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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.




Sunamp's UniQ heat storage product earns RAL certification

Ben Welter - Monday, December 16, 2019

The RAL Quality Association PCM has awarded the RAL Quality Mark to Sunamp Ltd. for its UniQ line of thermal batteries.

RAL quality markThe product, which has been installed in thousands of homes across Europe, uses a specially formulated phase change material to store large amounts of energy from renewable and other sources and release it as heat to deliver hot water and space heating as needed. The PCM is sodium acetate trihydrate-based with a patented formulation giving a melt point of 58 degrees Celsius. 

In independent testing conducted by ZAE Bayern, the PCM was successfully melted and solidified in a UniQ heat battery for 10,000 cycles. At the end of the test, no significant differences in stored thermal energy capacity were found between the cycled samples and an uncycled sample of the PCM. The product, which also passed leak testing, earned the association's highest level of certification, Grade A. 

Over 3,000 UniQ units are now in service, with Sunamp projecting a tenfold growth in sales next year. The quality mark will be featured on Sunamp’s website and in other marketing materials, UniQ manuals and product labels.

“We are delighted that our thermally charged UniQ product range of heat batteries has been awarded a globally recognized mark of quality,” said Kate Fisher, Ph.D., a materials integration scientist at Sunamp, which is based in Edinburgh, Scotland. “RAL certification is a huge accolade and cements Sunamp’s position as world leaders at the forefront of the technology.”

Sunamp UniQ heat batteriesThe RAL Quality Association PCM was established in 2004 to develop standards for the PCM industry. Members include Axiotherm, Microtek Laboratories, Rubitherm, Croda Europe, va-Q-tec, PCM Technology, Global-Systems Europe, Sasol, Sunamp, Pluss Advanced Technologies and PureTemp LLC.

Members and non-members alike can submit their products to the association for independent testing and earn the RAL Quality Mark. To qualify for the mark, products and materials must meet standards for energy storage capacity and phase transition temperature and stability, as defined in RAL-GZ 896.

“I am delighted that more and more products with PCM technology can be awarded the RAL Quality Mark as meaningful and transparent proof of quality and longevity,” said Stefan Thomann, the association’s managing director. “The great thing about Sunamp´s UniQ heat batteries is that they can be installed and used in homes very easily and save a lot of energy costs and carbon emissions immediately. The fact that they passed more than 10,000 cycles make sure that users will be able to profit from these benefits for decades.”

Patent application: Latent-heat storage body microcapsules

Ben Welter - Monday, October 14, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190300770 (applicant National University Corp., Hokkaido University, Hokkaido, Japan):

Hokkaido microcapsule patent drawing"In the present invention, after a primary coating film is formed by boehmite treatment of the surface of a core particle in a solution comprising Al ions, a secondary coating film is formed by cooling the solution to the supersaturation temperature of the Al ions to cause deposition of a hydroxide of aluminum on the surface of the primary coating film, and an Al oxide film is formed on the surface of the core particle by heat treating the secondary coating film in an oxidizing atmosphere. Consequently, the shell is thickened by the amount of secondary coating film formed, so that the cyclic strength of the capsule can be secured and the composition change of the PCM in the production process is remarkably suppressed."

Research roundup: Passive cooling in buildings; honeycomb carbon fibers; leak-free aggregates; more

Ben Welter - Monday, October 14, 2019

From Applied Energy:

Passive cooling through phase change materials in buildings. A critical study of implementation alternatives

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Honeycomb carbon fibers strengthened composite phase change materials for superior thermal energy storage

From e-Polymers:

Fabrication and characterization of conductive microcapsule containing phase change material

From Construction and Building Materials:

Preparation and characterization of nano-SiO2/paraffin/PE wax composite shell microcapsules containing TDI for self-healing of cementitious materials
Development of leak-free phase change material aggregates
Behavior of cementitious mortars with direct incorporation of non-encapsulated phase change material after severe temperature exposure

From Advanced Functional Materials:

Engineering the Thermal Conductivity of Functional Phase‐Change Materials for Heat Energy Conversion, Storage, and Utilization

From Journal of Energy Storage:

A numerical investigation of the effects of metal foam characteristics and heating/cooling conditions on the phase change kinetic of phase change materials embedded in metal foam
Applications of combined/hybrid use of heat pipe and phase change materials in energy storage and cooling systems: A recent review
Innovative composite sorbent for thermal energy storage based on a SrBr2·6H2O filled silicone composite foam

From ACS Applied Nano Materials:

Concentrated Ag Nanoparticles in Dodecane as Phase Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage

From Materials Research Express:

Preparation of 1-dodecanol microcapsules with cellulose nanofibers-modified melamine-formaldehyde resin as a potential phase change material

From IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science:

Optimisation of Parameters in Thermal Energy Storage System by Enhancing Heat Transfer in Phase Change Material

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Thermal transport properties at interface of fatty acid esters enhanced with carbon-based nanoadditives

From Journal of Solar Energy Engineering:

Using a Novel Phase Change Material-Based Cooling Tower for a Photovoltaic Module Cooling

From Solar Energy:

Experimental investigation on micro-scale phase change material based on sodium acetate trihydrate for thermal storage

From RSC Advances:

A novel forced separation method for the preparation of paraffin with excellent phase changes

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Experimental characterisation of a novel thermal energy storage based on open-cell copper foams immersed in organic phase change material

Research roundup: Mesoporous silica; nanoencapsulation of oleic acid PCM; flexible crosslinking; more

Ben Welter - Friday, September 20, 2019

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Facile functionalized mesoporous silica using biomimetic method as new matrix for preparation of shape‐stabilized phase‐change material with improved enthalpy
Binary mixtures of fatty alcohols and fatty acid esters as novel solid‐liquid phase change materials

From Journal of Applied Polymer Science:

Phase change material with flexible crosslinking for thermal energy storage

From Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry:

Nanoencapsulation of oleic acid phase change material with Ag2O nanoparticles-based urea formaldehyde shell for building thermal energy storage

From Renewable Energy:

Enhanced properties of diatomite-based composite phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From Energy:

Perspectives for short-term thermal energy storage using salt hydrates for building heating
Design and construction of mesoporous silica/n-eicosane phase-change nanocomposites for supercooling depression and heat transfer enhancement
Numerical investigations on performance of phase change material Trombe wall in building

From Energy and Buildings:

Potential of energy flexible buildings: evaluation of DSM strategies using building thermal mass
Numerical analysis in a full-scale thermal energy storage tank with dual PCM capsules

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Experimental determination and fractal modeling of the effective thermal conductivity of autoclave aerated concrete (AAC) impregnated with paraffin for improved thermal storage performance
Preparation and characterization of new nano-particle mixed as thermal storage material
Numerical investigation on integrated thermal management for a lithium-ion battery module with a composite phase change material and liquid cooling

From Chemical Engineering Journal:

Fatty Amines/Graphene Sponge Form-Stable Phase Change Material Composites with Exceptionally High Loading Rates and Energy Density for Thermal Energy Storage

From MATEC Web of Conferences:

Thermal conductivity of aerated concrete (AC) composites containing micro-encapsulated phase change materials [pdf]
Overheating mitigation in buildings: a computational exploration of the potential of phase change materials [pdf]

From Solar Energy:

Experimental study on the thermal performance of capric acid-myristyl alcohol/expanded perlite composite phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Graphitization as efficient inhibitor of the carbon steel corrosion by molten binary nitrate salt for thermal energy storage at concentrated solar power
A strategy for designing microencapsulated composite phase change thermal storage materials with tunable melting temperature

From Institute of Electronics and Information Engineers 2019 Summer Conference:

Thermal Management System in Electric vehicle Battery Pack Using Phase Change Material

From Materials Chemistry and Physics:

Preparation and thermal properties of n-eicosane/nano-SiO2/expanded graphite composite phase-change material for thermal energy storage

From Sustainable Cities and Society:

Simulative optimization on energy saving performance of phase change panels with different phase transition temperatures

From Thermochimica Acta:

The stability and thermophysical properties of a thermal fluid containing surface-functionalized nanoencapsulated PCM

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Functionalized mesoporous silica as matrix for shape-stabilized phase change materials

From Applied Energy:

Synthesis and characterization of microencapsulated sodium sulfate decahydrate as phase change energy storage materials

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Prototype latent heat storage system with aluminum-silicon as a phase change material and a Stirling engine for electricity generation

From Journal of Solar Energy Engineering:

Experimental Investigation and Numerical Modeling of Room Temperature Control in Buildings by the Implementation of Phase Change Material in the Roof
Suitability Assessment and Experimental Characterization of Phase Change Materials for Energy Conservation in Indian Buildings

PCM briefing: Viking Cold is finalist for innovation award; Sonoco launches sustainable packaging initiative

Ben Welter - Friday, September 20, 2019

Viking Cold Solutions is a finalist for an Energy Storage of North America Innovation Award. The behind-the-meter thermal energy storage systems up for the award are part of an Eversource demand management program in Massachusetts. 

A thermal storage project in Northamptonshire, England, is expected to provide 47 new homes with hot water and heat via renewable energy sources such as solar power. The borehole technology, developed by Caplin Solar of Leicester, stores heat in the ground in warmer months for later use in colder periods.

• Packaging giant Sonoco of Hartsville, S.C., has announced the creation of its EnviroSense sustainable packaging initiative. EnviroSense products are designed to incorporate a number of elements associated with more sustainable packaging, including optimized package-to-product ratio; increased use of recycled and recyclable content; fiber sourcing; compostability; and the use of bio-based materials.

• Registration is open for Sonoco ThermoSafe's next Leading Minds Seminar, "Collaborative Learning that FUELS Your Temperature Sensitive Healthcare Products," to be held Nov. 14 in Amsterdam. The seminar is designed for European supply chain, logistics, quality and packaging professionals responsible for the protection and management of temperature sensitive healthcare clinical supplies and finished products. 

Hydrostor, a Canadian developer of advanced compressed air energy storage projects, has announced the closing of $37 million (USD) in growth financing. Hydrostor has three projects in operation or under construction in Canada and Australia 

• A projected tripling of heat-related deaths in the United Kingdom over the next 30 years will require a drastic rethinking of ways to cool buildings, a parliamentary select committee warns. “The risk of overheating in terms of minimising risks to health and safety of occupants should be enshrined into regulations for new build homes and retrofits," the Environmental Audit Committee said. "This should be considered alongside an integrated review of energy efficiency and ventilation, and be included in the government’s planned Future Homes Standard, to include improvement in the measurement of current and future overheating risk and prioritise passive cooling measures.”

• The most entertaining obituary of a self-taught chemist you will read this month. Rest in peace, Joe Heller.

PCM briefing: Glacier Tek sponsors wheelchair cyclists in Kenya fundraiser; CCT closer to commercializing silicon battery

Ben Welter - Monday, September 09, 2019

Dom Coleman, Regain trustee and grants officerGlacier Tek LLC of Minneapolis is sponsoring seven quadriplegic cyclists taking part in a fundraising ride in Kenya's Rift Valley next month. The Kenya Cycle Challenge 2019, organized by Regain, a U.K.-registered charity, is on track to raise 80,000 pounds to support quadriplegic athletes in Great Britain. More than 50 riders are expected to participate. The seven sponsored riders will be wearing PureTemp-powered Glacier Tek cooling vests to help them handle the 32º C heat they will likely encounter on the five-day ride. People with spinal cord injuries are vulnerable to heat stress because their bodies cannot send the signals needed to initiate sweating in response to hot conditions. 

• Heat battery manufacturer Sunamp Ltd. is among the exhibitors at the InstallerSCOTLAND trade show in Glasgow, Scotland, on Thursday.

CCT Energy Storage is on track to install its first commercial thermal energy device at a mobile phone base station in Adelaide, South Australia, before the end of the year following an agreement in principle with an Australian infrastructure provider. CCT unveiled its first 24kW device in March, describing it as the world’s first working thermal battery using silicon as a phase change material.  

• Hundreds of Australia’s most environmentally advanced homes will open their doors to visitors on Sunday, Sustainable House Day 2019. At least two of the homes – Farrell’s House in Narara, New South Wales, and the 10 Star Home in Cape Paterson, Victoria – feature phase change technology. More than 33,000 people visited 226 homes across Australia last year.  

Research roundup: Corrosion effect of Micronal PCMs; photovoltaic-thermal system optimization; diatomite-based composite; more

Ben Welter - Monday, September 09, 2019

From Renewable Energy and Sustainable Buildings:

Study of Corrosion Effect of Micronal® Phase Change Materials (PCM) with Different Metal Samples
Use of Phase Change Materials for Solar Systems Applications
Performance Optimization of Concentrated Photovoltaic-Thermal (CPV-T) System Employing Phase Change Material (PCM) in Hot Climate

From Asia International Symposium on Mechatronics:

Investigation for a Phase Change Immersion Cooling System

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Experimental study of active phase change cooling technique based on porous media for photovoltaic thermal management and efficiency enhancement

From Renewable Energy:

Enhanced properties of diatomite-based composite phase change materials for thermal energy storage
Hybrid thermal energy storage with phase change materials for solar domestic hot water applications: Direct versus indirect heat exchange systems

From Journal of Applied Polymer Science:

Surface modification of MWCNT and its influence on properties of paraffin/MWCNT nanocomposites as phase change material

From Energy and Buildings:

Energy and emissions analysis of ice thermal energy storage in the western US
Thermal energy storage characterization of cementitious composites made with Recycled Brick Aggregates containing PCM

From Solar Energy:

Innovative passive heat-storage walls improve thermal performance and energy efficiency in Chinese solar greenhouses for non-arable lands

From Construction and Building Materials:

Development of structural thermal energy storage concrete using paraffin intruded lightweight aggregate with nano-refined modified encapsulation paste layer

From Applied Energy:

A comprehensive review on positive cold energy storage technologies and applications in air conditioning with phase change materials

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Preparation and characterization of nano‐enhanced myristic acid using metal oxide nanoparticles for thermal energy storage
Performance comparison of different combined heat and compressed air energy storage systems integrated with organic Rankine cycle

From xPRESS Polymer Letters:

Editorial corner – a personal view / Thermal management with polymer composites

From International Symposium on Asphalt Pavement & Environment:

Impregnation of Lightweight Aggregate Particles with Phase Change Material for Its Use in Asphalt Mixtures

From Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology:

Development of new inorganic shape stabilized phase change materials with LiNO3 and LiCl salts by sol-gel method

From Advanced Functional Materials:

Functional Soft Composites As Thermal Protecting Substrates for Wearable Electronics

Research roundup: Microencapsulated sugarcane wax; night ventilation; caprylic acid composite; more

Ben Welter - Friday, August 23, 2019

From Chemical Engineering:

Thermal properties and behavior of microencapsulated sugarcane wax phase change material

From Renewable Energy:

Experimental study on the influence of preparation parameters on strengthening stability of phase change materials (PCMs)
Climatic and seasonal suitability of phase change materials coupled with night ventilation for office buildings in Western China

From Applied Energy:

Thermal energy storage (TES) with phase change materials (PCM) in solar power plants (CSP). Concept and plant performance

From Materials Research Express:

Preparation and thermal characteristics of caprylic acid based composite as phase change material for thermal energy storage

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Thermodynamic assessment of an integrated renewable energy multigeneration system including ammonia as hydrogen carrier and phase change material energy storage

From Russian Journal of General Chemistry:

Symmetrical Fatty Dialkyl Carbonates as Potential Green Phase Change Materials: Synthesis and Characterisation

From Journal of Physics: Conference Series:

An Integrated Energy Power Generation with Energy Storage System

From Safety in Extreme Environments:

Review of energy storage technologies in harsh environment

From Materials Today: Proceedings:

Review on performance assessment of phase change materials in buildings for thermal management through passive approach

From International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology:

Sunlight-driven organic phase change material-embedded nanofiller for latent heat solar energy storage

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Application of a ground source heat pump system with PCM‐embedded radiant wall heating for buildings

From Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research:

Theoretical Evaluation of an Organic Phase Change Material (PCM)-Inserted Dual-Functional Adsorbent for the Recovery of Heat of Adsorption

From Chemical Engineering Journal:

Flame-retardancy and thermal properties of a novel phosphorus-modified PCM for thermal energy storage

From Solar Energy:

Numerical study on charging characteristics of heat pipe-assisted cylindrical capsule for enhancing latent thermal energy storage

From Renewable Energy and Environmental Sustainability:

Use of phase change materials in concrete: current challenges

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Ambient pressure dried flexible silica aerogel for construction of monolithic shape-stabilized phase change materials

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Preparation and properties of phase change temperature-tuned composite phase change material based on sodium acetate trihydrate–urea/fumed silica for radiant floor heating system

From Sustainable Cities and Societies:

Cardinal orientation and melting temperature effects for PCM-enhanced light-walls in different climates

From Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry:

Phase change materials (PCMs) for improving solar still productivity: a review

Patent application: Ice-based thermal energy storage device

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 22, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190257593 (applicant Boreales Energy, Hérouville-Saint-Clair, France):

"Disclosed is a heat exchange device including a first thermally conductive tube that is hollow over its length, a second thermally conductive tube that is hollow over its length, and including a thermally conductive fin, in which the fin extends lengthwise along the first tube, the fin extends lengthwise along the second tube and the fin extends width-wise between the first tube and the second tube. ... The invention is open to industrial application or useful in the field of heat accumulators, transferring heat between two phase change materials and in particular for storing energy in the form of ice from freshwater or saltwater or brackish water."

PCM briefing: Funding for AMP Clean Energy project; 1414 Degrees to test 'SmartFarm" applications

Ben Welter - Monday, August 19, 2019

Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Partnership has awarded funding to a joint effort by AMP Clean Energy and the University of Birmingham to develop a thermal energy storage system. The system will incorporate phase change material developed by the university for use in AMP’s Urban Reserve flexible electricity generation plants, which will turn waste heat into electricity. The amount of funding was not disclosed.

• Geocryologist Christopher Stevens of SRK North America will give a PCM-related presentation at this week's International  Conference on Cold Regions Engineering in Quebec City: "Phase Change Materials – Innovation in Adaptation Technology to Address Permafrost Thaw" (Aug. 21).

• Australian start-up 1414 Degrees has announced a joint project with Nectar Farms to test “SmartFarm” applications of 1414's technology, which stores electricity as thermal energy by heating and melting containers full of silicon.