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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 makers to discuss forming North American manufacturers association

Ben Welter - Friday, October 28, 2016

Makers of phase change materials will gather in Florida Dec. 4 to discuss the possibility of forming a North American PCM manufacturers association.

The discussion, led by Dr. Jan Kosny of the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems, will take place at the end of an all-day workshop on thermal mass. The workshop is part of the Buildings XIII Conference at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Clearwater Beach, Fla.

PCMs have been a focus of the workshop since it was first held in 2001. 

"Most of U.S. PCM manufacturers and companies producing PCM products for buildings participated in this workshop at least once," said Kosny, who leads building enclosure research at Fraunhofer CSE. "At some point we had a discussion about a creation of the PCM manufacturers’ association. Since this topic has been hanging in the air for at least a decade, this year I decided that it will be good to learn how much support there will be for this idea and who will be supporting this initiative. As usual, I am sending invitations to all major PCM companies in the U.S. and major U.S. building material manufacturers."

What are the greatest challenges facing North America’s PCM industry?

"The answer is application specific," Kosny explained. "PCM products are used by many different industries. However, the major problems which I would identify are: (i) high cost); (ii) flammability; (iii) long-term performance; (iv) durable packaging; (v) lack of material standards; (vi) lack of uniform performance criteria for PCM products used by specific industries, etc."

Entropy Solutions, Phase Change Energy Solutions, Applied Innovation Group and Cool Composites are among the companies planning to attend the workshop. Representatives of the U.S. General Services Administration, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Lodz University of Technology, Colorado School of Mines, Microtek Laboratories, Fraunhofer CSE and the Department of Energy's Building Technologies Office will give presentations on microencapsulation, macroencapsulation, performance modeling, testing methods, durability issues and more.   

"The attendees of this conference include the 'PCM who’s who' in academics, government and industry," said Dr. William R. Sutterlin, Entropy Solutions' chief science officer. "It will help shape the future of PCMs in buildings, modeling of PCM behavior, new developments and PCM testing methods."

The registration fee for the full conference, Dec. 4-8, is $695. One-day attendance is $295 and the cost for the workshop is $100. Registration deadline is Nov. 23.

http://www.cleantechnotes.org/2016/10/19/registration-open-for-thermal-mass-workshop-v-clearwater-beach-fl/ 

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: 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.

PCM briefing: CrodaTherm line qualifies for biobased product label; registration open for thermal energy conference in U.K.

Ben Welter - Tuesday, August 30, 2016

USDA Biobased Product labelCroda has earned the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Certified Biobased Product label for all six of its CrodaTherm phase change materials. Third-party verification administered through the USDA's Biopreferred Program is required to confirm a product's biobased content. Croda and Entropy Solutions are the only PCM makers to qualify for the label.  

• Refrigeration battery maker Axiom Exergy has posted openings for an electromechanical technician, a product engineer and a project manager at its facility in Richmond, Calif.

• Registration is open for the U.K.-focused Future Thermal Energy Conference at the University of Warwick, Coventry, England, Oct. 10-11. Topics include district heating networks, heat pumps, CHP, biomass and above- and below-ground thermal storage.

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: Sustainable manufacturing good for bottom line; Ice Bear among technologies highlighted at White House

Ben Welter - Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Adopting sustainable manufacturing processes can help companies boost their bottom line, improve their reputation and become more competitive, writes Doug Kramer, president and CEO of spray foam product maker Lapolla Industries

• The Global Cold Chain Forum is accepting nominations for the 2016 Cold Chain Excellence Awards. The four categories are Best Temperature Controlled Logistics Project; Most Innovative New Cold Chain Technology of the Year; Most Sustainable Temperature-Controlled Project; and Most Effective Risk Assessment, Evaluation & Mitigation for Transportation. Nominations are due by July 29, 2016.

Nike is teaming up with MIT's Climate CoLab to speed the development of innovative materials and shrink the company's supply-chain footprint.

Ice Energy's new Ice Bear residential cooling system was among the technologies highlighted at a White House summit on renewable energy and storage last week. 

• Puma's new PCM-infused jerseys made the wrong kind of impression at the European Championships this week. Four jerseys worn by Swiss players in a match against France tore apart when tugged on by opponents. Puma later apologized, blaming the problem on a bad batch of material damaged during production. It does not appear that the problem involved the phase change material used in strategically placed tape inside the jersey.

Pluss Advanced Technologies' Celsure cold chain shipper won the innovation of the year award at the Cold Chain Strategy Summit in Mumbai last week.

PCM 2016 conference papers available for download

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The International Institute of Refrigeration has posted more than two dozen papers presented at the PCM 2016 conference in Karlsruhe, Germany, earlier this month. The downloads are available for 15 euros each. A few highlights:

Passive cooling potential of two different PCM cooling ceilings in the energy efficiency center, (H. Weinlader, F. Klinker, M. Yasin)

"In the Energy Efficiency Center – the new R&D building of the ZAE Bayern - two different PCM cooling ceiling types are installed and monitored in two office rooms. The ceilings are connected to a water circuit and can be used for heating or cooling. The PCM ceilings are prototypes which differ in the positioning of the PCM layer: ceiling type 1 with the PCM on top of and ceiling type 2 with the PCM below the water pipes. It was found, that cooling ceiling type 2 had a better thermal connection between PCM and room, nevertheless, the passive cooling power of the two different system designs was quite similar when measured as a function of the room globe temperature."

Experimental analysis on a novel air heat exchanger containing PCM in a cold room, (B. Copertaro, R. Fioretti, P. Principi)

"An air heat exchanger consisting of aluminium containers with finned surface filled with PCM (5 °C melting temperature) was located near the evaporator of a cold room. The aims are to reduce cooling energy consumption and improving the maintenance thermal conditions of stored products. For this purpose, an experimental campaign was carried out and a monitoring system was developed. The cold room thermal behaviour, with and without PCM, was studied under steady state operating conditions. As expected a reduced number of on/off compressor cycles (6 cycles instead 13 cycles) in the PCM added cold room was observed. Test results showed that by storing PCM in the air heat exchanger, up to 16% of energy saving can be achieved."

Standardization of PCM characterization via DSC, (S. Gschwander, T. Haussmann, G. Hagelstein)

"This work investigates the influence of particle size on crystallization behaviour of microencapsulated and emulsified n-octadecane using differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and laser diffraction. Analyses of microcapsules show a stepwise decrease of nucleation temperature (from 26 °C to 14 °C) with decreasing particle size (from 300 μm to 3 μm). Further reduction of particle size in emulsions (< 0.2 μm) results in a slight decrease of nucleation temperature (<2 °K)."

Potential use of phase change materials in a display cabinet: development of a dynamic modeling approach, (H.M. Hoang, F. Raoult, D. Leducq)

"Different configurations (position of the PCM in the equipment) are simulated and discussed: after the evaporator and under shelf. At first, the modelling of a display cabinet in a transient state is developed based on a simplified heat transfer model using zonal approach. By combining it with a melting and freezing process of PCM units located inside the display cabinet, the effects of the PCM addition on air and food temperatures are simulated. Placing the PCM under shelves allows maintaining the product temperature during defrosting or electricity shortage."

A case study on the application of phase-change materials in buildings, (A. Hantsch)

"Energy storages employing the phase-change enthalpy of some material yield much larger energy densities than specific-heat-based systems. This case study is about the effect of phase-change materials on the heat and cooling load and annual energy demand for various scenarios. By means of a TRNSYS model it is possible to carry out energetic annual simulations. The results of this contribution allow giving advice for the design of new systems."

Experimentation for the evaluation of aluminum foams for improving heat transfer in PCM thermal storages, (R. Lazzarin, S. Mancin, M. Noro)

"This work investigates the use of Aluminum foams as heat transfer medium to improve the overall heat transfer of paraffin waxes that can be possible PCMs to be implemented in hybrid sensible-latent water TESs. The design of a new experimental testing rig is here presented together with some preliminary simulation results obtained during the phase change process of paraffin waxes with melting temperatures around 45 °C, with and without metal foams, in a water thermal storage unit." 

Latent heat storage with polyethylene enhanced with aluminum stripes, (T. Ozcan, E. Gukelberger, M. Kauffeld)

"Using a built prototype latent heat storage integrated into a solar air conditioning system at the Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning, and Environmental Engineering’s test facility loading and discharging tests were conducted to investigate the use of PCM materials in a heat exchanger of a solar system to support steam production in cloudy periods. The latent heat storage concept is designed for the temperature range to 130 °C."

Comparison of a single stage and a multistage latent heat storage for domestic hot water delivery, (J. Diriken, J. van Bael, F. Leemans)

"In this paper we assess the potential to use multiple PCM in combination with a compact heat exchanger for direct domestic hot water delivery purposes for e.g. district heating substations. The results of the measurements on a compact thermal energy storage device based on multiple phase change materials with different melting temperatures are compared to a geometrical identical system with a single PCM with one melting temperature." 

For a full list of papers, go to http://www.iifiir.org/ClientBookline/toolkit/p_requests/formulaire.asp?GRILLE=IIFRRECHFRIDOC&PORTAL_ID=portal_model_instance__fridoc_search.xml. Type Karlsruhe in the first search box, check "Conference papers" and type 2016 in the box next to "Year."

PCM briefing: Cold Chain Global forum agenda is set; deal reached on overhaul of TSCA

Ben Welter - Friday, May 20, 2016

The full agenda has been released for the 14th Cold Chain Global Forum to be held Sept. 26-30 in Boston. Sponsors and exhibitors include Pelican BioThermal, va-Q-tec AG, Cold Chain Technologies, American Aerogel, RGEES and Sonoco ThermoSafeFrank Butch, director of engineering at ThermoSafe, will lead a master class on temperature assurance packaging certification. Conference registration is open, with early bird rates available through June 3. [pdf]

• U.S. House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a bill overhauling the 40-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act. Under the compromise version, EPA regulations would pre-empt most new state regulations, although states could still enact measures such as monitoring and labeling of chemicals, the New York Times reports.

• In a piece on the importance of cocktail ice, Primer magazine offers a unique description of how water freezes and melts: "The two ideas that help us understand the changes in water jumping between a solid and liquid state are enthalpy and entropy. Which I like to oversimplify and think of as order and disorder, enthalpy being order and entropy being the little shit disturber that lets it all go to hell. Enthalpy wants to freeze your ice and entropy wants to melt it, neither one of them ever really completely win this battle but who reigns over the other at any given time is decided by temperature: If the temperature is at -5°C/23°F enthalpy has the upper hand, if it’s 20°C/60°F then it’s entropy’s ball game." 

PCM briefing: Renewables milestone in Portugal; PCM conference in Germany

Ben Welter - Friday, May 20, 2016

Portugal ran for a record four days straight on renewable energy alone last week. Solar, wind and hydro power typically account for about half of the country's electricity needs. Renewables provided only about 23 percent as recently as 2013, the Guardian reports. 

Puma women's Blaze golf shoePuma's new Blaze golf shoe for women features Outlast phase change technology to promote thermal comfort. 

• The PCM 2016 conference in Karlsruhe, Germany, drew more than 60 participants this week. In opening sessions, Drs. Thomas Johansson of the International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics and Hans-Martin Henning of Fraunhofer ISE touched on the importance of thermal storage for heating and cooling efficiency and a sustainable energy future. 

PCM briefing: Free webinar on industry disruption; how ice-making bacteria works

Ben Welter - Friday, May 13, 2016

Marija Jović, project manager and lead scientist at PreScouter Inc., will lead a webinar titled "How Phase Change Materials Are Disrupting Your Industry." The free event, set for 1-2 p.m. CDT on June 9, is aimed at leaders in a range of industries, from textiles and apparel to medicine and robotics. Illinois-based PreScouter provides corporate leaders with data and insights on which to base product development decisions.

Pharmaceutical Commerce's annual Cold Chain Sourcebook projects 52 percent growth in global cold chain market between 2014 and 2020.

Ben Singleton, business development manager at Pelican BioThermal, will be among the speakers at next week's Cold Chain & Product Handling: Temperature Controlled Logistics conference in Amsterdam. 

• Since the late 1980s, a company called Snowmax has supplied ski resorts with a bacteria-derived additive that makes snow production possible at higher temperatures. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, now say they've figured out how the ice-making bacteria works.