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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.




Draft agenda released for Cold Chain Global Forum in Boston

Ben Welter - Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A draft agenda has been released for the 14th Cold Chain Global Forum to be held Sept. 26-30 in Boston. The conference, touted as "the world's largest event for temperature-controlled life science supply chains," will feature more than 120 speakers, including:

Frank Butch, director of engineering at Sonoco ThermoSafe, will lead a master class on temperature assurance packaging certification.

Fabian Eschenbach, head of thermal packaging at Va-Q-Tec Ltd., will lead a workshop on packaging design essentials.

Jerry King, senior scientist at Farrar Scientific, will lead a workshop on the viability of a -80º C reusable phase change material.

Kevin O’Donnell, vice president of cold chain standards, practices and compliance at BioLife Solutions, will lead a session on maximizing the value of sensor-based shipments.

Registration is open, with early bird rates available through June 3.

PCM briefing: Encapsulation conference in Scotland June 10; Pluss R&D manager on list of Innovators Under 35

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 22, 2016

• The Royal Society of Chemistry's Formulation Science and Technology group will hold its second Innovations in Encapsulation conference on June 10 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Speakers include Paula Felix De Castro and Dmitry G. Shchukin of Liverpool University. They will present their work on encapsulation of docosane into polyurethane microcapsules as phase change material for thermal energy storage.

Nidhi Agrawal, assistant R&D manager at Pluss Advanced Technologies, is among eight people named to the India edition of MIT Technology Review's 2015 list of Innovators Under 35. Agrawal, 32, has led the development of several phase change materials, including form-stable materials.

The Los Angeles Times takes a look at SolarReserve's Crescent Dunes solar power plant, a 110-megawatt facility with enough molten salt storage to power 75,000 homes for up to 10 hours with zero sunshine.

• New from QYResearch Group: "Europe Phase Change Materials Industry 2016 Market Research Report"

Agenda set for next week's Energy Storage Europe conference in Germany

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Next week's Energy Storage Europe conference and expo in Dusseldorf, Germany, includes a number of sessions on thermal energy storage:

• "Integrated Thermal and Electric Storage at the District Scale," James Bererton of Integral Group 

• "Potentials for Thermal Storage Solutions," Glen Dimplex 

• "Spatial Distribution and Operator-Dependent Management of Thermal and Electrical Energy Storage Systems in Residential Areas," Andreas Bachmaier, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems 

• "Operational Results of a Combined Thermal Energy Storage with Electricity Generation System," Gu╠łnter Schneider, STORASOL GmbH 

• "Top-down and Bottom-up Analysis of the Economics of Thermal Energy Storage," Christoph Rathgeber, ZAE Bayern 

• "Characterization and Enhancement of Phase Change Slurries," Sophia Niedermaier, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems 

• "Use of an undercooled phase-change material heat storage system for seasonal use," Dr. Hermann Schranzhofer, Institute for Heating Technology, Graz University of Technology

PCM briefing: Labs open doors to young people; chemical regulations conference releases agenda

Ben Welter - Wednesday, March 02, 2016

• More than 50 national labs in the United States are opening their doors this week to about 5,000 elementary, middle and high school students. It's part of President Obama's effort to spark interest among young people in science, technology, engineering and math.

• The agenda has been set for this year's Global Chemical Regulations Conference in Washington, D.C., March 22-24. Among the topics: Toxic Substances Control Act reform and Global Harmonized Standards enforcement.

• Forty-five companies, universities and research organizations backed by ARPA-E have secured more than $1.25 billion in private-sector follow-on funding. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which is working on metallic composite phase change materials for high-temperature thermal energy storage, is among those receiving private-sector money.

PCM briefing: Nevada CSP plant ready for commercial operation; Sonoco again makes list of most-admired companies

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 25, 2016

SolarReserve’s Crescent Dunes solar tower with molten salt thermal storage has successfully generated electricity at its full 110 MW capacity. Over the next 12 months, the concentrated solar project will gradually ramp up to full commercial operation under its 25-year power purchase agreement with NV Energy, supplying electricity to Las Vegas and other parts of Nevada. Related: SolarReserve has submitted a plan to build a 110MW solar tower and thermal storage plant in South Australia.

Ares 1 helmet • Ares A1, Steelbird's new line of helmets for India's growing motorcycle market, uses phase change material to manage thermal comfort.

Packaging giant Sonoco has again made Fortune magazine's list of most-admired companies. Apple tops this list. 

Peli BioThermal officially unveiled its new European Service Center today in Leighton Buzzard, England. The company's re-usable thermal protection packaging systems, including the new Credo Cargo, will be reconditioned at the center.

• A new report from Stratistics MRC projects that the global market for thermal interface materials, which stood at $570 million in 2015, will reach $1.2 billion by 2022. 

At the CERAWeek conference in Houston this week, Dow Chairman and CEO Andrew Liveris said chemical firms must “manage the short term with a maniacal focus on productivity,” while still focusing on long-term strategies. He said the soon-to-merge Dow Chemical and DuPont plastics giants had each grown too large and sprawling.

PCM briefing: A new resource for green building professionals; a fresh look at green building trends

Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The American Chemistry Council has launched to provide architects, material specifiers, interior designers and others with tools and information about green building codes, standards and material selection.

• A report projects strong growth for the green building market globally, but finds that the United States lags in measuring the benefits. "World Green Building Trends 2016," produced by Dodge Data & Analytics with support from United Technologies Corp., the U.S. Green Building Council and others, is based on a 2015 survey of more than 1,000 architects, engineers, contractors, owners and consultants from 69 countries. 

• The agenda for the 14th GDP & Temperature Management Logistics Summit - Canada, Feb. 29-March 3 in Toronto, is available for download at Sonoco ThermoSafe, va-Q-tec, Pelican BioThermal and Cryopak are among the sponsors. [pdf]

• A new study by the Brattle Group makes the case for tapping the thermal energy of electric water heaters in more than 50 million U.S. homes. The use of water heaters as thermal batteries could save consumers money, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, better manage electricity from renewable sources and help grid operators regulate voltage and frequency. [pdf]

• PureTemp phase change material, made by Entropy Solutions, has been selected for display at matériO showrooms in Paris, Seoul and Shanghai. The materials library, based in France, lists more than 7,400 "cutting edge" materials and technologies in its database. The Seoul and Shanghai showrooms are scheduled to open in June.

46 papers to be presented this week at Innostorage PCM/TES conference

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The 2016 Innostorage conference is underway at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel this week. Innostorage is an international research project aimed at developing efficient thermal energy storage systems using low-cost phase change materials. Forty-six papers are being presented, including:

• A review of the connection between material property and performance of PCM in real scale applications (Harald Mehling, Camila Barreneche, Aran Solé, Luisa F. Cabeza)

• Implementation and comparison of three enthalpy methods for modelling solid-liquid phase change in OpenFOAM (Andreas König-Haagen, Erwin Franquet, Eric Pernot, Dieter Brüggemann)

• One-dimensional analytical model of PCM melting (Vadim Dubovsky, Gennady Ziskind, Ruth Letan)

• Fast thermal energy storage using open-cell aluminum foam (Henk Huisseune, Ben D’Haeger, Michel De Paepe)

• Novel microencapsulated phase change material for thermal energy storage in building applications (Halime Paksoy, Beyza Beyhan, Kemal Cellat)

• Design evaluation and improvements of a latent heat based thermal energy storage system (Pepe Tan, Pär Johansson, Angela Sasic Kalagasidis)

• Acceptable and realised storage capacity costs of thermal energy storages (Christoph Rathgeber, Stefan Hiebler, Eberhard Lävemann, Andreas Hauer) [pdf]

PCM briefing: A bioplastics breakthrough from DuPont/ADM; a revamped bedding line from Tempur-Pedic

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 26, 2016

CleanTechnica takes a look at the DuPont-ADM "breakthrough" process for producing a high-performance, 100 percent biodegradable bioplastic. The companies' first project will use furan dicarboxylic methyl ester to produce polytrimethylene furandicarboxylate, which ADM says outperforms petroleum-based polymers in extending beverage shelf life.

•  Tempur-Pedic has revamped its Breeze line of cooler-sleep beds, fusing phase change material in the top Tempur foam layer to deliver “a significantly improved cooling effect,” the company said.

Composite sandwich panels containing phase change material are among 20 smart materials and structures identified by a European Union study with possible applications in the shipbuilding industry. The panels would minimize heat transfer and lower cooling costs on refrigerated cargo ships.  

• Sonoco ThermoSafe, Pluss Advanced Technologies, va-Q-tec AG, Peli BioThermal, Cryopak, AAR Cold Chain Solutions and Croda are among the companies exhibiting PCM-related products at the 15th annual Temperature Controlled Logistics Europe conference in Frankfurt, Germany, this week. 

PCM briefing: Tight market for oilseeds; ASHRAE course on thermal energy storage

Ben Welter - Friday, January 22, 2016

Thomas Mielke, editor-in-chief of Oil World, expects that, with the exception of soybeans, world supplies of oilseeds will be tight this year. He'll present his global outlook at the second annual Oilseed Congress Europe/MENA Feb. 9-10 in Barcelona, Spain.  

CALMAC CEO Mark MacCracken will help lead a course on thermal energy storage at the 2016 ASHRAE Winter Conference in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday.

Monodraught Ltd.'s Colin Haworth will be among the presenters at a one-day conference at Arup headquarters in London on Feb. 10. The topic: energy reduction solutions.

PCM briefing: California leads U.S. in net-zero buildings; Ice Energy CEO among speakers at green conference

Ben Welter - Thursday, January 14, 2016

Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins and renowned architect Frank Gehry are among the speakers at the VerdeXchange green economy conference Jan. 24-26 in Los Angeles.

California is home to almost half of all the net-zero buildings in the United States, according to a new survey from the Net-Zero Energy Coalition. Sacramento is first among U.S. cities, with more than 925 zero-energy housing units and 800 more planned. 

MIT researchers have developed a new material that can store solar energy during the day and release it later as heat on demand. The transparent polymer film could be applied to window glass, clothing or other surfaces.

• New from Grand View Research: "Fatty Acid Ester Market Analysis By Product (Medium Chain Triglycerides, Glyceryl Monostearate, Isopropyl Esters), By Application (Personal Care & Cosmetics, Lubricants, Food Processing, Surfactants & Detergents, Pharmaceuticals) and Segment Forecasts To 2022"

A housing development in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is said to be the first in the world to run on solar-powered hydrogen energy storage.