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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.




Ceiling tiles and incubators: PCM news from England and Switzerland

Ben Welter - Monday, September 21, 2015

Catching up on two stories that emerged while I was on vacation earlier this month:

• Two lines of Armstrong ceiling tiles – the PCM-based CoolZone and the light-reflecting Ultima+ – were installed together in a recent renovation at Bristol Royal Infirmary in Bristol, England. Rich Shore, director of subcontractor Pegasus Interiors, said: "The CoolZone tiles were easy to use and install and they give a great effect due to their metal finish. They complemented the Ultima+ tiles very nicely."

• Benjamin Rime, a materials science student at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, devoted a semester project and his master's thesis to developing a PCM-powered thermoregulator for incubators in developing nations. “If the power goes out," he said, "a small battery-powered fan connected to a simple and rugged electronic regulator takes over and maintains a constant temperature in the incubator.” The GlobalNeonat project is in the hands of the institute's EssentialTech program and its Swiss and African partners.

A look at the new GHS standards and how they affect the PCM industry

Ben Welter - Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Manufacturers of phase change material are required to follow the new Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals and must accurately report the hazards associated with their products. The requirements took effect June 1, 2015. Here's some background on the GHS and a brief look at how it's affecting the PCM industry.

Research roundup: Macrocapsules containing microencapsulated PCMs; TES tank filled with different PCMs; graphene nanofillers; antarcticite; more

Ben Welter - Monday, September 14, 2015

Preparation and characterization of macrocapsules containing microencapsulated PCMs (phase change materials) for thermal energy storage [Energy]

Packed bed thermal energy storage: A simplified experimentally validated model [Journal of Energy Storage]

Experimental investigation of the thermal response of a thermal storage tank partially filled with different PCMs (phase change materials) to a steep demand [Energy]

Temperature Stabilisation in Fischer-Tropsch Reactors Using Phase Change Material (PCM) [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Evaluation of cooling and thermal energy storage tanks in optimization of multi-generation system [Journal of Energy Storage]

Effects of Graphene Nanofillers on the Energy Storage Properties of Paraffin-Based Phase Change Materials [10th International Conference on Composite Science and Technology] [pdf]

Characterization of Metal-PCMs for Thermal Energy Storage Applications [Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Processes for Strategic Sectors]

Optimization of solvents for the encapsulation of a phase change material in polymeric matrices by electro-hydrodynamic processing of interest in temperature buffering food applications [European Polymer Journal]

Domestic Material Content in Molten-Salt Concentrating Solar Power Plants [NREL]

Antarcticite, a Phase Change Material for Thermal Energy Storage: Experiments and Simulation [Mineral Technology]

Thermal performance of a typical residential Cyprus building with phase change materials [Building Services Engineering Resource and Technology]

Research roundup: Complex roof with PCM; diatomite-based nanocomposites; seasonal TES; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 03, 2015

Experimental investigation on a complex roof incorporating phase-change material [Energy and Buildings]

Application of PCM energy storage in combination with night ventilation for space cooling [Applied Energy]

Solar Water Distillation Using Three Different Phase Change Materials [Materials Today]

Easy and industrially applicable impregnation process for preparation of diatomite-based phase change material nanocomposites for thermal energy storage [Applied Thermal Engineering]

A Review of Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage Systems [Applied Mechanics and Materials]

Performance of Latent Heat Solar Thermal Energy Storage System Using Various Heat Transfer Fluids [Applied Mechanics and Materials]

Financial analysis of an installed small scale seasonal thermal energy store [Renewable Energy]

Temperature control of permanent-magnet synchronous motor using phase change material [Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics]

Calorimetric and Dynamic Mechanical Behavior of Phase Change Materials Based on Paraffin Wax Supported by Expanded Graphite [Thermochimica Acta]

Patent application: Fluid system and method of making and using the same

Ben Welter - Tuesday, September 01, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150240759 (applicant GM Global Technology Operations, Troy, Mich.):

Fuel tank patent drawing"A number of variations may include a product including a housing including at least one phase change material and a medium constructed and arranged for thermal energy transfer to or from a vehicle fuel. ... [E]thanol fuel may be prone to clogging of the vehicle engine within the surroundings during undesirable conditions. This clogging may cause the vehicle engine to stall or not start upon desired ignition. ... [W]hen the conditions become undesirable ... the phase change material within the housing may at least partially freeze or solidify, releasing thermal energy through the medium and into the ethanol fuel. The increased thermal energy to the ethanol fuel may allow at least a portion of the ethanol fuel's gel, wax-like, or crystalline state to liquefy or melt enough to start or continue to run the vehicle engine."

20% annual growth projected for global PCM market through 2019

Ben Welter - Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The global market for advanced phase change material is expected to reach $1.39 billion in 2019, according to the latest report from Technavio. That's a compound annual growth rate of 20.03 percent from 2014 through 2019.

The report identifies increased environmental regulation and cost savings as important factors driving demand for PCMs, which are used in a variety of environmentally friendly heating and cooling applications. BASF, Cryopak, Phase Change Energy Solutions, Outlast Technologies, Honeywell Electronic Materials and Entropy Solutions are listed among the leading companies discussed in the report.  

“Entropy Solutions is a key vendor in the market that offers 100% renewable phase-change materials that can be used for a broad range of temperature control applications," said Faisal Ghaus, Technavio vice president. "New entrants that offer such innovative and green solutions are growing in the market, and this is expected to drive market growth during the forecast period.”

Research roundup: Reheating supercooled TES unit; phase inversion emulsification; nanoencapsulated PCM via Pickering emulsification; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Characteristic of Reheating Operation in Supercooled Thermal Energy Storage Unit for Hot Water Supply or Space Heating [Energy Procedia]

A Novel Method for the Preparation of Narrow-disperse Nanoencapsulated Phase Change Materials by Phase Inversion Emulsification and Suspension Polymerization [Industrial & Engineering Chemistry and Research]

Annual performance of a solar aided coal-fired power generation system (SACPG) with various solar field areas and thermal energy storage capacity [Applied Energy]

Optimal energy management of a building cooling system with thermal storage: A convex formulation [Symposium on Advanced Control of Chemical Processes] [pdf]

Nano-encapsulated PCM via Pickering Emulsification [Nature]

A review on the development of cool pavements to mitigate urban heat island effect [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

PCMs cut energy costs in pilot project at Army warehouse in California

Ben Welter - Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Bio-based phase change material reduced energy costs significantly in a pilot project at the Sierra Army Depot in Herlong, Calif. 

The PCM, supplied by Phase Change Energy Solutions, was installed in one of two identical warehouses. The Redstone Rocket, a publication of the Army's Redstone Arsenal in Decatur, Ala., reported on the pilot project this week:

"For four months, exterior and interior temperatures in the two buildings were recorded every 15 minutes at multiple locations. The monitoring showed how temperatures fluctuated much less within the building where the PCM was installed, especially during winter months. Natural gas consumption data showed a 50 percent energy savings, proving that the heat turned on less in the building with the PCM.

" 'We have statistically significant data showing the impacts of the material on the warehouse temperatures,' Charles King with TriVector Services said. 'What’s most important though is the relationships we’ve built with Sierra, and we look forward to furthering that in the future.'

"Sierra would like to expand the current effort across multiple facilities in the future, pending the availability of funds."

Research roundup: NZEB analysis tool; multistage heat engine model; solar water heater with PCM; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Innovative technologies for NZEBs: an energy and economic analysis tool and a case study of a non-residential building in Mediterranean climate [Energy and Buildings]

Thermal efficiency analysis of the cascaded latent heat/cold storage with multi-stage heat engine model [Renewable Energy]

Experimental investigation of a domestic solar water heater with solar collector coupled phase-change energy storage [Renewable Energy]

Experimental testing and analysis of R134a clathrates based PCMs for cooling applications [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Applications of solar water heating system with phase change material [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Effect of temperature on mortars with incorporation of phase change materials [Construction and Building Materials]

Microencapsulation and characterization of polyamic acid microcapsules containing n-octadecane via electrospraying method [Materials Express] [pdf]

Research roundup: Paraffin/perlite composite PCM; constructal design of horizontal fins; hybrid shell materials; electrospun polyvinyl alcohol/PCM fibers

Ben Welter - Friday, August 21, 2015

A novel paraffin/expanded perlite composite phase change material for prevention of PCM leakage in cementitious composites [Applied Energy]

Constructal design of horizontal fins to improve the performance of phase change material rectangular enclosures [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Synthesis and thermal properties of a novel nanoencapsulated phase change material with PMMA and SiO2 as hybrid shell materials [Thermochimica Acta]

Electrospun Polyvinyl Alcohol/Phase Change Material Fibers: Morphology, Heat Properties and Stability [Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research]