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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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CSP storage system has theoretical thermal efficiency of more than 74%

Ben Welter - Monday, January 05, 2015

Using a novel modeling tool for concentrated solar power, Spanish researchers have designed a more efficient storage system employing multilayered phase change material. The CSP system has a theoretical thermal efficiency of more than 74 percent and requires only a third of the molten salt needed in traditional two-tank systems.

The system was first described in "A New Thermocline-PCM Thermal Storage Concept for CSP Plants. Numerical Analysis and Perspectives," a paper presented at SolarPACES 2013. "The key aspect of this new concept," the researchers wrote, "is the inclusion of PCM layers at both ends of the tank, whose fusion temperatures are conveniently chosen to be inside the 'admissible' temperature ranges for the outlet of both charge and discharge processes."

http://social.csptoday.com/technology/research-team-pcm-storage-breakthrough

Research roundup: Slurry PCMs in solar heating system; content-stable composites; TES in cold climates; more

Ben Welter - Friday, January 02, 2015

  • Potentialities of a Low Temperature Solar Heating System Based on Slurry Phase Change Materials [Energy Procedia]

  • Development of content-stable phase change composites by infiltration into inorganic porous supports [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

  • A Review of the Performance of Buildings Integrated with Phase Change Material: Opportunities for Application in Cold Climate [Energy Procedia]

  • The Effectiveness of PCM Wallboards for the Energy Refurbishment of Lightweight Buildings [Energy Procedia]

  • Temperature Regulation and Thermal Energy Storage Potential of Phase Change Materials Layer Contained at the Back of a Building Integrated Photovoltaic Panel [30th International Plea Conference, CEPT University, Ahmedabad, India] [pdf]
  • Research roundup: Thermal energy storage; system design; overview of technologies; porous mullite; more

    Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 30, 2014

  • Optimal Chiller and Thermal Energy Storage Design for Building HVAC Systems [Purdue University]

  • A Numerical and Graphical Review of Energy Storage Technologies [Energies]

  • Lithium in thermal energy storage: A state-of-the-art review [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews] [pdf]

  • Impregnation of porous mullite with Na2SO4 phase change material for thermal energy storage [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

  • Synthesis and performances of novel solid–solid phase change materials with hexahydroxy compounds for thermal energy storage [Applied Energy]

  • PureTemp 23 shows no corrosive effect on five metals tested in study

    Ben Welter - Friday, December 26, 2014

    PureTemp 23, one of 19 PureTemp phase change materials recently certified as 100 percent biobased by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has been shown to have no corrosive effect on metals tested in a study by researchers from the University of Barcelona and the University of Lleida in Spain. The five metals tested were aluminum, copper, carbon steel, stainless steel 304 or stainless steel 316.

    http://www.puretemp.com/stories/puretemp-23-shows-no-corrosive-effect-on-five-metals-tested-in-study

    Research roundup: PCMs and indoor environments; spherical PCMs; silica aerogels; thermodynamic modeling

    Ben Welter - Friday, December 26, 2014

  • Effect of phase change materials on indoor thermal environment under different weather conditions and over a long time [Applied Energy]

  • Prediction of Spherical Phase Change Material Temperature Using RBFNN Model [Applied Mechanics and Materials]

  • Alkylated Phase Change Composites for Thermal Energy Storage Based on Surface-Modified Silica Aerogels [Journal of Materials Chemistry A]

  • Simulation of the thermal and energy behavior of a composite material containing encapsulated PCM: Influence of the thermodynamical modeling [Applied Energy] 
  • Research roundup: Residential PCM system, concentrated solar, PAN/SA-LA/ZMS, heat pumps

    Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 23, 2014






    2 experts on thermal energy storage join Entropy's board of advisors

    Ben Welter - Monday, December 22, 2014

    Luisa Cabeza and Mohammed Farid, two internationally renowned authorities on phase change materials and thermal energy storage, have joined Entropy Solutions’ advisory board.

    Dr. Cabeza, a professor at the University of Lleida, Spain, is the director of GREA Innovació Concurrent, a research group that is developing thermal energy storage concepts and systems for solar water tanks, HVAC systems, industrial applications and concentrated solar power plants. She has co-written more than 100 papers and published several books on phase change material and thermal energy storage.

    Dr. Farid, a professor of chemical and materials engineering at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, is a leading authority on thermal energy storage and phase change materials. He has been working since 1980 on the development of PCMs, their encapsulation and applications, from buildings and cold storage to the cooling of batteries and electronic devices.

    PCMs, the gift that keeps on giving (Part 3)

    Ben Welter - Monday, December 22, 2014

    Here's the last in our series highlighting PCM-related gift ideas this holiday season:

  • Isaora’s Phase Change Insulated Shirt comes in black and navy. A layer of PCM microcapsules lies beneath an ultralight nylon shell. The PCMs absorb body heat when the wearer is too warm and release it when the wearer is too cold. 
  • Lava Lunch boxhttp://www.isaora.com/pages/the-pcm-insulated-shirt

  • The Lava Lunch box, right, can keep your food hot for up to five hours, depending on ambient temperatures. The secret: PCM-infused, microwaveable Lava Rocks engineered to maintain temperatures between 120 and 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

  • http://www.amazon.com/Lava-Lunch-Heated-keeps-Lemon-Lime/dp/B00GSJFB5G

  • Chillin' Brew cooler packs use phase change material to keep beer at “beer cave” temperature of 28F much longer than the same volume of ice.

  • http://www.homedepot.com/p/Arctic-Ice-Chillin-Brew-Extra-Large-Cooler-Pack-28-3F-Degree-1211/205125071?N=5yc1vZc452Z1z0u6es

    PCMs, the gift that keeps on giving (Part 2)

    Ben Welter - Wednesday, December 17, 2014

    Here are a few more PCM-related gift ideas:Ministry of Supply's Apollo dress shirt

  • High-tech clothier Ministry of Supply offers PCM-infused dress shirts, sweaters and even a scarf. It's the same technology used in spacesuits to regulate an astronaut's body temperature: Phase change material absorbs heat when the wearer is overheated, then releases it when the wearer is cold.

  • http://ministryofsupply.com/collections/shop

  • This one would be difficult to gift-wrap and wouldn't fit under most trees. But it looks pretty comfy. The memory foam in Serta's iComfort mattress -- or "Sleep System," as the manufacturer calls it -- is blended with gel beads that contain phase change material.

  • http://www.dealbeds.com/serta-icomfort-insight-everfeel-mattress

  • The Chilly Dog® Cool Vest is designed for use by police and military dogs. But any dog out for a walk on a hot humid day deserves to chill out. 

  • http://store.coolvest.com/rpcm-chillydog-dog-cooling-vest-black 

    PCMs enlisted in fight against Ebola

    Ben Welter - Tuesday, December 16, 2014

    Cooling garments powered by phase change material are among the innovations advancing in the U.S. Agency for International Development's "Fighting Ebola: a Grand Challenge for Development."

    The program, begun in October, is focused on finding innovative ways to help health care workers contain the Ebola virus and provide better care for people who contract it. More than 1,500 ideas from around the world have been submitted to the program.    

    The first round of awards focuses on improving the safety and comfort of the personal protective equipment worn by health care workers in the heat and humidity of West Africa. 

    USAID is partnering with the Global Good Fund/Intellectual Ventures to rapidly evaluate several cooling solutions, including off-the-shelf, rapidly deployable cooling garments now used by military. These garments can be worn under personal protective equipment. 

    Other ideas winning support:


    http://www.ebolagrandchallenge.net/news/2014/12/12/united-states-announces-results-of-grand-challenge-to-fight-ebola