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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: Method and apparatus for maintaining a minimum temperature in a fluid

Ben Welter - Monday, April 16, 2018

Subsea device patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180080722 (applicant GE Oil & Gas UK Ltd., Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Great Britain):

"Apparatus and method for maintaining temperature in a sub-sea device, in particular in relation to fluid in the device. A material having a high latent heat on phase change [303] is used to release latent heat to the fluid when the fluid temperature decreases towards a threshold value. ... The use of a phase change material in accordance with the present invention is also advantageous with other types of sub-sea pipe (such as rigid pipe), apparatus and installations where a degree of temperature control is desirable."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180080722.pdf

Patent application: Thermal energy storage pallet

Ben Welter - Monday, April 16, 2018

Viking Cold Solutions patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20180099778 (applicant Viking Cold Solutions Inc., Houston, Texas):

"A pallet for shipping goods, the pallet having a rigid member, a phase change material, and a temperature indicate. The rigid member includes a phase change material compartment. A phase change material is disposed in the phase change material compartment. The temperature indicator indicates a thermal state of the pallet."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180099778.pdf

PCM briefing: AI tool could transform chemistry; Peli BioThermal opens Tokyo service center

Ben Welter - Monday, April 09, 2018

An artificial-intelligence tool that has digested nearly every chemical reaction ever performed could transform the chemistry world, reports Nature. The tool, developed at the University of Münster in Germany, uses "deep-learning neural networks to imbibe essentially all known single-step organic-chemistry reactions — about 12.4 million of them. This enables it to predict the chemical reactions that can be used in any single step."

Pelican BioThermal plans to open a service center in Tokyo next month to service its reusable Credo Cube temperature-control shippers, including refurbishment and repair. The center will also serve as a network station for the company’s Credo on Demand rental program.

• Pelican BioThermal as an opening for "Business Development Manager UK or Netherlands EMEA."  

Sonoco ThermoSafe has posted the agenda for the company's first Leading Minds Seminar, to be held June 6-7 in Blue Bell, Pa. Co-hosted by ELPRO, the seminar is a chance for pharmaceutical manufacturers, supply chain partners and government representatives to discuss temperature-assurance packaging and data monitoring in a collaborative environment.

Va-Q-tec AG of Germany reports that it has received a European patent for passive pallet-size containers with vacuum insulation panels and phase change materials. The European Patent 2876389 B1, which covers the company's va-Q-tainer product series, is valid in Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Liechtenstein and Switzerland. "Imitators and competitors will now have to survive without some important thermal and mechanical functions," said Dr. Joachim Kuhn, the company's CEO. “The competition seems to be interested in the now legally protected technology and the highly energy efficient containers which are produced from it. We detected that competitors are offering patent infringing products. Obviously, we will take further steps to defend our technology."

• China's list of more than 100 U.S. products under threat of tariffs targets the U.S. chemicals and plastics sectors at a time when parts of the industry are investing heavily in new production, CNBC reports. Plastics, petrochemicals, petroleum products and specialty chemicals comprise about 40 percent of the targeted goods.

• New from 360 Market Updates: "Asia Pacific Advanced Phase Change Material Market Analysis 2012-2017 and Forecast 2018-2023"

Viking Cold Solutions of Houston, Texas, has been named a Top 10 Energy Storage System Provider by Energy CIO Insights. Viking's PCM-based system is designed to reduce energy consumption in cold storage facilities by 20 to 35 percent.  

Amrit Robbins, CEO and founder of Axiom Exergy, will take part in a panel discussion, "Hot, Cold, and Shocking: What Leading Storage Options Can And Cannot Do," at the 37th Peak Load Management Alliance Conference in Coronado, Calif., April 16-18. 

Patent application: Pasteurization for small containers using a PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 05, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180092371 (inventors Micaela Langille Collins and Yu-ling Cheng, Toronto, Canada; Scott Nicholas Genin, Unionville, Canada; and Jayesh Kumar Srivastava, West Toronto, Canada):

"A pasteurization device comprising an insulated heating tub, a metal grid heat sink, 69° C. melt-point paraffin wax, wherein the metal grid heat sink and the paraffin wax are combined inside the insulated heating tub; a temperature sensor connected to a microprocessor controlled device, suitable to measure temperature and to generate an alarm, a top plate, and a material suitable to cover the wax; wherein the top plate comprises a plurality of openings corresponding to an opening in the metal grid heat sink of suitable size to accept a baby bottle; wherein the insulated heating tub can be heated to at least 73° C. and wherein the microprocessor controlled device provides an audible tone upon the temperature sensor reading 73° C. for at least 30 seconds."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180092371.pdf

Patent application: Heat storage material

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 05, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180094180 (applicant Hutchinson SA, Paris, France):

"The invention relates to a material including a support consisting of a porous composite material including at least one polymer phase forming a binder based on at least one polymer selected from thermoplastic polymers, elastomers, and elastomer thermoplastics, and at least one filler selected from thermally conductive fillers, the pores of the support consisting of the porous composite material being partially or entirely filled with at least one phase-change material. The invention also relates to a method for producing said material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180094180.pdf

Patent application: Spherical microcapsule

Ben Welter - Monday, April 02, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180085724 (applicant Holcim Technology Ltd., Jona, Switzerland):

"A method for the production of a microcapsule, in particular a microcapsule of spherical shape having a hollow capsule space therein, includes the steps of: a) preparing of a suspension of particulate cementitious material in a solvent b) preparing a dispersion by mixing the suspension of step a) with an immiscible fluid so that (i) the suspension is present as a dispersed phase in the fluid as a dispersion medium or that (ii) the fluid is present as the dispersed phase in the suspension as the dispersion medium, such that the particulate material of the suspension adsorbs at least partially at a phase boundary between the fluid and the suspension, and c) allowing the particulate material adsorbed at the phase boundary to hydrate with the formation of a microcapsule. ... [The microcapsule] is at least partially filled with a salt, a polymer, a drug, a biomolecule, a cell, a living cell, a fragrance, a flavor, enzymes, catalytic materials, flame retarders, phase change materials, absorbers and/or a dye."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180085724.pdf

Patent application: Efficient transfer of heat to passenger cabin

Ben Welter - Monday, April 02, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180086177 (applicant Hanon Systems, Daejeon, South Korea):

"A method of efficiently heating a passenger cabin of a vehicle includes heating a first fluid using a fluid heater. The first fluid flows through a thermal storage element to transfer thermal energy to the thermal storage element. The heating of the first fluid and the thermal storage element occurs during a recharging of a rechargeable power source used to power the vehicle. During operation of the vehicle and following discontinuation of the recharging of the rechargeable power source, the thermal energy stored to the thermal storage element is transferred to air to be distributed to the passenger cabin of the vehicle by flowing the first fluid through a first heat exchanger in thermal communication with the air to be distributed to the passenger cabin of the vehicle, thereby extending a range of the vehicle."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180086177.pdf

Patent application: Vessel assemblies for temperature control

Ben Welter - Monday, April 02, 2018

American Aerogel patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180086534 (applicant American Aerogel Corp., Rochester, N.Y.):

"This present disclosure provides a vessel assembly for use in temperature sensitive shipping that can maintain a payload temperature across a range of temperatures. Importantly, the vessel assembly of the present disclosure reduces the overall packaging materials used in a shipper box and prevents the 'wrong' mixture of PCM-containing vessels from being used. ... [The vessel assembly comprises] a vessel [21] having a first filling port [11]; and a bladder [20] optionally having a second filling port [10]; wherein the chamber of the vessel comprises a first phase change material; and the bladder comprises a second phase change material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180086534.pdf

Patent application: Devices for use with refrigeration devices

Ben Welter - Monday, April 02, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180087831 (Tokitae LLC, Bellevue, Wash.):

"A refrigeration device includes a thermal transfer unit with an evaporative region, an adiabatic region, and a condensing region with a reversible valve attached to the adiabatic region. The device includes a container sealed around PCM, with a set of refrigeration coils of a compressor unit in thermal contact with the PCM. A storage region is in thermal contact with the evaporative region of the thermal transfer unit. A controller is operably connected to the reversible valve and the refrigeration compressor unit. The storage region can be used to store cold packs within a predetermined temperature range for medical outreach."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180087831.pdf

Patent application: Battery pack with PCM

Ben Welter - Monday, April 02, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180090728 (applicant LG Chem Ltd., Seoul, South Korea):

"A battery pack according to the present invention comprises a battery cell and a battery case accommodating the battery cell, wherein the battery case comprises an inner case accommodating the battery cell, an outer case disposed outside the inner case, and a cooling member between the inner and outer cases to indirectly cool the battery cell by using cool air generated by cooling the inner and outer cases."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180090728.pdf