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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 monthly PCM newsletter. Or join the discussion on LinkedIn.

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Embrace co-founder makes MIT's list of '35 Innovators Under 35'

Ben Welter - Monday, August 24, 2015

MIT Technology Review has named Rahul Panicker one of 2015's "35 Innovators under 35." Panicker and three Stanford University classmates created the low-cost Embrace infant warmer and brought it to market. Panicker, co-founder and president of products at Embrace Innovations in Bangalore, India, explains how in an interview with the magazine: 

Rahul Panicker"[W]e came up with a prototype incubator that costs 1 percent as much as traditional solutions and can be operated by a non-expert. It uses phase change materials to keep babies at the ideal temperature of 37° C for up to six hours without electricity. When heated with hot water or another source, a phase change material melts, and it can release heat the baby needs at a constant temperature.

“NGOs we’d partnered with passed on the design. We realized if we didn’t take this forward, no one else would. After a year of working on the project in my free time, we finally had our seed capital, and in 2009 I quit my job, moved to Bangalore with my three cofounders, and started Embrace. Since then our warmers have been used in 15 countries to help nearly 200,000 babies. We’ve implemented a hybrid for-profit/not-for-profit business model that lets us scale much faster than a charity."

In an interview this month with the Economic Times, Panicker described startup companies in his native India as lacking "big visionary thinking":

"Most innovations I see in the startup world or industrial research labs in India are product innovations, incremental innovations, or business-model innovations. I know of few examples of fundamental technological innovations. But I am hopeful it will happen as the tech-driven economy around us develops."

http://www.technologyreview.com/lists/innovators-under-35/2015/humanitarian/rahul-panicker/

http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/opinion/interviews/indian-startups-lack-vision-and-will-to-tackle-big-problems-rahul-alex-panicker/articleshow/48638277.cms


Research roundup: Mmmm, peppermint-scented PCM; DSC test errors; PCM-bearing facades; hard resin capsules; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Preparation, Properties, and Supercooling Prevention of Phase Change Material n-Octadecane Microcapsules with Peppermint Fragrance Scent [Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research]

DSC test error of phase change material (PCM) and its influence on the simulation of the PCM floor [Renewable Energy]

Energy Efficiency Indicators for Assessing Construction Systems Storing Renewable Energy: Application to Phase Change Material-Bearing Façades [Energies]

Performance enhancement of hermetic compressor using phase change materials [Materials Science and Engineering]

Cooling Capacity Figure of Merit for Phase Change Materials [Journal of Heat Transfer]

Encapsulation of hydrophobic ingredients in hard resin capsules with ultrahigh efficiency using a superoleophobic material [Polymer Bulletin]

Low-Cost Phase Change Material for Building Envelopes [SciTech Connect]

Research roundup: New device for characterizing PCMs; graphene paraffin nanocomposites; kaolinite-stabilized PCMs; more

Ben Welter - Friday, August 14, 2015

A new experimental device and inverse method to characterize thermal properties of composite phase change materials [Composite Structures]

Thermal properties measurement and heat storage analysis of paraffin-nanoparticles composites phase change material: comparison and optimization [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Molecular-dynamics calculation of the thermal conduction in phase change materials of graphene paraffin nanocomposites [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Kaolinite stabilized paraffin composite phase change materials for thermal energy storage [Applied Clay Science]

Energy efficient bio-based PCM with silica fume composites to apply in concrete for energy saving in buildings [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Research roundup: Fatty acid/surfactant slurries; optimizing PCM thermal energy storage; open thermosyphon; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Fatty acid/surfactant research illustration• Thermophysical Properties of Some Fatty Acids/Surfactants as Phase Change Slurries for Thermal Energy Storage [Journal of Chemical and Engineering Data]

• Optimal operation of phase-change thermal energy storage for a commercial building [American Control Conference]

Influence of accelerated thermal charging and discharging cycles on thermo-physical properties of organic phase change materials for solar thermal energy storage applications [Energy Conversion and Management]

Numerical and experimental studies on heat transfer characteristics of thermal energy storage system packed with molten salt PCM capsules [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Heat transfer and thermal storage performance of an open thermosyphon type thermal storage unit with tubular phase change material canisters [Energy Conversion and Management]

Effect of surface active agent on thermal properties of carbonate salt/carbon nanomaterial composite phase change material [Applied Energy]

Copolymer-bound phase change materials for household refrigerating appliances: Experimental investigation of power consumption, temperature distribution and demand side management potential [International Journal of Refrigeration]

Comprehensive parametric study of using carbon foam structures saturated with PCMs in thermal management of electronic systems [Energy Conversion and Management]

Multi-objective geometric optimization of a PCM based matrix type composite heat sink [Applied Energy]

Patent application: Insulated chamber with phase change material

Ben Welter - Friday, July 24, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150204601 (applicant Caron Products and Services Inc., Ohio):

Patent application: Chamber with PCM"An insulated chamber having an interior chamber for storing items therein includes a phase change material to facilitate controlling the temperature of the interior chamber and the items. A heating device or cooling device may be used to melt or freeze the phase change material, which may be in various locations such as the walls of the chamber or packets which may serve as shelves and may be removable from the interior chamber with the items thereon. The packets may have recesses for receiving the items. The phase change material may be within capsules which may be within a liquid or a solid matrix. Controls may be provided to control humidity and carbon dioxide within the interior chamber."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150204601.pdf

Patent application: Phase change materials for refrigeration and ice making

Ben Welter - Friday, July 17, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150198359 (assignee Whirlpool Corp.): 

Image from Whirlpool patent application "A bottom mount refrigerator is provided including a thermal battery or phase change material positioned within the refrigerator or freezer in order to increase energy efficiency and compartment sizes of the refrigerator. The thermal battery can be used with an ice maker to aid in removing heat from the water in the ice maker to produce ice. Furthermore, the phase change material or thermal battery may be used with a thermoelectric cooler to aid in ice production.

"The phase change material may be tuned to various temperatures according to the desired use of the phase change material, as well as the location of the thermal battery or phase change material. Other embodiments include positioning the phase change material in the liner of the compartments or in thermal storage units in order to further increase the energy efficiency of the refrigerator."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150198359.pdf

Research roundup: PCM performance in building components; heat sink optimization; integrated TES systems; more

Ben Welter - Monday, July 13, 2015

Experimental Thermal Performance Analysis of Building Components Containing Phase Change Material (PCM) [Procedia Engineering]

A numerical method for PCM-based pin fin heat sinks optimization [Energy Conversion and Management]

Thermal energy storage in building integrated thermal systems: A review. Part 2. Integration as passive system [Renewable Energy]

Thermal properties of shape-stabilized phase change materials using fatty acid ester and exfoliated graphite nanoplatelets for saving energy in buildings [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Thermal conductivity measurement of thermochemical storage materials [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Research roundup: Encapsulation techniques; personal cooling system; adiabatic compressed air energy storage; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Encapsulation techniques for organic phase change materials as thermal energy storage medium: A review [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

A novel personal cooling system (PCS) incorporated with phase change materials (PCMs) and ventilation fans: An investigation on its cooling efficiency [Journal of Thermal Biology]

Adiabatic compressed air energy storage with packed bed thermal energy storage [Applied Energy]

On the Feasibility of Providing Power System Spinning Reserves from Thermal Storage [Energy and Buildings]

Performance Analysis of Thermal Energy Storage Prototype in Thailand [pdf] [Journal of Clean Energy Technologies]

STIG cycle graphic Performance of the solar hybrid STIG cycle with latent heat storage [Applied Energy]

Shape-stabilized phase change materials based on poly(ethylene-graft-maleic anhydride)-g-alkyl alcohol comb-like polymers [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Applications of organic phase change materials embedded in adsorbents for controlling heat produced by charging and discharging natural gas [Adsorption]

Development and stress behaviour of an innovative refrigerated container with PCM for fresh and frozen goods [Multidiscipline Modeling in Materials and Structures]

Research roundup: Galactitol-mannitol mix; palmitic acid copolymers; biomedical applications; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Cyclic stability of the eutectic mixture of galactitol and D-mannitolA eutectic mixture of galactitol and mannitol as a phase change material for latent heat storage [Energy Conversion and Management]

A Novel Solid-Solid Phase Change Material Based on Poly(styrene-co-acrylonitrile) Grafting With Palmitic Acid Copolymers [Journal of Macromolecular Science]

Development of thermal energy storage materials for biomedical applications [Journal of Medical Engineering & Technology]

Economic top-down evaluation of the costs of energy storages—A simple economic truth in two equations [Journal of Energy Storage]

Preparation of Erythritol-Graphite Foam Phase Change Composite with Enhanced Thermal Conductivity for Thermal Energy Storage Applications [Carbon]

Solar Water Distillation Using Energy Storage Material [Procedia Earth and Planetary Science]

A Review on Solar Water Distillation Using Sensible and Latent Heat [Procedia Earth and Planetary Science]

Sonoco ThermoSafe's new Via Blood Transporter features PureTemp PCM

Ben Welter - Friday, June 19, 2015

Sonoco ThermoSafe has introduced a new reusable container for the transport and temporary storage of red blood cells and platelets. 

Via Blood TransporterThe Via Blood Transporter maintains red blood cells at 1-6° Celsius for eight hours during transport and 1-10° C for the temporary storage of blood product for a minimum of 12 hours. The container is made of expanded polypropylene and features PureTemp biobased phase change material.

“The Via Blood Transporter was designed in accordance with blood bank user feedback,” said Marianne Hoonakker-Kelly, Sonoco ThermoSafe business development and market manager.  “Unique and innovative features such as the front platelet pouch and affixed assembly instructions not only promote compliance, transport efficiencies and minimized risk of loss due to mishandling – they ultimately promote patient safety. Given the cost pressures applied to health care systems, products like the Via Blood Transporter are critical as they ensure recommended temperature protection while preventing the waste and loss of valuable blood product.”

https://www.thermosafe.com/blog/sonoco-thermosafe-launches-reusable-container-blood-transport-storage/