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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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Phase Change Matters briefing: Almac/QuickSTAT partnership; online LEED course; Tesla's net-zero Gigafactory

Ben Welter - Tuesday, November 17, 2015

• Pharma giant Almac is partnering with QuickSTAT on a program to improve turnaround times of phase change shippers and other vacuum insulated packaging systems. The program will be based at QuickSTAT's temperature-controlled facility near Belfast International Airport and 30 minutes from Almac headquarters in Craigavon, U.K.

T. Stern Sustainability of Seattle is offering an online course titled "LEED Economics: Costs, Benefits & Performance" through GreenCE. Topics include LEED rebates and low-cost LEED strategies. Cost: $19.

• More positive press for the Ice Bear thermal energy storage system, a piece on EcoFriend.org: "Solar powered air conditioning is the new hot thing."  

Tesla's chief technical officer, J.B. Straubel, says the company's planned Gigafactory in Nevada will produce as much renewable energy as it uses.

Entropy Solutions blog, newsletter win PR News awards

Ben Welter - Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Entropy Solutions, maker of PureTemp, the world’s first 100 percent renewable phase change material, has won first place in two categories – blog and e-mail newsletter – in the 2015 Digital PR Awards.

The national competition, sponsored by PR News, recognizes the year's most outstanding digital communicators and campaigns. Winners were announced Monday at the annual Digital PR Awards luncheon at the Yale Club in New York City.

The Phase Change Matters blog, launched in December 2014, tracks the latest news and research on phase change material and thermal energy storage. The blog has helped puretemp.com, Entropy Solutions’ website, more than double its traffic and dramatically improve its search engine visibility. Other finalists in the blog category included Coca-Cola, MasterCard, Polycom and Adobe Systems.

The first issue of Entropy Solutions’ weekly e-mail newsletter, also called Phase Change Matters, was distributed on Dec. 19, 2014, to 16 subscribers. The newsletter, the first of its kind in the industry, now has more than 650 subscribers and an open rate approaching 30 percent. Other finalists in the e-mail newsletter category were MasterCard, Global Hotel Alliance and 70kft.

Entropy Solutions won honorable mention in a third category, website redesign/relaunch. ESPN.com took first place in that category. Other finalists included Genentech (gene.com), Swirl (kingsford.com) and the Middle East Public Relations Association (mepra.org).

For a complete list of winners and more about the annual awards, see www.prnewsonline.com/awards/2015-digital-pr-winners.

Entropy Solutions adds PureTemp 7 to its line of biobased PCMs

Ben Welter - Friday, November 06, 2015

Entropy Solutions has added PureTemp 7 to its lineup of more than two dozen biobased, renewable phase change materials. With a melt point of 7º Celsius and a heat storage capacity of 185 joules per gram, PureTemp 7 is designed to fully solidify in a refrigerator, making it suitable for use in freezer-less settings. Potential applications include shipping, cold storage and air conditioning. PureTemp 7 will be available beginning in December 2015.

http://www.puretemp.com/stories/puretemp-7-tds

PureTemp among innovative products featured in Interior Design magazine

Ben Welter - Tuesday, October 27, 2015

PureTemp phase change materialPureTemp biobased phase change material, made by Entropy Solutions, is among seven innovative products featured in the October issue of Interior Design magazine.

Other products include Neucor molded composite panelsSuperFabric, a water-, puncture- and stain-resistant fabric coating made by Higher Dimension Materials; and mawata sheets made by Chul Thai Silk Co. The latter product is made by heat-pressing silkworm cocoon waste into sheets that are "soft, lustrous, colorfast, insulating, and impervious to fire and UV rays."

The materials are recent additions to the Materials ConneXion library in New York City. 

http://www.interiordesign.net/articles/detail/37170-7-new-materials-resist-heat-water-and-more/

High-tech clothier Ministry of Supply says profitability is on the horizon

Ben Welter - Friday, October 23, 2015

Ministry of Supply shirtMinistry of Supply, the Boston startup known for integrating phase change material in its high-tech menswear, plans to become profitable as soon as next year, the Boston Business Journal reports. The five-year-old company recently landed $1.5 million in additional funding from undisclosed investors, co-founder Kit Hickey said. Funding to date for the company now stands at more than $6 million.

http://upstart.bizjournals.com/companies/rebel-brands/2015/10/20/profitability-new-technology-in-the-works-for-this.html

Adjustable-temperature Ember mug features PCM, charging pad, bluetooth

Ben Welter - Thursday, October 22, 2015

Ember coffee mugAre you a demanding coffee drinker? You might be smitten by Ember Technologies' temperature-adjustable mug, now available for pre-order on Indiegogo. The Ember mug is packed with technical features designed to ensure that your coffee (or tea, or cocoa, or tomato bisque) stays at just the right temperature for hours:

  • "Space-grade" thermal insulation
  • Stainless-steel inner vessel
  • "Phase change cooling system"
  • Microprocessor-controlled heating system
  • High-capacity battery
  • Charging pad

You can control the temperature by twisting the base – or use the mobile app to remotely adjust the temperature, save presets for different drinks, name your mug and "select frequency and types of notifications." Not sure about that last bit. I get enough notifications as it is without adding the status of my beverage to the list.

All that technology doesn't come cheap. The 12-ounce mug is expected to retail for $149; you can order one now for $129. Estimated delivery: April 2016. In just two days, the Indiegogo campaign has raised $104,653, more than twice its goal.  

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ember-temperature-adjustable-mug#

ABM aims to cut energy, operating costs in Southern California federal buildings by $48M

Ben Welter - Friday, October 16, 2015

Facilities management provider ABM Industries has signed a contract with the U.S. General Services Administration to begin a second phase of energy and facility improvements to federal buildings in California, including the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building in Los Angeles, the U.S. Social Security Building in Huntington Park, the Ronald Reagan Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Santa Ana and the 300 North Los Angeles (NLA) Building. According to ABM:

"In all, ABM's Bundled Energy Solutions program guarantees savings of at least $48.4 million in energy and operating costs over the next 20 years through its innovative, long-term financing solution, reducing the buildings' energy use by 38 percent. ABM recently completed the first phase of the multi-million dollar contract for GSA which centered on retrofitting the central plant's HVAC system and upgrading building automation controls to regulate energy usage. This upgrade is expected to reduce energy consumption by 25 percent. The central plant is shared by the Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and the 300 NLA Building."

Conservation measures include LED lighting, transformer upgrades, solar window tinting and phase change technology that will help save energy by absorbing and releasing heat, offsetting heating and cooling loads in the NLA Building.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/abm-to-reduce-southern-california-federal-buildings-energy-and-operating-costs-by-nearly-50-million-2015-10-16

Sustainability firm's CEO spreads the word on PCMs

Ben Welter - Friday, October 16, 2015

Kristen VictorKristen Victor, the founder and CEO of a San Diego firm that advises commercial builders on sustainable technologies, is helping others understand how phase change materials can improve building performance. In an interview with the Union-Tribune, she describes how Sustainability Matters helped to develop passive cooling systems for a U.S. Olympic archery training center and a passive house in San Diego County:

"We worked to incorporate a new technology called BioPCM, a specially formulated material that is installed within the roof and exterior walls. BioPCM naturally absorbs excess heat during the day, stores it, and then releases it at night. This passive solution helps minimize the need for energy-intensive heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. As a result, the Easton Archery Center, located in Chula Vista, maintains an internal temperature of 75 degrees without the use of air-conditioning. ...

"Most of our solutions are applicable in both commercial and residential settings. Sustainability Matters recently teamed with Alliance Green Builders to build a passive house in North County called Casa Aguila. It's the most advanced home ever built in San Diego County. It features an onsite wastewater treatment system, BioPCM phase change material, a rainwater collection system, solar water heating and several other innovative systems and technologies."

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2015/oct/14/tp-one-on-one-with-kristen-victor-u-t-profiles/

Sand-based thermal energy storage system wins Australian grant

Ben Welter - Thursday, October 15, 2015

Latent Heat Storage has been awarded a $400,000 (AUD) grant from the Australian government to help launch its sand-based thermal energy storage system on the international market. The Adelaide-based company's system, based on the latent heat properties of silicon derived from sand, is designed to complement intermittent energy sources such as wind and solar.

According to a report in RenewEconomy, the system "can provide energy storage on an industrial scale, up to several hundred megawatt hours – enough to power around 7,000 homes for a day; and is also small enough to fit inside a 20-foot shipping container, making it suitable for both on- and off-grid applications."

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/adelaide-sand-based-energy-storage-system-wins-govt-grant-28439

Ice Energy to offer PV/TES system called 'Solar + Ice'

Ben Welter - Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Ice Energy plans to begin marketing "Solar + Ice," a combined photovoltaic and thermal energy storage system. 

The company's behind-the-meter Ice Bear system stores thermal energy in the form of ice at night, when demand for power is low. The combined system uses excess solar energy to create ice during the day, with the Ice Bear providing cooling in late afternoon and early evening hours as solar generation tapers off.

The Santa Barbara, Calif., company says it is partnering with leading solar companies such as NRG Energy on the new system. It will be available to utilities through long-term power purchase agreements that guarantee performance.

“Solar has proven itself to be a low-cost, reliable and green generation resource, but its intermittent nature has limited its value to the grid,” said CEO Mike Hopkins. “Until now, the missing piece has been cost-effective and reliable storage. Our new bundle solves the problem.”

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151014005148/en/Ice-Energy-Launches-Solar-Ice-Greenest-Cost-Effective