Energy Procedia]

High Power Latent Heat Storages With 3D Wire Structures – Numerical Evaluation Of Phase Change Behavior [Energy Procedia]

Experimental comparison of two heat exchanger concepts for latent heat storage applications [Energy Procedia]

Erythritol, glycerol, their blends, and olive oil, as sustainable phase change materials [Energy Procedia]

Sunamp expands factory, warehouse space

Ben Welter - Thursday, October 26, 2017

Sunamp Ltd. is moving its phase change production unit into a 15,000-square-foot factory and warehouse space near the company's headquarters in East Lothian, Scotland. The new space is three times the size of Sunamp's current production space and will allow the company to bring in test rigs and a vehicle lift to meet the needs of its automotive division. Sunamp says the move will free up "much needed lab space at headquarters to expand our current chemical material and HVAC product R&D operations."

Other recent developments at Sunamp:

Sunamp EV• The company showcased its cooling system for refrigerated vans at the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle event in Millbank, England, last month. The system, developed with bodybuilder Paneltex, route optimization software maker Route Monkey and the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership, integrates low-temperature PCMs in electric delivery vans for supermarket deliveries. It was among the winners in a proof of concept competition sponsored by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles and Innovate UK.

• Along with other companies involved in the Smart Islands Energy Systems (SMILE) initiative, Sunamp is gearing up for the implementation phase of the Orkney pilot project, starting in November. Sunamp's heat batteries are among nine smart-grid technologies to be demonstrated in the four-year SMILE project, launched in May 2017 and funded under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 program.

• Sunamp's PCM heat batteries were featured this week on the UK television show "Grand Designs."

http://mailchi.mp/sunamp/sunamp-news-update?e=53caf0f79a

PCM briefing: SaltX Technology wins Swedish prize; Axiom has opening for field engineer

Ben Welter - Monday, October 23, 2017

• SaltX Technology has been awarded Sweden's E-Prize, presented by European energy company E.ON and Swedish business magazine Veckans Affärer. SaltX won the category “Renewable Energy” as well as the “People’s Award.” SaltX's nano-coated salt energy storage technology is used in EnerStore, the company's large-scale energy storage system for heat and power generation.

Brooks Danahy, a senior majoring in chemical engineering, is one of 13 University of Kansas students to receive a $1,000 Undergraduate Research Award. His project: "Characterization of Melting Point Depression and Phase Change Behavior in Ionic Liquid + Compressed Gas Systems.”

• California startup Axiom Exergy, maker of a "Refrigeration Battery" designed to reduce supermarket energy costs, has posted an opening for a field engineer

• Registration is open for a SpecialChem online course, "Essential Concepts for Optimal Compounding," to be held on Nov. 2. The cost for three attendees on one connection is 300 euros.

The Atlantic's Derek Thompson got a virtual peek inside X, the secretive lab where Google's parent company is researching advanced technology. Current projects include salt-based thermal storage, which X believes could become the cheapest grid-scale storage technology in the world. 

• A ceramic-based mechanical pump developed at Georgia Tech is able to operate at record temperatures of more than 1,400º Celsius, expanding the range of materials that can be used in high-temperature thermal storage systems. “The hotter we can operate, the more efficiently we can store and utilize thermal energy," said Asegun Henry, an assistant professor in Georgia Tech’s Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering. "This work will provide a step change in the infrastructure because now we can use some of the highest-temperature materials to transfer heat. These materials are also the hardest materials on Earth.” 

Schneider Electric of Andover, Mass., says augmented reality and mixed reality training regimens will become increasingly important at chemical plants as advances occur in both hardware and software.