Phase Change Matters RSS


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 monthly PCM newsletter. Or join the discussion on LinkedIn.




PCM briefing: Senate weighs energy storage tax credit; va-Q-tec signs deals with 2 air carriers

Ben Welter - Tuesday, October 11, 2016

• Under a bill introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., energy storage technologies such as batteries, thermal energy storage and regenerative fuel cells that qualify would get a 30 percent investment tax credit, similar to incentives available to wind and solar projects.

• PCM maker va-Q-tec AG has signed global rental agreements with two air carriers, Cargolux of Luxembourg and IAG Cargo, based in London and Madrid. The airlines will rent passive containers designed to ship temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical and biotech goods safely and efficiently. Va-Q-tec shares began trading on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (ticker symbol VQT) last week.

The Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, known as Empa, has posted an opening for a postdoctoral researcher in the field of phase change materials in building materials. The one-year position requires a strong background in thermal energy storage with PCMs and applications.

• PCM maker Entropy Solutions has an opening for a sales engineer. The sales engineer will work closely with Entropy's research and development team, providing direct support to key customers, channel partners and vendors, while taking the lead in managing incoming inquiries.  

Sunamp Ltd. took first-place honors last week at the Solar Power Portal Awards in Birmingham, England. The heat battery maker won the Residential Energy Management Project award for its work on the Eastheat PV/PCM project in Edinburgh and surrounding towns. 

The biobased products industry contributed $393 billion and 4.2 million jobs to the U.S. economy in 2014, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "As this sector is strengthening, so is the economy in rural America, where this year the unemployment rate dropped below six percent for the first time since 2007," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

Cardinal Health Inc., a global health care services and products company, has received the 2016 Excellence in Reusable Packaging award. The Reusable Packaging Association honored Cardinal for its innovative approach to ensuring the safe, efficient and sustainable delivery of refrigerated pharmaceuticals. In partnership with Sonoco ThermoSafe, Cardinal switched from water-based coolant gel packs within its reusable plastic totes to plant-based PureTemp phase change materials. The change helped Cardinal reduce product spoilage by 90 percent.

Research roundup: Fire-resistant polyether PCM; numerical simulation of packed-bed system; direct transesterification; more

Ben Welter - Monday, October 10, 2016

From Energy Storage Materials:

Novel Hybrid Form-stable Polyether Phase Change Materials with Good Fire Resistance
Experimental and numerical investigations on a flexible paraffin/fiber composite phase change material for thermal therapy mask

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Binary eutectic mixtures of stearic acid-n-butyramide/n - octanamide as phase change materials for low temperature solar heat storage
The effect of forced convection and PCM on helmets’ thermal performance in hot and arid environments
Numerical and Statistical Study on Melting of Nanoparticle Enhanced Phase Change Material in a Shell-and-Tube Thermal Energy Storage System

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

Numerical simulation of a PCM packed bed system: A review

From Thermochimica Acta:

Production of PEG grafted PAN copolymers and their electrospun nanowebs as novel thermal energy storage materials

From Construction and Building Materials:

Influence of adding phase change materials on the physical and mechanical properties of cement mortars
Application and verification of direct transesterification as a method to quantify fatty acids in cement and concrete

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Thermal management of a LiFePO4 battery pack at high temperature environment using a composite of phase change materials and aluminum wire mesh plates

From International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer:

Numerical investigation of transient thermal behavior of a wall incorporating a phase change material via a hybrid scheme

From Applied Energy:

Experimental testing of a hybrid sensible-latent heat storage system for domestic hot water applications

From Energy and Buildings:

Investigation of PCM as retrofitting option to enhance occupant thermal comfort in a modern residential building

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Exergy analysis of cascaded encapsulated phase change material—High-temperature thermal energy storage systems

Research roundup: Commercialization of PCMs; nickel foam-paraffin composite; CFD simulation of spherical capsule; more

Ben Welter - Monday, September 19, 2016

Review of current state of research on energy storage, toxicity, health hazards and commercialization of phase changing materials [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Experimental investigation of a passive thermal management system for high-powered lithium ion batteries using nickel foam-paraffin composite [Energy]

Assessing the thermal performance of three cold energy storage materials with low eutectic temperature for food cold chain [Energy]

CFD simulation of melting process of phase change materials (PCMs) in a spherical capsule [International Journal of Refrigeration]

Thermophysical Properties of Multifunctional Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymer Composites Incorporating Phase Change Materials [Thermochimica Acta]

Experimental study of evacuated tube collector/storage system containing paraffin as a PCM [Energy]

Patent application: Insulation of rechargeable battery pack

Ben Welter - Friday, September 16, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160268653 (applicant Covidien LP, Mansfield, Mass.):

"A battery autoclaving system is provided including a battery pack having a housing, a battery cell disposed within the housing, and an isolation region disposed between the housing and the battery cell. The isolation region may be formed at least partially from at least one of a thermal insulating material, a phase change material or any combination thereof. The system may include a temperature sensor adapted to sense at least one of a temperature of the battery cell temperature of the isolation region, The system may include and an autoclave configured to receive a temperature indication from the temperature sensor and to inhibit autoclaving when the temperature indication exceeds a predetermined value."

Research roundup: Triple-pane window filled with PCM: lithium-ion batteries; thermal storage in a MW scale; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Experimental Research on the Dynamic Thermal Performance of a Novel Triple-pane Building Window Filled with PCM [Sustainable Cities and Societies]

Experimental studies on the supercooling and melting/freezing characteristics of nano-copper/sodium acetate trihydrate composite phase change materials [Renewable Energy]

A novel heat exchanger concept for latent heat thermal energy storage in solar power towers: Modelling and performance comparison [Solar Energy]

Effects of parameters of the shell formation process on the performance of microencapsulated phase change materials based on melamine-formaldehyde [Textile Research Journal]

Numerical studies of lithium-ion battery thermal management systems using phase change materials and metal foams [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Energy savings due to the use of PCM for relocatable lightweight buildings passive heating and cooling in different weather conditions [Energy and Buildings]

Thermal storage in a MW scale. Molten salt solar thermal pilot facility: Plant description and commissioning experiences [Renewable Energy]

Patent application: Battery pack with phase change material

Ben Welter - Monday, August 08, 2016

Milwaukee Tool battery pack drawingU.S. patent application 20160226290 (applicant Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp., Milwaukee, Wis.):

"The electrical combination comprises a battery pack configured to be interfaced with a hand held power tool, a control component, and a semiconducting switch. The transfer of power from the battery pack to the hand held power tool is controlled by the control component and the switch based on one of a battery pack state of charge and a respective state of charge of one of a plurality of battery cells."

Research roundup: Liquid D-mannitol heat transfer; mesoporous silica sphere; lithium-ion battery cooling; more

Ben Welter - Monday, August 08, 2016

Transient natural convection heat transfer of liquid D-mannitol on a horizontal cylinder [Renewable Energy]

Recent progresses and achievements in photovoltaic-phase change material technology: A review with special treatment on photovoltaic thermal-phase change material systems [Energy Conversion and Management]

Radial-like mesoporous silica sphere: A promising new candidate of supporting material for storage of low-, middle-, and high-temperature heat [Energy]

Thermal optimization of composite phase change material/ expanded graphite for Li-ion battery thermal management [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Cooling Li-ion batteries of racing solar car by using multiple phase change materials [Applied Thermal Engineering]

The flammability of aerogel and PCM coated cotton fabric for firefighter's garment [Textile Bioengineering and lnformatics Society]

Polyvinyl Alcohol-salt Hydrate Mixtures as Passive Thermal Energy Storage Systems [Energy Procedia]

Transient cooling effect analyses for a permanent-magnet synchronous motor with phase-change-material packaging [Applied Thermal Engineering]

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.

Research roundup: Refrigerated display cabinet; MA/HDPE composites with nano-additives; incinerator ash; more

Ben Welter - Sunday, July 31, 2016

The novel use of phase change materials in an open type refrigerated display cabinet: A theoretical investigation [Applied Energy]

Reducing cell-to-cell spacing for large-format lithium ion battery modules with aluminum or PCM heat sinks under failure conditions [Applied Energy]

Synthesis and thermal properties of the MA/HDPE composites with nano-additives as form-stable PCM with improved thermal conductivity [Applied Energy]

An experimental study of thermal management system using copper mesh-enhanced composite phase change materials for power battery pack [Energy]

Novel Multiphase Change Materials for Energy Storage Application in Buildings [14th International Energy Conversion Engineering Conference, Propulsion and Energy Forum]

MSWI bottom ash for thermal energy storage: An innovative and sustainable approach for its reutilization [Renewable Energy]

Response surface method optimization of V-shaped fin assisted latent heat thermal energy storage system during discharging process [Alexandria Engineering Journal]