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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.




Registration open for Bio-Based and Sustainable Products Summit in January

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 05, 2015

Registration has opened for the 7th annual Bio-Based and Sustainable Products Summit, which will be held Jan. 13-14, 2016, in San Diego, Calif. 

The summit brings together manufacturers, retailers, financiers and policymakers with experts in the biochemical, biofuel, bioplastic, petrochemical and oleochemical fields to "learn, network and respond to growing consumer demand for safer and greener products."

Panel discussion topics include biobased and sustainable feedstocks; crude oil price projections and their impact on the renewable chemical industry; what to look for in strategic partners; how to attract private equity; and joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions as paths to commercialization. 

The deadline for a refundable "early bird" rate of $1,495 is Dec. 4, 2015.

ThermoSafe PCM experts to lead cold chain forum workshop

Ben Welter - Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Two PCM experts from Sonoco ThermoSafe – Ken Maltas, director of engineering, and Iftekhar Ahmed, senior design engineer – are among the workshop leaders at next week's Cold Chain GDP & Temperature Management Logistics Global Forum in Boston.

Maltas and Ahmed will lead a Tuesday morning session, "Creating a Risk Model for the Development of Passive Shipping Systems: Linking Control and Risk to Total Cost." On Wednesday morning, Sonoco's Ben VanderPlas and Cardinal Health's Chris Anderson will present "Blue is the New Green," a case study on the development of sustainable, affordable and operationally efficient packaging solutions.

Other workshop, training and presentation topics include temperature-controlled clinical trial materials, regulatory guidance, risk-reduction strategies, common shipping problems, data integrity, minimizing the impact of harsh winters and the freezing and preparation of phase change materials.   

Forum sponsors and exhibitors include AAR Cold Chain Solutions, Cold Chain Technologies, Cryopak, EFP Corp., Packaging Technology Group, Pelican BioThermal, Pluss Advanced Technologies and va-Q-tec AG.

Registration open for 2016 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 17, 2015

Registration for the 2016 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit is now open. The summit, which is aimed at moving transformational energy technologies out of the lab and into the marketplace, will be held Feb. 29-March 2 at the Gaylord Convention Center outside Washington, D.C.

More than 2,100 people attended the 2015 summit. Next year's showcase participants include Argonne National Laboratory, BASF, the Electric Power Research Institute and the National Renewable Energy Lab.

District cooling industry faces 'danger of stagnation'

Ben Welter - Monday, August 17, 2015

George Berbari, CEO at DC Pro Engineering in the United Arab Emirates, warns that district cooling technology is advancing at a much slower rate than competing HVAC applications and faces the "danger of stagnation." 

George BerbariBerbari, co-chair of the 2015 Middle East District Cooling Summit, said "newer and ultra-efficient HVAC systems pose a threat to district cooling in terms of better efficiency." He endorsed tri-generation district cooling – the simultaneous generation of electricity, heating and cooling from renewable resources – as a way forward for the industry.  

The summit will be held Nov. 10-11 in Doha, Qatar. The theme is "The Future of Renewable in the District Cooling Sector - Feasibility and Cost Implications." Topics include thermal energy storage and energy efficiency; sustainability and the environment; treated sewage water vs. seawater for cooling; delta T optimization; and, of course, tri-generation systems. ....

Behind-the-meter storage is among the topics at Energy Storage Summit

Ben Welter - Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The U.S. Energy Storage Summit's 2015 agenda is taking shape. The first day includes a morning session on the future of behind-the-meter storage in California: 

"California has emerged as the largest behind-the-meter storage market due to renewable energy growth, high electricity prices, state mandate, and the Self Generation Incentive Program. Southern California Edison's procurement decision of 150 megawatts behind-the-meter storage for its Local Capacity Requirement has been the first on at that scale by a utility."

An afternoon session will focus on deferral and capacity benefits. Greg Miller, Ice Energy's executive vice president of sales and market development, is on the panel.

The conference will be held Dec. 8-9 in San Francisco. Registration is open.

N.Y. conference on renewable energy set for Sept. 24-25

Ben Welter - Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Registration is open for the REV4NY conference and expo in New York City Sept. 24-25. 

"Reforming the Energy Vision" – REV – is New York State's effort to pave the way for utilities, homeowners and businesses to adopt renewable energy technology more easily.

The conference agenda and list of speakers are still in flux, but Day 1 includes a session on integrating behind-the-meter storage with solar, EV and other technologies. Networking sessions and opportunities to explore partnerships are also on the agenda.

PCM refrigeration conference set for May 2016

Ben Welter - Thursday, July 16, 2015

An international conference on phase change materials and slurries for refrigeration and air conditioning is set for May 18-20, 2016, in Karlsruhe, Germany. 

PCM 2016, sponsored by the International Institute of Refrigeration, will bring together scientists, researchers and industry leaders to discuss the latest developments in the field. Topics will include:

• Thermophysical properties of PCMs and slurries
• Transport phenomena of PCMs and slurries: mass, momentum and heat transfer
• Time-dependent behavior of PCMs and slurries
• Direct contact heat exchange

The conference will be conducted in English. Abstracts are due by Nov. 1; final papers are due by March 15.

Solar 2015 includes session on feasibility of seasonal ice thermal energy storage

Ben Welter - Monday, July 13, 2015

Dr. Richard D. Wilk, professor of mechanical engineering at Union College, will present research on the feasibility of seasonal ice thermal energy storage at the Solar 2015 conference at Penn State later this month. Other session topics include "The Great Solar Thermal Debate," "Research Advances in Solar Thermal," "Solar Thermal's Future: The Big Picture" and "High Performance Buildings."  

Dr. Richard D. WilkHere's a description of the July 29 poster session on seasonal ice storage:

"The system consists of a large insulated volume capable of storing large amounts of snow and ice collected in the winter, and storing it for weeks to months to produce chilled water for cooling buildings in hot weather. This project involved developing a transient heat transfer model to predict the time-dependent temperature of a snow/ice bed in a well-insulated compartment subjected to heat gain from the environment and simulated building cooling system return water. The model was used to study the effects of design parameters, like insulation type and thickness as well as the return water flow rate on the melt time."

Papers sought for 2016 conference on building design for Gulf, Mediterranean climates

Ben Welter - Friday, May 08, 2015

Papers are being sought for a 2016 conference focused on building design and system technologies.  

Nesreen GhaddarThe second International Conference on Efficient Building Design: Materials and HVAC Equipment Technologies will take place Sept. 22–23, 2016, in Beirut, Lebanon.  The conference objective is to present advanced research on better building design, adapted to the hot, humid Gulf climate and the moderate, humid Mediterranean climate, according to conference chair Nesreen Ghaddar.

"This conference will serve as a platform for presenting advanced research in these topics with the intent to highlight emerging new HVAC technologies with renewables integration, optimal ventilation and indoor air quality and adapting alternative refrigerants to warmer climates," said Ghaddar, a professor of mechanical engineering at the American University of Beirut, one of the sponsors. "Specifically, direction is sought on which HVAC technologies best utilize solar PV power, what techniques to use for separate sensible and latent heat management, and how to develop hybrid systems that combine mechanical and mixed ventilation methods."

Abstracts are due Sept. 15, 2015.

Mmmm, now that's some fine-tasting PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, May 07, 2015

Sunamp's chocolate fountainSunamp Ltd., a British company that makes heat storage batteries, hardly mentions phase change materials on its website, Which is strange, since it's no secret that PCMs power the batteries, which store heat for domestic hot water and space heating.   

And yet PCMs of a sort were the centerpiece of the company's networking event Wednesday at the All-Energy 2015 Exhibition and Conference in Glasgow. Visitors were encouraged to sample "some of the tastiest phase change materials around" — chocolate in liquid form cascading from a fountain.

Nearby, SmartestEnergy held a "Best of British" drinks reception, with regional craft beers and wine. 

Beer, wine and food-grade PCMs? Sign me up for the 2016 conference.