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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: Cleanergy lands CSP contract in China; ASHRAE extends global reach

Ben Welter - Monday, July 03, 2017

• Team Sky cyclists competing in this year's Tour de France are using Inuteq's Siku vest to cool down after each stage. The Dutch company's hybrid vest combines PCM and evaporative cooling technologies. Inuteq says it is supplying its cooling products to two other teams: Bahrain Merida and Cannondale Drapac.

Calmac, the New Jersey company whose thermal energy storage tanks help cool more than more than 4,500 buildings worldwide, including the corporate headquarters of JC Penney, Marriott and Google, was profiled in Inc. magazine last week.  

Ember Technologies' temperature-controlled mug is a finalist in the 2017 International Design Excellence Awards in the Kitchen & Accessories category. The winners will be announced Aug. 16 at the International Designers Society of America conference in Atlanta. 

Cleanergy AB of Sweden has signed an agreement to deploy a 200-MW concentrating solar energy project in China. A Cleanergy spokeswoman confirmed that phase change material will be used in the CSP project's thermal storage system but declined to provide details about the PCM. 

Midsize energy and chemical companies are among the least prepared for the disruption that technological innovation and other changes will bring, a new report from Capital One Commercial Bank says.

• A U.S. House appropriations subcommittee last week advanced a bill that would impose deep cuts in renewable energy and efficiency programs at the Department of Energy and eliminate the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, ARPA-E.

ASHRAE has announced the formation of a new ASHRAE Region in Europe and strategic partnerships with two European organizations: the UK-based Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers and the Belgium-based Federation of European Heating, Ventilation and Air-Conditioning Associations.

• PCM will be among the topics at the 3rd International Conference: Innovative Materials and Smart Technologies for Environmental Safety. The conference will take place Sept. 27-29 in Latvia. The student conference includes a lecture titled "Heat Transfer Enhancement in Phase-Change Materials" by Dr. Gennady Ziskind, professor of mechanical engineering at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. 

BASF, Cargill, Procter & Gamble and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH have joined together in a development partnership to help establish a sustainable certified and transparent supply chain of coconut oil in the Philippines and Indonesia.  

• New from Zion Market Research: "Temperature Controlled Packaging Market: Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecasts 2016–2024"

Bio-Based World News reports that the biobased sector of Finland's economy is now worth 60 billion euros. About 60 percent of the sector is rooted in the country's forest industry. 

PCM briefing: Ice Energy signs Australian distribution deal; program posted for thermal management conference in Denver

Ben Welter - Monday, June 26, 2017

Ice Energy of Santa Barbara, Calif., has entered into an agreement calling for Apricus Australia to become the exclusive distributor for all Ice Energy products in Australia. Apricus will market and sell to utilities, businesses and residential customers and will be responsible for installation and service. 

The program has been posted for the 2017 Advancements in Thermal Management conference to be held in Denver Aug. 9-10. Mark Hartmann, CTO at Outlast Technologies, will give a presentation on "Thermal Runaway Prevention of Li-ion Batteries by Novel Thermal Management System." Greg Albright, vice president of business development at AllCell Technologies, will give a presentation on "Conductivity Enhanced Phase Change Materials for Transient Loads." 

• At this month's Techtextil North America trade show in Chicago, Alexium International said it was on track to ship more than 90,000 kilograms of its Alexicool PCM product in June. The company, based in Greer, S.C., and Perth, Australia, sells the product to mattress fabric producers. Alexium's share price rose 21 percent last week on the Australian Securities Exchange, to 62.5 cents AUS. 

Viking Cold Solutions of Houston has been named to Food Logistics magazine's list of Top Green Providers for 2017. The list recognizes companies whose products, services or leadership is enhancing sustainability in the food and beverage industry. Viking makes a PCM-based thermal battery system designed cut energy consumption cold storage warehouses. 

Entropy Solutions, maker of PureTemp phase change materials, was among the companies honored with a Eureka! Innovation Award at a reception last week. The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal awards program recognizes "game-changing" Minnesota businesses in energy, manufacturing, media, product design, engineering and other categories.

Monodraught Ltd. has been accredited by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers to deliver three new continuing professional development modules. One of the free courses explores the use of phase change materials in ventilation systems to reduce a building’s energy consumption and carbon footprint.  

Masdar Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have tested and validated what is touted as the world’s first direct absorption molten salt receiver for concentrated solar power. The single-tank thermal energy storage system has been operational for over two weeks at the Masdar Institute Solar Platform in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The tank holds roughly 4 tons of molten salt, capable of reaching temperatures over 500 degrees Celsius.

• A study published in the journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness highlights the importance of cooling vests for health care workers wearing personal protective equipment in hot, humid environments. Study participants wearing vests fitted with ice packs, phase change materials or water hoses under protective equipment showed fewer signs of heat stress than those who did not.

• New research from Future Market Insights: "Chilled Water Storage System Market: Global Industry Analysis 2012 – 2016 and Opportunity Assessment; 2017 – 2027"

Research roundup: Mid-temperature solar collector; PCM use in NZEB buildings; modeling of nitrate materials; more

Ben Welter - Friday, June 23, 2017

Experimental investigation and theoretical analysis on a mid-temperature solar collector/storage system with composite PCM [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Experimental and computational study of melting phase-change material in a triplex tube heat exchanger with longitudinal/triangular fins [Solar Energy]

Thermodynamic modeling of nitrate materials for hybrid thermal energy storage: Using latent and sensible mechanisms [Solar Energy]

Outdoor Characterization of Phase Change Materials and Assessment of Their Energy Saving Potential to Reach NZEB [Buildings]

Preparation and Supercooling Modification of Salt Hydrate Phase Change Materials Based on CaCl2·2H2O/CaCl2 [Materials]

PCM briefing: Viking Cold Solutions lands deal in Phoenix; study finds ARPA-E is doing what it was designed to do

Ben Welter - Monday, June 19, 2017

Viking Cold Solutions has announced a collaboration between Salt River Project and Bashas' Supermarkets to install and evaluate the performance of Viking's PCM-based thermal energy storage system at Bashas' distribution center in the Phoenix area. The system is expected to significantly reduce energy costs by shifting peak demand to nighttime hours.

A six-year study finds that ARPA-E, the U.S. Energy Department program that supports cutting-edge energy technologies, is meeting the goals of the 2007 law that created it even as the Trump administration seeks to eliminate its funding. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report concludes that the program is moving in the right direction and does not require major changes to keep bringing new energy technologies to market.

• The co-creator of a camisole that uses phase change material to reduce the discomfort of hot flashes is profiled in ChicagoInno this month. Nancy Munro, who is selling "CoolCami" online, hopes to partner with a women’s undergarment company like Spanx or Soma. CoolCami is made of absorbent bamboo fabric and features a PCM-filled cooling liner.

Peli BioThermal reports that its ProMed thermal transport bags performed well in a five-month trial in the United Kingdom. The Great North Air Ambulance Service used the bags to transport blood plasma to accident scenes.

Ministry of Supply, the Boston startup that integrates phase change material in its high-tech menswear, has added a lightweight polo shirt to its lineup. The machine-washable Apollo 3 Polo sells for $70. 

Axiom Exergy, maker of "refrigeration batteries" designed to reduce energy use in supermarkets, is looking to fill eleven positions, including product engineer, product engineer manager and engineering intern. Candidates for the internship are asked to give a concise response to a "bonus question": "Given the choice between pure water and a NaCl-water solution as the thermal energy storage medium in medium temperature (40°F, 4.4°C) refrigeration applications, what are the pros and cons of each material?"

CIC energiGUNE is looking for a laboratory technician to join the Thermal Energy Storage unit's materials development and characterization group.

• The European Commission, in with collaboration with Skanska, Saint-Gobain, Sustainable Building Alliance and Green Building Councils, has developed an open-source assessment framework for measuring the energy performance of buildings. Level(s) links a building’s environmental impact with resource priorities at the European level. The voluntary tool will be ready for testing this fall.

Va-Q-tec AG has established a Japanese subsidiary in Tokyo. The German company develops, manufactures and sells vacuum insulation panels and phase change materials for use in thermal packaging, air freight containers and other applications. Va-Q-tec Japan GK will focus on providing "small box and container sales and rental solutions" in the Asian market.

• A recent New York Times piece answered the question: "What if you need a battery? A really big one — big enough to run a city?" A 2.35-million-square-foot office tower in New York City is among many buildings around the world equipped with a system that stores energy in the form of ice. The system freezes water overnight to help cool the building during the day, when electricity is typically more expensive.  

Massachusetts has awarded $1.5 million to help fund installation of more than 200 residential thermal energy storage units on Nantucket. Ice Energy, which makes the Ice Bear units, is partnering with Genbright LLC on the project. The goal is to help reduce peak energy demand and demonstrate an alternative to a third undersea transmission line to the island.

SaltX Technology and Aalborg CSP have agreed to work together to develop and commercialize an integrated energy storage solution for concentrated solar power based on EnerStore, SaltX's patented technology for large-scale energy storage. A prototype is scheduled to be built later this year with the aim of securing a commercial pilot plant in 2018.

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.

Research roundup: Shape-stabilized PCM in epoxy matrix; myristyl alcohol/metal foam for solar thermal storage; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 01, 2017

Illustration of shape-stabilized PCM in epoxy matrix

Novel shape stabilized phase change material based on epoxy matrix with ultrahigh cycle life for thermal energy storage [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Thermal and electrical performance of a PV module integrated with double layers of water-saturated MEPCM [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Investigation on thermal and mechanical characteristics of concrete mixed with shape stabilized phase change material for mix design [Construction and Building Materials]

Thermal properties and thermal conductivity enhancement of composite phase change materials using myristyl alcohol/metal foam for solar thermal storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Experimental and Numerical Study on Energy Performance of Buildings Integrated with Phase Change Materials [Energy Procedia]

Evaluation on Performance of a Phase Change Material Based Cold Storage House [Energy Procedia]

Using Phase Change Materials to Reduce Overheating Issues in UK Residential Buildings [Energy Procedia]

Effect of Supercooling on the Solidification Process of the Phase Change Material [Energy Procedia]

Experimental Investigation of a Spiral Tube Embedded Latent Thermal Energy Storage Tank Using Paraffin as PCM [Energy Procedia]

Investigation of specific heat and latent heat enhancement in hydrate salt based TiO2 nanofluid phase change material [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Modeling and investigation of high temperature phase change materials (PCM) in different storage tank configurations [Journal of Cleaner Production]

Lauric acid/modified sepiolite composite as a form-stable phase change material for thermal energy storage [Applied Clay Science]

Patent application: Hybrid solar reactor and heat storage system

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 31, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170146262 (applicants University of Colorado, Denver; and Harper International Corp., Buffalo, N.Y.)

"A hybrid solar reactor and a heat storage system are disclosed. The hybrid solar reactor includes one or more heaters and a solar light guide assembly coupled to a shell of the reactor. The solar light guide assembly includes a solar light guide to direct solar energy to, for example, one or more reactor tubes within the shell. ... Further embodiments of the disclosure relate to energy storage systems in which solar energy is used to heat a medium, such as phase change material (e.g., material that changes phase at or about 700° C.). The phase change material can be used to store heat that can be used when, for example, the energy storage system is off sun."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170146262.pdf

Research roundup: Hydrogen-based PCM micro engine; PV module temperature stabilization; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A new hydrogen-based phase change material open-cycle micro engine [International Journal of Hydrogen Energy]

Photovoltaic module temperature stabilization with the use of phase change materials [Solar Energy]

A review of salt hydrates for seasonal heat storage in domestic applications [Applied Energy]

Shape-stabilized composite phase change materials with high thermal conductivity based on stearic acid and modified expanded vermiculite [Renewable Energy]

Experimental investigation of a latent heat storage for solar cooling applications [Applied Energy]

Novel CFD-based numerical schemes for conduction dominant encapsulated phase change materials (EPCM) with temperature hysteresis for thermal energy storage applications [Energy]

Performance evaluation of a novel solar photovoltaic–thermal collector with dual channel using microencapsulated phase change slurry as cooling fluid [Energy Conversion and Management]

Research roundup: Waste heat extraction; thermal sintering Pickering emulsion-based colloidosomes; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Micro-encapsulated phase change material (MPCM) slurries: Characterization and building applications [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Coupling waste heat extraction by phase change materials with superheated steam generation in the steel industry [Energy]

Large-scale high-temperature solar energy storage using natural minerals [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Hierarchical nano-activated silica nanosheets for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Microencapsulation through thermal sintering Pickering emulsion-based colloidosomes [Soft Matter]

Preparation of polyurea microcapsules containing phase change materials in a rotating packed bed [RSC Advances]

Dynamic measurement of the thermal conductivity of phase change materials in the liquid phase near the melting point [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Investigation of Energy Performance in Conventional and Lightweight Building Components with the use of Phase Change Materials (PCMS): Energy Savings in Summer Season [Procedia Environmental Sciences]

Novel synthesis of cobalt/poly vinyl alcohol/gamma alumina nanocomposite for catalytic application [Applied Physics A]

Research roundup: Solar PCM storage wall system; novel caprylic acid/nonanoic acid mix; double glazing units; more

Ben Welter - Monday, April 17, 2017

Experimental study of a modified solar phase change material storage wall system [Energy]

A novel binary mixture of caprylic acid/nonanoic acid as latent heat storage for air conditioning and cooling [Energy and Buildings]

A General Method for Retrieving Thermal Deformation Properties of Microencapsulated Phase Change Materials or Other Particulate Inclusions in Cementitious Composites [Materials and Design]

Effect of PCM thickness and melting temperature on thermal performance of double glazing units [Journal of Building Engineering]