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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: Manufacturing a composite PCM for clothing

Ben Welter - Friday, July 17, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150197678 (assignee Honeywell International Inc.):

"Composite phase change materials, methods for manufacturing composite phase change materials, and articles of clothing including composite phase change materials for temperature regulation are provided. In one example, a composite phase change material includes a cross-linked polyethylene glycol matrix and a phase change material filler. Each of the cross-linked polyethylene glycol matrix and the phase change material filler has a phase change temperature of from about 10 to about 60° C. Further, the composite phase change material has a latent heat of enthalpy greater than about 50 kJ/kg."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150197678.pdf

Patent application: Phase change materials for refrigeration and ice making

Ben Welter - Friday, July 17, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150198359 (assignee Whirlpool Corp.): 

Image from Whirlpool patent application "A bottom mount refrigerator is provided including a thermal battery or phase change material positioned within the refrigerator or freezer in order to increase energy efficiency and compartment sizes of the refrigerator. The thermal battery can be used with an ice maker to aid in removing heat from the water in the ice maker to produce ice. Furthermore, the phase change material or thermal battery may be used with a thermoelectric cooler to aid in ice production.

"The phase change material may be tuned to various temperatures according to the desired use of the phase change material, as well as the location of the thermal battery or phase change material. Other embodiments include positioning the phase change material in the liner of the compartments or in thermal storage units in order to further increase the energy efficiency of the refrigerator."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150198359.pdf

Patent application: Phase change compressor cover

Ben Welter - Thursday, July 16, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150192334 (applicant Trane International Inc.): "A phase change compressor cover may include a first layer configured to provide sound attenuation from undesirable noise produced as a result of operating a compressor and/or thermal isolation of the compressor and a second layer comprising a cavity filled with a phase change material that is configured to absorb heat discharged as a result of operating the compressor and subsequently discharge the absorbed heat onto the compressor in response to discontinuing operation of the compressor to keep the compressor warm and prevent refrigerant migration to the compressor."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150192334.pdf

Patent application: Modular prosthetic sockets with PCM-enhanced struts

Ben Welter - Friday, July 10, 2015

LIM Innovations patent 20150190252U.S. patent application (Assignee LIM Innovations, San Francisco):

"The invention relates to a prosthetic socket for a residual limb of the lower extremity or upper extremity of an individual person. ... The prosthetic socket is an assembly of components from groups of components that include (a) struts arranged longitudinally with respect to the residual limb, (b) proximal brim members arranged proximally to the struts and connected thereto; and (c) distal socket members disposed at the distal base of the prosthetic socket. The socket components within these groups may be modular in that they can vary with respect to dimensions and/or contours, and yet have common connecting features that permit assembly of the components together to form the prosthetic socket. ... [A] strut may be adjustable by changes that occur in phase change materials incorporated in the strut."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150190252.pdf

IRENA introduces 'world's largest collection' of renewable energy standards, patents

Ben Welter - Monday, July 06, 2015

The International Renewable Energy Agency has launched what it calls "the world’s largest collection of global renewable energy standards and patents."

The International Standards and Patents in Renewable Energy platform, also known as INSPIRE, allows users to search and analyze 400 international standards and more than 2 million patents for renewable energy technology.

IRENA collaborated with the European Patent Office and the International Electrotechnical Commission to develop the platform.

“The INSPIRE platform provides a strategic window into the innovation and growth taking place in the renewable energy sector,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin. “It consolidates vast collections of renewable energy patents and standards, which can foster collaboration between innovators, spur improvement through product comparison and help identify partners by matching domestic energy needs to innovative energy solutions.”

Patent application: Thermal energy storage system

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 25, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150176920: "A device including first and second heat accumulators, each including thermal energy storage containers. Each container includes an insulating enclosure containing earth crossed by at least one first line for the circulation of a first heat transfer fluid and at least one second line for the circulation of a second heat transfer fluid."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150176920.pdf

Patent application: Air conditioning system with supercooled PCM

Ben Welter - Friday, May 29, 2015

Carrier patent application 20150135743

U.S. patent application 20150135743 (assignee Carrier Corp., Farmington, Conn.): "An air conditioning system includes a chiller system including a compressor, a condenser, an expansion device and an evaporator; a phase change material in thermal communication with the condenser; an actuator coupled to the phase change material; and a controller providing a trigger signal to the actuator to initiate changing the phase change material from a supercooled state to a solid state."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150135743.pdf

Patent application: Phase change material pack for air conditioning system

Ben Welter - Tuesday, May 12, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150121944 (assignee: VKR Holding A/S, Denmark): "A phase change material (PCM) pack for an air conditioning system comprises phase change material sealed between a first thermally conductive layer forming a first outer surface of the PCM pack and a second thermally conductive layer forming a second outer surface of the PCM pack. At least the first or second outer surface of the PCM pack takes the form of a substantially planar surface having defined therein a plurality of depressions deviating from the planar surface towards the interior of the PCM pack in a direction perpendicular to the planar surface. The depressions improve heat transfer between the pack and an airflow passing over the surface of the PCM pack."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150121944.pdf

Patent application: Insect repellent, fireproof thermal paint with PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 30, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150111984 (inventor Alberto Vargas San Jose): "This remarkable invention provides: a vinyl-acrylic water base paint that contains encapsulated phase change materials of oleoresin from capsaicin or capsicum, derived directly from the placenta of the chili pepper. The paint also has fire-retardant properties, in one of its modes. The paint is also used to maintain the temperature of a closed enclosure, in a zone of temperature that depends on the components of phase change materials and where they can work in a range of temperatures suitable for zones of comfort and cooling areas, saving costs because of less use of air conditioning and heating equipment systems."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/y2015/0111984.html

Patent application: Temperature-regulating apparel with PCM

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 30, 2015

U.S. patent application 20150106992U.S. patent application 20150106992 (applicant Under Armour Inc.): "The present invention is directed toward an article of apparel effective to regulate the temperature of the wearer. In an embodiment, the article of apparel includes a base textile with a thermal regulation membrane. The thermal regulation membrane contains a plurality of system-reactive components selectively engaged heat and/or moisture. In an embodiment, the printed coating includes a cooling agent, a phase change material, and a heat dissipation material. In operation, the article of apparel is effective to delay/diminish the rise in skin temperature (compared to a garment lacking the membrane), increasing wearer comfort."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20150106992.pdf