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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: New denim features phase change material; Sasol 'back on the expansion trail'

Ben Welter - Monday, February 06, 2017

• Thinking about attending BiobasedWorld 2017 in Cologne, Germany, this month? Sorry, the trade show was canceled a few months ago due to the industry's "challenging economic environment." A related show is on the horizon: Bio-Based Live Europe in Amsterdam, May 31-June 1. The focus will be on "Process Innovation and Technology" and "Sustainable Products." Speakers include Freek Snieders, managing director, Croda International; and Jean Luc Dubois, scientific director, Arkema.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory takes a look at how University of Michigan researchers used a Cray XK7 Titan supercomputer to study melting in two-dimensional systems. Deeper understanding of the process, Oak Ridge says, "could yield insights into surface interactions in materials important to technologies like solar panels, as well as into the mechanism behind three-dimensional melting." 

• The cold chain packaging class developed by Sonoco ThermoSafe’s ISC Labs will be offered at the Cold Chain GDP & Temperature Management Logistics Global Forum in San Diego in May. The all-day session on May 25 will cover the design, development and qualification of temperature-controlled packaging. The conference agenda is available for download.

Biznews.com reports that chemicals giant Sasol is "back on the expansion trail, seeking out suitable acquisitions."

• Among the new fabrics on display at the Munich Fabric Start trade show this week: Cordura denim combined with Schoeller phase change material. 

• The University of the West of England has installed two Monodraught Cool-Phase hybrid units in the university's Estates Management Office in Bristol. Monodraught says its PCM-equipped systems have been shown to "use up to 90% less energy than traditional a/c systems."  

• The 12th Conference on Advanced Building Skins, scheduled for Oct. 2-3 in Bern, Switzerland, has issued a call for papers. Possible topics include financial models, new products, advanced design and building performance. The deadline is Feb. 10. 

Pelican BioThermal has announced that its new passive pallet shipper system, Crēdo Cargo, is now available to rent or buy. The reusable bulk shipper uses phase change material cooling panels to maintain temperature ranges +2C to +8C and +15C to +25C. 

PCM briefing: Stanford energy hub wins AIA award; is that PCM atop a Japanese greenhouse?

Ben Welter - Friday, January 20, 2017

Stanford University's new Central Energy Facility, the heart of a campus-wide energy system, has won a 2017 Institute Honor Award, the American Institute of Architects' highest recognition for design excellence. A 2.5-million-gallon hot water tank in the courtyard showcases the energy plant’s mission.

Greenhouse in Yamaguchi Prefecture• A strawberry-cultivation system that stores excess solar heat in a tank filled with cobblestones reduced heating costs by 80 percent at a greenhouse in Japan's Yamaguchi Prefecture. "A mat-like heat-insulating material" – phase change material, perhaps? – atop the greenhouse, right, is rolled up during the day to let in sunlight.

A power plant under construction in Kiel, Germany, will be able to store more than 1,500 megawatt hours of heat in a 60-meter-high water tank, ensuring the supply of more than 70,000 district heating customers for up to eight hours. The gas-fired Stadtwerke Kiel will simultaneously generate electricity and heat through cogeneration.

• New from QYResearch: "Europe Bio-Based Phase Change Materials Market Report 2017" and "Global Bio-Based Phase Change Materials Market Professional Survey Report 2017."

• The Industrial Fabrics Association International has issued a call for presenters for the IFAI Advanced Textiles Conference, to be held Sept. 26-29 in New Orleans. The deadline for submitting a proposal is Feb. 5.

• In partnership with Technical University Hamburg Harburg and Hamburg Energie, Siemens AG is developing a thermal storage system that will convert excess wind energy to heat and store it in rock fill. A steam turbine will convert the heat energy back to electricity on demand. The full-size system will be able to store about 36 MWh of energy in a container filled with 2,000 cubic meters of rock.

• The global market for thermal energy storage is projected to reach a value of $1.8 billion by 2020, Transparency Market Research reports. Latent heat and thermochemical storage technologies are expected to grab market share from sensible heat technology, which is now the dominant technology in the market.

Pluss Advanced Technologies has an opening for a quality assurance manager at its facility in Bawal, India. The quality manager is responsible for overall development, implementation and maintenance of the quality management system for the company's polymer and PCM business units.

PCM briefing: va-Q-tec raises stake in polymer nanofoam company; Axiom installs system in Walmart store

Ben Welter - Tuesday, November 15, 2016

• PCM maker va-Q-tec AG is increasing its equity stake in SUMTEQ GmbH, a technology company that develops lightweight, durable polymer nanofoams for use as insulating material. 

• In tests conducted by San Diego Gas and Electric and ASWB Engineering, Viking Cold Solutions' PCM-based thermal energy storage system showed reductions in electricity consumption of 30 percent and 39 percent in two cold storage facilities in the San Diego area. Based on the results, SDG&E and ASWB recommended that California utilities include the technology in their Energy Efficiency and Demand Response incentive programs.

• The International Fabrics Association International has issued a call for presenters for its next trade show and expo. Possible topics include flame retardancy, moisture management, polymer innovations and thermal control. Submissions are due Feb. 9. The expo will be held Sept. 26-29, 2017, in New Orleans.

Greentech Media's Jason Deign takes a look at what energy insiders around the world are making of Donald Trump's victory.

Axiom Exergy is installing its "Refrigeration Battery" energy storage system at a San Diego Walmart store. Two of California's largest utilities are funding the demonstration project. The system stores water chilled at night, when electricity is cheapest, to take the load off condensers and compressors during the day.

• New from QYResearch: "Global Phase Change Materials Market Research Report 2016."

SpecialChem is offering a 90-minute webinar on the impact of a new U.S. law on intellectual property. "U.S. Trade Secrets and How they are Protected: Easy to Understand Guide" will be held at 10 a.m. EST on Dec. 14. The cost is $268 for three participants on a single connection.

PCM briefing: RAL meeting in Dusseldorf; temperature-assurance packaging class in Boston

Ben Welter - Friday, September 23, 2016

• Members of the RAL Quality Association PCM, a European-based organization established in 2004 to develop standards for the phase change material industry, will meet in Dusseldorf, Germany, on Tuesday. The agenda includes an update on the upcoming revision of the European Union's energy performance of buildings directive and discussion of a proposal to include PCM in the Building Efficiency Standards section of California's Code of Regulations. Two companies interested in joining RAL, Sunamp Ltd. and Renewable Energy Group Inc., will attend the meeting as guests.

Ontario has pumped $5.8 million (Canadian) into the University of Guelph's new thermal energy cooling system. The $15 million system, completed last year, features a tank that holds 22 million liters of water. In warmer months, the water is chilled at night, when energy costs are lower. The chilled tank water is then circulated through the university's existing cooling system during the day. Officials say the system has already saved the university $2.5 million in energy costs.

• Bio-based materials and chemicals offer a clear value proposition when compared with their petroleum-based counterparts, but smart business execution is critical to eventual success, Lux Research concludes in a new report, “Hunting for Value and Performance in the Bio-based Materials and Chemicals Space."

Phase Change Material Products Ltd. of the United Kingdom will be among the hundreds of exhibitors at the Chillventa trade show in Nuremberg, Germany, Oct. 11-13.  

A cold chain packaging class developed by Sonoco ThermoSafe’s ISC Labs will make its debut Monday at the Cold Chain GDP & Temperature Management Logistics Global Forum in Boston. The all-day session will cover the design, development and qualification of temperature-controlled packaging.

Cold Chain IQ, an online resource for temperature-controlled logistics professionals, is now Pharma Logistics IQ. The new site, www.pharmalogisticsiq.com, includes content on pharma logistics, including clinical supply, supply chain security, regulations and more.

PCM briefing: Pelican BioThermal is looking for VP for new products; Ice Energy completes project at North Hollywood movie theater

Ben Welter - Friday, August 05, 2016

Pelican BioThermal has posted an opening for a vice president of engineering and new product development. The VP will "lead a team of highly-driven and innovative engineers to design and develop the next generation of best-in-class temperature controlled packaging solutions for the life sciences industry." 

Appearing at this week's Advances in Thermal Management 2016 conference in Denver, Colo.: Mark Hartmann, chief technology officer at Outlast Technologies, discussed the use of thermal materials to manage the heat generated by lithium-ion batteries. Croda International's CrodaTherm biobased phase change materials were on display at booth 35. Outlast materials scientist Joe Kelly spoke at the companion conference, Battery Power 2016

• The U.S. Department of Energy has introduced two new tools designed to help cities nationwide make more strategic energy decisions based on actual and estimated data and analysis. The City Energy Profile tool uses robust data science methodologies to derive data on energy use and costs for 23,400 cities. The Local Energy Toolbox allows cities to build a customizable list of actions to help make strategic energy decisions.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems has begun verification testing of a solar thermal power system at the company's new facility in Yokohama, Japan. The hybrid system combines a low-temperature Fresnel evaporator, a high-temperature thermal storage system and a tower-type superheater that collects sunlight by heliostats.

• Safety expert John D. Modine is the new chief executive at the American Chemistry Council's Chemtrec division.

Ice Energy has installed four Ice Bear 30 thermal storage units at a Cinemark movie theater in North Hollywood, Calif. Ice Energy says the project qualifies for energy efficiency rebates from the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power.

PCM briefing: Croda to showcase automotive product line; Outlast technology on display in Leipzig

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Croda, the global specialty chemical company, will showcase its automotive product portfolio in June at Automechanika 2016 in Birmingham, U.K. Among the sustainable products on display: bio-based phase change material designed for in-cabin temperature control and cold storage evaporators.

Hydas wrist brace with Outlast PCMThe latest innovations featuring Outlast phase change technology were on display last week at the OT World trade show in Leipzig. Outlast's PCM-enhanced foam is used to cushion the inside of ankle orthoses made by the French company Thuasne. Compression bandages made by a German company, Bort, include Outlast PCM to improve thermal comfort. And Hydas Fabrik für Medizinalbedarf, another German company, uses Outlast fibers in bandages, supporting belts and wrist braces (shown here) for extended heat management. 

BASF, maker of Micronal phase change material and other sustainable building materials and products, is taking a leadership role in the World Green Building Council’s Europe Regional Network. As an official partner, BASF will play a key part in supporting growth of the sustainable building movement in Europe.

Ben VanderPlas, Sonoco ThermoSafe's global product manager, is featured in a video produced by Healthcare Packaging magazine. VanderPlas explains how ThermoSafe's LD7 Quarter PMC reflects a new approach to passive pallet shipper design for the distribution of bulk temperature-sensitive products.  

Roccor LLC of Longmont, Colo., has posted an opening for a thermal test engineer to help develop two-phase cooling devices for high-power military and commercial electronic systems.  

• Planning to attend the 2017 Temperature Controlled Logistics conference in London? Take a 10-minute industry survey and you'll be entered in a drawing to win a complimentary pass.

PCM briefing: Thermal battery maker Sunamp raises $4.6 million; Viking Cold Solutions' cooling system is on display in Hannover

Ben Welter - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

• U.K. thermal battery maker Sunamp has raised 3.2 million pounds ($4.6 million) in its latest investment round. Sunamp said “an international private investor in the energy market” led the funding round, along with existing investors Scottish Investment Bank, Par Equity, Equity Gap, Highland Venture Capital and Old College Capital. The company said the money would be used to fund expansion and product development.

Viking Cold Solutions' hybrid cooling system is on display at the industrial technology show in Hannover, Germany, this week. The new system combines phase change material with solar photovoltaics for use in supermarkets and food warehouses. The Houston-based company says the system can reduce electricity peak demand by up to 90 percent.

EGO Power+ string trimmer• The new EGO Power+ 15-inch string trimmer, which uses phase change material to keep its rechargeable battery cool, was the highest-rated of 11 battery-powered trimmers reviewed this month by Pro Tool Reviews.

• The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has signed an agreement with the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to work together to stimulate development of "high-potential, high-impact clean energy technologies" in the state. The collaboration will focus on a broad range of technology, including smart grid, distributed energy, renewable energy and energy storage.

• New report from Future Market Insights: "Temperature Controlled Packaging Solutions Market: Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment 2015-2025".

• South Africa's new Bokpoort concentrated solar power plant has set an African record for continuous supply of electricity: 161 hours, or nearly six days. The plant's molten salt system provides 9.3 hours of thermal storage.

PCM briefing: South Africa fires up solar plant with TES; Toto offers free course on product disclosure, design

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 15, 2016

South Africa and ACWA Power launched a $328 million solar power plant in the Northern Cape province this week. The Bokpoort plant is designed to power more than 200,000 homes. Two thermal energy storage tanks hold molten salt capable of providing 9.3 hours of operation.

• Plumbing fixture manufacturer Toto Ltd. is offering a free online course, "Product Disclosure and the Future of Design," through GreenCE. The one-hour course covers product design, life cycle assessments, environmental product declarations and transparency reports. AIA and LEED credits are available.

Ian Tainsley, chief technical officer at Sure Chill, has won the Institute of Refrigeration's J&E Hall Gold Medal. The U.K. company's water-based cooling technology is used in a refrigerator that keeps vaccines within a temperature range of 2° to 8°C for 10 days or more without the need for a grid-based electricity.

• Fiber and polymer manufacturer Invista introduced a new heat-dispersing fiberfill bedding material at New York Home Fashions Market Week on Monday. Dacron Memorelle CoolFX fiberfill includes a cover infused with phase change material to provide an "initial cooling sensation ... and lasting heat management by diffusing moisture to keep sleepers cool and dry."

PCM briefing: A bioplastics breakthrough from DuPont/ADM; a revamped bedding line from Tempur-Pedic

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 26, 2016

CleanTechnica takes a look at the DuPont-ADM "breakthrough" process for producing a high-performance, 100 percent biodegradable bioplastic. The companies' first project will use furan dicarboxylic methyl ester to produce polytrimethylene furandicarboxylate, which ADM says outperforms petroleum-based polymers in extending beverage shelf life.

•  Tempur-Pedic has revamped its Breeze line of cooler-sleep beds, fusing phase change material in the top Tempur foam layer to deliver “a significantly improved cooling effect,” the company said.

Composite sandwich panels containing phase change material are among 20 smart materials and structures identified by a European Union study with possible applications in the shipbuilding industry. The panels would minimize heat transfer and lower cooling costs on refrigerated cargo ships.  

• Sonoco ThermoSafe, Pluss Advanced Technologies, va-Q-tec AG, Peli BioThermal, Cryopak, AAR Cold Chain Solutions and Croda are among the companies exhibiting PCM-related products at the 15th annual Temperature Controlled Logistics Europe conference in Frankfurt, Germany, this week. 

Registration open for renewable energy storage conference in Düsseldorf

Ben Welter - Monday, January 11, 2016

Registration is open for the 10th International Renewable Energy Storage Conference to be held March 15-17 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The conference will feature sessions on high-temperature thermal energy storage for electricity production, TES for buildings and TES for increased efficiency in industry. Among the presentations: 

"Top-down and Bottom-up Analysis of the Economics of Thermal Energy Storage," Christoph Rathgeber, ZAE Bayern, Germany

"Characterisation and Enhancement of Phase Change Slurries," Sophia Niedermaier, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, Germany

"Quasi‐Stationary Modelling of Melting and Solidification Inside a Latent Heat Storage System," Felix Eckl, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Switzerland

"Improve Flexibility for Heat Pumps in Smart‐Grids by the Integration of a Thermal Storage System," Philipp Schütz, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Switzerland

"Operational Results of a Combined Thermal Energy Storage with Electricity Generation System," Günter Schneider, STORASOL GmbH, Germany

"Management of Thermal and Electrical Systems in Residential Areas ‐ A Case‐Based Techno-Economical Optimization," Andreas Bachmaier, Fraunhofer Institut for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Germany

"Standard Procedure for PCM Characterization via DSC and Online Database for High Quality PCM‐Data," [presenter not listed]

Reduced rates are available through Jan. 31.

http://www.eurosolar.de/en/index.php/ires-conference-series/ires2016