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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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Patent application: Food additive, food packaging additives and uses thereof

Ben Welter - Monday, September 12, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160255872 (applicant Empire Technology Development LLC, Wilmington, Del.)

"A food item comprising a food additive, wherein the food additive comprises two or more phase change materials selected from a gallic acid ester, a tannic acid ester, a fulvic acid ester, a hemicellulose derived ester, or any combination thereof, wherein at least one hydroxyl group and at least one carboxyl group of a gallic acid, tannic acid, fulvic acid, hemicellulose, or any combination thereof, is esterified."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160255872.pdf

Sonoco ThermoSafe launches certification program for cold chain packaging pros

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 04, 2016

Sonoco ThermoSafe has launched the industry’s first academic offering to train and certify cold chain packaging professionals. The certification program was developed by Sonoco ThermoSafe’s ISC Labs in partnership with the Packaging School; Dr. R. Andrew Hurley, assistant professor of packaging science at Clemson University; and an advisory panel of industry experts.

Cold Chain training illustrationTwo levels of certification courses are available:

• The Fundamentals Course ($295), accessible now, is a self-paced online course that takes a systematic approach to developing a basic understanding of temperature-assurance packaging. 

• The Professional Course ($999; bio-pharma manufacturers get a $100 discount) is a one-day session conducted by university professors, lab engineers and industry experts. The live course provides hands-on instruction and interactive activities. It will make its debut Sept. 26 at the Cold Chain GDP & Temperature Management Logistics Global Forum in Boston.

“The TAP program shares decades worth of ISCLabs’ collective knowledge and expertise in design, development and qualification of temperature controlled packaging,” said Vishal Khushalani, director of global marketing and business development at Sonoco ThermoSafe. “The course goes further to cover topics including temperature monitoring, global regulations and distribution considerations of temperature sensitive products."

http://www.thermosafe.com/TAPCertification

Patent application: Temperature controlled product shipper

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 09, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160161171 (applicant Packaging Technology Group Inc., Fall River, Mass):

Shipper with PCM bladder patent drawing"A temperature controlled product shipper includes a phase change material bladder which can be filled at the point of packaging. The shipper includes an internal product box and an outer box where the product box is received within the outer box. The phase change material bladder is received within a cavity defined between the outer surface of the product box and the inner surface of the outer box. The shipper may also include an insulated liner which is received between the product box and the bladder."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160161171.pdf

RGEES launches Akuratemp specimen transporter in four temperature ranges

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

RGEES Akuratemp PCM packsRGEES introduced a new line of temperature-controlled specimen transporters this week at CleanMed 2016 in Dallas.

The Akuratemp line is available in frozen (below -20° C), chilled (2-8° C), room temperature (15°C to 25°C) and incubating (37° C) temperature ranges. The ranges cover applications in clinical trials, diagnostic specimens, direct-to-patient and direct-to-lab deliveries. The transporter consists of an insulated carton, two color-coded packs containing phase change material, shown here, an optional real-time data logger and an outer sleeve.

The company, based in Arden, N.C., says the "environmentally friendly" shippers will maintain temperatures for up to 72 hours, use non-petroleum phase-change technology and have reuseable components.

http://rgees.com/products_specimen-transporter.php

PCM briefing: Jute-insulated packaging company is up for social impact award; premium mattress with PCM costs less than $1,000

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 10, 2016

TemperPack, maker of jute-insulated packaging for perishable foods, is one of nine finalists for CommonBond's annual Social Impact Award, competing for a chance to win $10,000. TemperPack's plastic-film cooling packs contain a solution of 95 percent water and 5 percent polyglycol.

• Online mattress startup Zen Bedding is offering its first product: a sub-$1,000 "premium" foam mattress that combines the thermo-regulation of phase change material with a cool gel memory foam.

• The Regulatory Assistance Project has taken a fresh look at how to close the projected gap between the total load a utility serves and what that load looks like after a significant amount of wind and solar energy is added to the system. Greentech Media notes that RAP gives one element — water — far more emphasis: "For the first time, managing water and wastewater pumping loads has been added as a strategy. Water heating and ice energy also have more prominent roles."

• Reporting on ARPA-E's annual innovation summit, Utility Dive says "it appears the stage is set for clean energy technology to benefit from a new wave of investment in the United States as investors take advantage of increased market certainty and public policy supportive of low-carbon energy solutions."

• Researchers at RWTH Aachen University are simulating the complex behavior of paraffin-water slurries in hydraulic networks. Possible uses include underfloor heating, cooling ceiling panels and district heating networks.

PCM briefing: 12 principles for green energy storage; 24x7 operation for EnergyNest pilot project

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 23, 2016

University of Michigan researchers have developed a set of 12 principles for green energy storage. No. 10: "Substitute non-toxic and non-hazardous materials."

EnergyNest AS has agreed to hire additional staff to provide around-the-clock operation of its thermal energy storage pilot facility at the Masdar Institute's beam-down solar power plant in Abu Dhabi. The increased staffing – seven engineers and technicians – is necessary for EnergyNest to demonstrate system performance over many charge/discharge cycles.

CALMAC founder Calvin D. MacCracken has been posthumously inducted into the ASHRAE Hall of Fame. CALMAC's IceBank energy storage technology, which shifts cooling production to off-peak hours, is among MacCracken's 80 patents.

Monodraught says it's getting positive feedback on the low-energy cooling and ventilation strategy the company developed for Cambridge University's Greenwich House. Monodraught installed its Cool-Phase systems and Windcatcher X-Air in a number of open plan office areas, several meeting rooms and a café area. The system combines a thermal energy store containing phase change material with an intelligently controlled air-handling unit.

• Mattress ticking producer Fine Cotton Factory has doubled its production space in Toronto to 80,000 square feet. The company is planning to introduce several products this year, including copper-infused fabrics and phase change yarns.

In a piece on coolpack.com, four industry experts offer a new way to measure the performance of passive cold-chain shipping containers. They say a "performance curve" chart could simplify the design process. [pdf]

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.

PCM briefing: Graphite foams may be key to CSP thermal storage; PCMs improving packout efficiencies in cold chain

Ben Welter - Thursday, February 04, 2016

South African researchers say graphite foams may be the key to capturing and storing thermal energy from solar farms, Materials Today reports.

"New phase change material is improving packout efficiencies with higher latent heat," UPS cold chain strategist Susan Li says in an interview with Contract Pharma. "However, cost is still an issue to further advance the application of such technology."

NASA is testing microencapsulated phase change material as a coating to dissipate heat generated during supersonic flight. In a four-year study at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama, the coating proved to be unaffected by ultraviolet rays and produced no residue or side effects.

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. 

Patent application: Cover assembly for temperature-sensitive cartons or articles

Ben Welter - Wednesday, December 30, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150367604 (applicant Grand Designs Inc., Sacramento, Calif.):

"Temperature protection assemblies designed to protect objects against undue temperature changes during shipping or storage, comprise a first layer configured to be placed proximal to the object and include phase change material, together with a second layer configured to be placed over the first layer and remote from the object, the second layer comprising a heat-reflecting material. The assemblies may be designed to protect a single carton or a pallet load thereof and, in such cases, the layers are in the form of open-bottom covers, which can be fitted over the carton or pallet load in closely-conforming relationship, with the first layer adjacent the carton or load, and the second layer  telescoped over the first layer. The covers may be interconnected to form a unitary assembly."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150367604.pdf