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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.




Patent application: Electric energy storage system with PCM

Ben Welter - Monday, September 14, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150256119 (applicant Universidad Politécnica De Madrid):

Patent application electric energy storage"The energy storage system includes a vessel made of a refractory material and containing a phase change material, a thermally insulating cover at least partially surrounding the vessel, an emitter, made of a refractory material, having a first side arranged to be heated by the phase change material [1, at right] and a second side intended to radiate thermal power, at least one photovoltaic cell arranged to receive the thermal power emitted by the second side of the emitter, and electric means for heating the phase change material."

Patent application: Quasiadiabatic differential scanning calorimeter

Ben Welter - Monday, September 14, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150253206 (applicant Waters Technologies Corp., Milford, Mass.):

"A method of operating a differential scanning calorimeter wherein errors in the heat flow rate measurement are reduced by operating the calorimeter in a quasiadiabatic mode and by employing a heat flow rate measurement algorithm that includes the leakage heat flow rate. The temperature of the DSC enclosure is controlled independently of the temperature of the measuring system, which allows the temperature difference between the sample and reference containers and the enclosure to be minimized, thus minimizing leakage heat flow."

Patent application: Prosthesis having shape memory effect for treating vascular trauma

Ben Welter - Friday, September 04, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150245900 (inventor Elizabeth A. Eaton, Bloomington, Ind.):

"A prosthesis delivery system may include a prosthesis that includes a first end portion being radially movable between a compressed configuration and an expanded configuration. The first end portion may comprise a shape memory material having a transition temperature less than a body temperature such that the first end portion has an expanded configuration at a temperature above the transition temperature and a compressed configuration at a temperature below the transition temperature. The prosthesis may also include a second end portion being radially movable between a compressed configuration and an expanded configuration and a central portion between the first end portion and the second end portion."

Patent application: Heated or cooled dinnerware or drinkware with PCMs

Ben Welter - Friday, September 04, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150245723 (applicant Ember Technologies, Westlake Village, Calif.):

Ember Technologies paten application illustration

"An actively heated mug, travel mug, baby bottle, water bottle or liquid container is provided. The mug, travel mug, baby bottle, water bottle or liquid container can include a body that receives a liquid therein and a heating or cooling system at least partially disposed in the body. The heating or cooling system can include one or more heating or cooling elements that heat a surface of the receiving portion of the body and one or more energy storage devices. The mug, travel mug, baby bottle, water bottle or liquid container can include a wireless power receiver that wirelessly receives power from a power source and control circuitry configured to charge one or more power storage elements and to control the delivery of electricity from the one or more power storage elements to the one or more heating or cooling elements. The mug, travel mug, baby bottle, water bottle or liquid container also can have one or more sensors that sense a parameter of the liquid or sense a parameter of the heating or cooling system and communicates the sensed information to the control circuitry. The control circuitry can turn on, turn off, and/or operate the heating or cooling element to actively heat or cool at least a portion of the body to maintain the liquid in a heated or cooled state generally at a user selected temperature setting based at least in part on the sensed parameter information. ... An actively heated or cooled portable container, comprising: a portable body having a receiving portion defined by an inner sidewall and inner bottom wall for receiving and holding a liquid; and a temperature control system housed in the portable body, comprising a phase change material in thermal communication with at least a portion of the inner sidewall of the portable body."

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."

Patent application: Modular latent heat thermal energy storage system

Ben Welter - Tuesday, September 01, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150241137 (applicant UChicago Argonne LLC):

"The invention provides a modular device for latent heat storage, which is made of a conduit with a first end and a second end; and a jacket that surrounds a portion of the conduit between the first end and the second end, wherein the jacket is comprised of at least one phase change material. The invention further provides a system for latent heat storage, comprising a thermally insulated enclosure adapted to receive at least one modular latent heat storage device and a HTF, wherein the HTF flows from an upstream heat source into each of the first ends of the conduit and out of each of the second ends of the conduit comprising the at least one module to a downstream heat exchanger."

Patent application: Heat storage system and method for charging and discharging

Ben Welter - Tuesday, September 01, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150241135 (applicant Abengoa Solar New Technologies, Spain):

"Thermal storage system and its charging and discharging process using a heat-transfer fluid. The system includes a phase change storage material contained in a casing that is penetrated by heat exchanger tubes, preferably vertical ones, connected at their lower end with at least one lower chamber via lower sub-chambers which include a series of injectors for enabling the heat-transfer fluid to be inserted in gas form; at the upper end, these tubes connect via upper sub-chambers with at least one upper chamber which in turn is connected to a boiler from which downpipes extend via which heat-transfer fluid in liquid form circulates, located outside of the casing, connecting the aforementioned boiler to the lower chamber, which enables the natural circulation of the heat-transfer fluid within the system."

Patent application: Self-modulating air register

Ben Welter - Friday, August 28, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150245532 (assignee Acta Technology Inc., Boulder, Colo.):

"This invention is a novel air supply register that modulates the incoming air supply from the under floor air duct. This air register is able to monitor the air temperature leaving the server stack thereby improving the response time of the HVAC system. Since the register has adjustable louvers that can modulate the inlet air flow into the server stack; it will save energy by reducing the supply air to the server stack when the cool incoming air is not needed. This reduces hot spots in the data center because the cool incoming air can be directed to server racks that need cooling. This self-modulation of the air register is not available in conventional floor registers. ... [Power units use] a phase change material to move the said louvers through said linkages so that the outlet air of the said air register can be modulated."

Air register patent drawing

Patent application: Transport container assembly

Ben Welter - Friday, August 28, 2015

Transport container patent drawingU.S. patent application 20150239640 (assignee Paradigm Design Solutions Inc., Los Angeles): 

"A transport container assembly is provided for transporting temperature-sensitive material. The container includes a housing assembly that defines an interior cavity that provides a stable temperature environment therein. The housing includes a shell and a phase control material (PCM) within the shell. The shell defines an internal volume and the PCM is confined within the internal volume."

Patent application: Thermal condition of unit loads of PCM panels

Ben Welter - Friday, August 28, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150241120 (applicant Minnesota Thermal Science, Plymouth, Minn.):

"A logistics system for monitoring and signaling the thermal condition of unit loads of PCM panels during a thermal conditioning cycle as between deep frozen, thermally dampened frozen, and thermally spent, and method of managing thermal conditioning of PCM panels utilizing such signals."