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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: Thermal battery maker Sunamp raises $4.6 million; Viking Cold Solutions' cooling system is on display in Hannover

Ben Welter - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

• U.K. thermal battery maker Sunamp has raised 3.2 million pounds ($4.6 million) in its latest investment round. Sunamp said “an international private investor in the energy market” led the funding round, along with existing investors Scottish Investment Bank, Par Equity, Equity Gap, Highland Venture Capital and Old College Capital. The company said the money would be used to fund expansion and product development.

Viking Cold Solutions' hybrid cooling system is on display at the industrial technology show in Hannover, Germany, this week. The new system combines phase change material with solar photovoltaics for use in supermarkets and food warehouses. The Houston-based company says the system can reduce electricity peak demand by up to 90 percent.

EGO Power+ string trimmer• The new EGO Power+ 15-inch string trimmer, which uses phase change material to keep its rechargeable battery cool, was the highest-rated of 11 battery-powered trimmers reviewed this month by Pro Tool Reviews.

• The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has signed an agreement with the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy to work together to stimulate development of "high-potential, high-impact clean energy technologies" in the state. The collaboration will focus on a broad range of technology, including smart grid, distributed energy, renewable energy and energy storage.

• New report from Future Market Insights: "Temperature Controlled Packaging Solutions Market: Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment 2015-2025".

• South Africa's new Bokpoort concentrated solar power plant has set an African record for continuous supply of electricity: 161 hours, or nearly six days. The plant's molten salt system provides 9.3 hours of thermal storage.

Agenda set for RAL Quality Association PCM meeting in March

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 18, 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 Düsseldorf, Germany, on March 1. Entropy Solutions, the group’s newest member company, will be represented by Dr. William Sutterlin, chief science officer. Representatives of eight other companies have confirmed they will attend:

BASF SE
Croda Europe Ltd.
Emco Bau- und Klimatechnik GmbH & Co. KG
PCM Technology
Rubitherm Technologies GmbH
Sasol Germany GmbH
w&a wärme- und anwendungstechnische Prüfungen
ZAE Bayern (external test lab)

The agenda includes discussions of PCM testing specifications, the European Parliament's directive on the energy performance of buildings and an initiative to add phase change material to government-defined calculations of building efficiency.

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 BuildingWithChemistry.org 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 www.coldchainpharm.com/media/9354/9354_Brochure.pdf. 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.

PCM briefing: Qatar University working on polyolefin-based PCM; Pelican BioThermal introduces Credo Cargo

Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Qatar University Centre for Advanced Materials is developing polyolefin-based phase change material to reduce energy consumption, carbon emissions and plastic waste. The research team is developing special PCM foams and compact composite sheets based on polyethylene, paraffin wax and graphite. 

Swiss away jersey by PumaPelican BioThermal has launched a new pallet shipper system, CrÄ“do Cargo. The reusable bulk shipper uses phase change material cooling panels to maintain temperature ranges +2C to +8C and +15C to +25C. 

The Swiss national soccer team will wear PCM-infused away uniforms at the European Championships 2016 in France. The jersey features Puma's ACTV Thermo-R technology. Strategically placed tape infused with microencapsulated phase change material absorbs excess heat and releases it back to the body when needed. The uniforms will be worn for the first time in an international friendly against the Republic of Ireland on March 25. Other national teams sporting the new kits are Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Italy.

President Obama is vowing to push ahead with efforts to curtail greenhouse gas emissions after the U.S. Supreme Court put his Clean Power Plan on hold until legal challenges are resolved.

Thermal storage is in the mix for Texas utility seeking big increase in solar

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 09, 2016

In an effort to reach a goal of deriving 55 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025, a Texas utility is adopting energy storage and software tools to accommodate a big increase in solar power. Utility Dive reports that Austin Energy is developing a plan for distribution-connected local storage of at least 10 MW complemented by as much as 20 MW of thermal storage. The test program is being implemented under a $4.3 million award from the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. 

http://www.utilitydive.com/news/how-austin-energy-is-looking-to-manage-solar-plus-storage-on-its-grid/413524/

PCM briefing: New pallet shipper from Sonoco ThermoSafe; new bedding line from Serta

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sonoco ThermoSafe has introduced the new Quarter PMC pallet shipper, designed to optimize bulk air shipments of temperature-sensitive biologics and pharmaceutical products for durations exceeding five days. The shipper is offered in 2-8° C, 15-25° C and frozen temperature ranges.

Serta has launched a revamped iComfort bedding line that features the company's new Ever Feel Triple Effects Gel Memory Foam, with phase change material incorporated in the gel. 

Giovanni Damato has joined EPRI, the Electric Power Research Institute, as technical leader for energy storage, distributed generation and microgrids.

U.S. chemical industry officials praised the Trans-Pacific Partnership at a hearing last week in Washington. Greg Skelton of the American Chemistry Council noted that it could bring a $1.2 billion increase in U.S. chemical exports, Bloomberg BNA reported [subscription required].

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.

PCM briefing: Thermal energy storage symposium in Switzerland; paper on development of Ebola vaccine passive storage device

Ben Welter - Wednesday, December 23, 2015

• Registration is open for the 3rd Swiss Symposium Thermal Energy Storage to be held Jan. 22, 2016, in Lucerne. Topics include PCM systems for high-temperature heat storage; seasonal storage with subcooling PCM; and cooling buildings, processes or batteries with phase change slurries. Cost is $300.

• In a paper presented at the IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, Michael Friend and Shannon Stone of Intellectual Ventures describe the development of the Arktek DF passive storage device" for the Ebola vaccine in Sierra Leone and Guinea.

• New from Decision Databases: "Global Microencapsulation Market Research Report - Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014 - 2021"

• New from MarketsandMarkets: "Advanced Energy Storage Systems Market - Global Forecast to 2020"

• A team from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, one of four finalists in ESA Education’s Fly Your Thesis! competition, intends to verify a model of phase change material performance in a microgravity environment. The team's goal is to lay groundwork for more effective temperature control in future space applications.

The San Diego City Council has approved a legally binding climate action plan that commits the eighth-largest U.S. city to 100 percent renewables and a 50 reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. 


New efficiency standards ahead for commercial furnaces, rooftop AC

Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The U.S. Department of Energy announced an agreement Thursday on new efficiency requirements for commercial air conditioners and furnaces. 

Starting in 2018, rooftop AC will have to be about 13 percent more efficient than current models, and 25 to 30 percent more efficient by 2023. The thermal efficiency of commercial gas furnaces will have to be at least 81 percent by 2023; the efficiency standard for commercial oil furnaces will be 82 percent.

The new standards are expected to be in place by late next year.

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/doe-finalizes-biggest-efficiency-standard-ever

PCM briefing: Lime emerges as thermal storage medium; district energy shines at climate conference; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 08, 2015

• German researchers are working on a thermal storage system that uses lime as the storage medium. 

• Representatives of three district energy champion cities – St. Paul, Minn., and two Swedish cities, Malmö and Gothenburg – shared their success stories at the climate conference in Paris.

• A new report from Technavio, "Global Advanced Energy Storage Systems 2016-2020," projects that market will see a compound annual growth rate of nearly 14 percent over the next five years.

• New research by Future Market Insights, "Temperature Controlled Packaging Solutions Market: Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment 2015-2025," will be published in January.

• A look inside Qatar Cool's new District Cooling Plant 3, which will feature a thermal energy storage tank with a 5,000-ton cooling capacity. 

• TechNiche Europe has introduced a washable version of its HyperKewl cooling fabric.