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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: Outlast introduces Xelerate fabric; Warmilu signs 2 distributors

Ben Welter - Friday, May 19, 2017

Drawing of Outlast Xelerate

Outlast Europe's Martin Bentz spoke with T.EVO magazine this month about the company's new Xelerate fabric. The fabric, introduced at a German trade fair earlier this year, incorporates "heat spreader" technology, a process traditionally known for cooling electronic devices. Xelerate fabric features improved thermal conductivity, Bentz said, and is suitable for home textiles, sportswear and protective gear. In an email exchange with Phase Change Matters, Bentz declined to discuss specific partners or customers.

Warmilu, maker of the IncuBlanket infant warmer, reports that is on track for $300,000 in total 2017 sales after signing two distributors for Latin America, Africa and Southeast Asia: Relief for Africa Foundation and Maternova. The IncuBlanket, which has been successfully tested in clinical trials in India, uses packs filled with sodium acetate trihydrate to keep infants warm for up to five hours. CEO Grace Hsia says the device recently cleared its first regulatory filing with Kenya's Pharmacy and Poisons Board.

Axiom Exergy has won a Gold Stevie for Energy Innovation in the 15th annual American Business Awards. Axiom's "refrigeration battery" enables supermarkets and food warehouses to store thermal energy at night when power is cheaper. The system, which uses salt-based phase change material, reduces peak power usage by up to 40 percent.

• Registration is open for IFAI's Expo 2017, set for Sept. 27-29 in New Orleans. The Industrial Fabrics Association International show will feature sessions on smart fabrics, military procurement, biomimesis and green certification.   

Pelican BioThermal has introduced a new Series 22 Universal system for its Credo brand of shippers. The system uses a dual PCM coolant system designed to be operational throughout the year.

National Law Review offers a fresh overview of green chemistry laws across the United States. "State chemical control regimes," the authors conclude, "are likely to increase cost and foster confusion about chemical safety, which is one reason that Congress agreed to modernize TSCA by adopting LCSA."

Monodraught's Cool-phase ventilation and cooling system was among the finalists honored at the National CSR Awards in London this week. The hybrid system, which won a "One to Watch" award, uses PCMs to store and release thermal energy, providing a free cooling load and reducing energy and maintenance costs.

• The agenda has been released for the 15th Cold Chain Global Forum to be held Sept. 25-29 in Chicago. Frank Butch, director of engineering at Sonoco ThermoSafe, will lead a master class on temperature assurance packaging certification.

Bloomberg BNA is offering a free webinar June 12: "Reviewing New Chemicals under Amended TSCA: Impact on Innovation." 

Outlast Europe's Martin Bentz spoke with T.EVO magazine this month about the company's new Xelerate fabric (shown below). The fabric, introduced at a German trade fair earlier this year, incorporates "heat spreader" technology, a process traditionally known for cooling electronic devices. Xelerate fabric features improved thermal conductivity, Bentz said, and is suitable for home textiles, sportswear and protective gear. In an email exchange with Phase Change Matters, Bentz declined to discuss specific partners or customers.

PCM-based system cuts energy use by 27% in frozen-foods warehouse

Ben Welter - Monday, April 24, 2017

Viking Cold Solutions systemFrozen Gourmet Inc., a wholesale distributor of premium ice cream and other frozen foods, says a PCM-based thermal battery system has cut energy consumption by more than 27 percent in the company’s freezer warehouse in Redding, Calif.

The Viking Cold Solutions system, installed at the end of 2016, features hundreds of plastic bottles filled with a salt hydrate solution. The bottles are suspended from the ceiling of the 7,900-square-foot warehouse. The phase change material solidifies when the warehouse chillers are running. The PCM absorbs heat as it melts, allowing the chillers to run less frequently and still keep the warehouse within a few degrees of the target temperature, -14º Celsius. 

Shifting demand to off-peak hours can result in significant savings on electricity in California, where daytime demand charges are common. The Viking system also includes intelligent controls and sensors to optimize energy use and alert managers to temperature abnormalities, equipment failure and power outages.

"We searched for a year to find the right technology to reduce our energy costs and decided to purchase the Viking Cold TES system after seeing the capability and flexibility the system provides," said Bill Kohn, CEO of Frozen Gourmet. "The reduction in energy consumption has improved our bottom line and the real-time monitoring has been invaluable in helping us recognize and address equipment issues before expensive problems arise."


Patent application: Multizone recreational cooler with phase change material

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 20, 2017

Viking Cold Solutions patent drawingU.S. patent application 20170108260 (applicant Viking Cold Solutions, Houston, Texas):

"A cooler includes a body. The cooler also includes a divider that divides an interior of the body into a first zone and a second zone. A first phase change material module is disposed in the first zone of the interior of the body and a second phase change material module is disposed in the second zone of the interior of the body."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170108260.pdf

Patent application: Thermal management system with PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 09, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170067693 (General Electric Co., Schenectady, N.Y.):

GE patent drawing"A thermal management system including a first vapor housing configured to receive a fluid that absorbs thermal energy from a first heat source, and a phase change material (PCM) housing thermally coupled to the first vapor housing, wherein the PCM housing is configured to receive a PCM that absorbs thermal energy from the first vapor housing, wherein the first vapor housing and the PCM housing are one-piece. ... As illustrated, the vascular network includes a plurality of conduits or passageways [52] that may vary in size, length, orientation, etc. throughout the PCM housing [30]. "

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170067693.pdf

Ice Energy developing line of ice batteries for commercial refrigeration

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Ice Energy plans to introduce a line of ice-based thermal energy storage systems for the commercial refrigeration market. The new Polar Bear line, under development at the company’s IdeaLAB in Riverside, Calif., is designed for supermarkets and the general commercial refrigeration market.

A variety of Polar Bear models will support a range of storage capacities and application needs. They are expected to be available by the end of this year. No word yet on pricing.

The company says the systems will enable businesses with large refrigeration-based energy loads to reduce their peak electricity demand by up to 95 percent, shifting six hours of a building's refrigeration-based peak load to cheaper off-peak hours. 

“The Polar Bear ice battery will seamlessly integrate with existing supermarket or commercial refrigeration systems,” the company said in a press release. “It will also provide a smart-grid controller to monitor energy use and control performance.”

Axiom Exergy and Viking Cold Solutions also offer load-shifting systems for the large-scale refrigeration market. Axiom, of Richmond, Calif., says its saltwater-based “refrigeration battery” can save customers up to 40 percent in energy use during peak hours. Viking, of Houston, Texas, has reported that its PCM-based technology showed reductions in electricity consumption of 30 percent and 39 percent in two low-temperature cold storage facilities in the San Diego area.

http://www.marketwired.com/press-release/ice-energy-extends-award-winning-multi-patented-ice-battery-technology-commercial-refrigeration-2195752.htm

Patent application: Refrigeration system with PCM heat exchanger

Ben Welter - Friday, February 24, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170051954 (applicant Coca-Cola Co., Atlanta, Georgia):

Coca-Cola patent drawing"The present application provides a refrigeration system. The refrigeration system may include a compressor and a condenser downstream of the compressor. The condenser may include a refrigerant tube (550), an outer jacket (510) surrounding the refrigerant tube, and a phase change material positioned between the refrigerant tube and the outer jacket and in contact with the refrigerant tube. ... The phase change material heat exchanger (500) may include a heat source, a phase change material surrounding the heat source in whole or in part, and an outer jacket surrounding the phase change material. The phase change material removes heat when the heat source is on by melting and releases heat to the ambient when the heat source is off by solidifying." 

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170051954.pdf

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.

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]

Axiom to install $5 million worth of refrigerator battery systems in NYC

Ben Welter - Friday, September 09, 2016

Axiom Exergy is set to install $5 million worth of refrigerator battery systems in supermarkets and other cold storage facilities in Brooklyn and Queens, New York.

Axiom's refrigeration battery system is designed to reduce a supermarket's peak power use by up to 40 percent and provide backup cooling during power outages. It uses the excess capacity of a customer's existing refrigeration system to "store cooling" at night by freezing a tank of salt water. The frozen tanks supply refrigeration to the building during peak afternoon hours, eliminating the need to run energy-intensive compressors and condensers.

The businesses are eligible for incentives under Consolidated Edison's Neighborhood Program.

"We're thrilled to see that Con Edison is taking an innovative approach to help address surging power demand on its grid by working with grocery store and cold storage facility owners to reduce their energy bills and enhance their razor-thin profit margins," said Amrit Robbins, Axiom president. "By deploying refrigeration battery systems, these locations can convert power-hungry refrigeration systems into intelligent 'batteries' that can respond dynamically to the needs of the facility and the grid operator, taking into account energy prices, weather patterns, and grid programs like demand response."

http://fortune.com/2016/09/06/new-york-ice-batteries/

PCM briefing: Viking touts hybrid cooling system in Australia; thermodynamic law takes a hit in Japan

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 01, 2016

Viking Cold Solutions of Houston introduced its hybrid cooling system at an industry conference in Australia this week. The system, which combines rooftop photovoltaic panels and PCM-based thermal energy storage, is designed to reduce energy costs at supermarkets and cold storage facilities. 

Phase Change Energy Solutions, BASF Education Lab and CALMAC are among the exhibitors scheduled to attend the Greenbuild conference and expo Oct. 5-7 in Los Angeles.

Chart showing 4 phases of substance coexisting at thermal equilibrium• In research that appears to conflict with thermodynamic law, scientists at the University of Tokyo have run simulations showing that four phases of a substance can coexist at thermal equilibrium, where all parts are at the same temperature and pressure. The research "may prove useful in the development of functional phase change materials," according to a university news release, "as it demonstrates that multiple phase transformation can be induced through weak disturbance (perturbation) near the quadruple point."

Emerson is expanding its cold chain presence with the acquisition of two temperature-monitoring companies: Locus Traxx of Jupiter, Fla., and PakSense of Boise, Idaho. Terms were not disclosed.

Ravi Teja, an R&D associate specializing in phase change materials at Pluss Advanced Technologies in India, is a finalist for the Energy Institute's Young Energy Professional of the Year award.