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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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PCM briefing: Cleanergy to develop solar TES in Morocco; SpaceX has opening for a thermal engineer

Ben Welter - Friday, January 12, 2018

Cleanergy AB of Sweden and the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy have agreed on a framework to jointly develop a thermal energy storage system using Cleanergy's Stirling-based solar electricity technology.

• Applications are being accepted for the World Materials Forum Startup Challenge. Companies with fewer than 50 employees are eligible for the competition, which recognizes technical or organizational breakthroughs in one of five categories, including materials composition, product design and 3D manufacturing. The winning company will receive a 50,000 euro award at the World Materials Forum in June in Nancy, France.

Grace Hsia, co-founder and CEO of Warmilu LLC, is among 14 entrepreneurs in the running for the $1 million top prize in the WeWork Creator Awards Global competition. The winner will be announced in New York City on Jan. 17.

• Prize money totaling 52,500 euros, financed by Germany's National Climate Initiative, is up for grabs in the German Refrigeration Prize 2018 competition, honoring innovations in air conditioning and refrigeration. The entry deadline is Jan. 31. Winners will be announced at the Berlin Energy Days conference in May.

SpaceX is seeking candidates for the position of thermal engineer.  

Pacific Gas & Electric will introduce a new electric time-of-use rate in April. The California utility says the optional rate will make energy use more efficient and minimize peak demand challenges. The peak pricing will be from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Bain & Co. has analyzed how chemical companies can "demystify" the R&D process. Among the three common "failure modes" Bain identified: "strong team running in too many directions."

Buro Happold associate Mark Dowson will speak on the topic of "phase change materials for ultimate thermal efficiency" at the 2018 Materials for Architecture conference in London in April.

Research roundup: Fresh air cooling systems; CuO-nanoparticle concentration; Stefan problems and solutions; more

Ben Welter - Friday, January 05, 2018

Energy efficiency of PCM integrated in fresh air cooling systems in different climatic conditions [Applied Energy]

Effect of temperature and CuO-nanoparticle concentration on the thermal conductivity and viscosity of an organic phase-change material [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Stefan problems for moving phase change materials and multiple solutions [International Journal of Thermal Sciences]

Thermodynamic analysis of directionally influenced phase change material embedded building walls [International Journal of Thermal Sciences]

The role of vegetable oil in water based phase change materials for medium temperature refrigeration [Journal of Energy Storage]

Performance analysis of incorporating phase change materials in asphalt concrete pavements [Construction and Building Materials]

Electric vehicles batteries thermal management systems employing phase change materials [Journal of Power Sources]

PCM briefing: Pitt professor gets $500,000 grant to study effectiveness of prosthetic liners

Ben Welter - Friday, December 22, 2017

Goeran FiedlerGoeran Fiedler, assistant professor of prosthetics and orthotics at the University of Pittsburgh, has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense to study temperature control liners for prosthetics. The liners use phase change material to reduce the body’s tendency to sweat. The study will follow participants over 12 months to determine whether the liners decrease the risk of pressure sores, accidental falls and other problems.

Axiom Exergy has been named to Food Logistics' FL100+ Top Software and Technology Providers list. The award recognized Axiom for its PCM-based "refrigeration battery," now in operation at a Whole Foods Market in Los Altos, Calif., and scheduled for installation at a Walmart store in San Diego.

HeatVentors has won 2017’s international PowerUp! competition for innovative energy start-ups. The Hungarian company's PCM-based thermal energy storage system is designed to cut energy use by up to 40 percent.

A thousand tons of rock will be used to store excess thermal energy in Siemens Gamesa's Future Energy System under construction in Hamburg, Germany.

• Registration is open for the Unleashing Innovation Summit 2018 to be held March 12-13 in Amsterdam. The goal of the event is to  "bring together cross-industry innovation leaders to share information on the latest trends and strategies relating to creating an ecosystem and culture of innovation within an organisation."

• The agenda has been posted for the Smart Fabrics Summit in Washington, D.C.  The April 24 event is hosted by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Industrial Fabrics Association International. Topics include "Smart Fabrics Standards: A Government Regulator’s Perspective" and  "Trends in Public-Private R&D Partnerships on Smart Fabrics."

Maryanne Waweru-Wanyama, a Kenya-based journalist and blogger, offers a fresh take on Warmilu's IncuBlanket. The product uses packs filled with sodium acetate trihydrate to keep infants warm for up to five hours.

Research roundup: Enthalpy-temperature plots; solar wall collector; vertical U-tube heat exchanger; more

Ben Welter - Monday, November 20, 2017

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Enthalpy-temperature plots to compare calorimetric measurements of phase change materials at different sample scales
Preparation and enhanced thermal performance of novel (solid to gel) form-stable eutectic PCM modified by nano-graphene platelets

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

An implicit algorithm for melting and settling of phase change material inside macrocapsules

From Energy Procedia:

Experimental study of a solar wall collector with PCM towards the natural ventilation of model house
Experimental Study of Solar - Phase Change Material Wall for Domestic Hot Water Production under the Tropical Climate

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Efficiency analysis of utilizing phase change materials as grout for a vertical U-tube heat exchanger coupled ground source heat pump system

From Sustainable Cities and Societies:

PCM Thermal Energy Storage in Solar Heating of Ventilation Air—Experimental and Numerical Investigations

From International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer:

Evaluation of thermophysical properties of refrigerant clathrates with additives

From Solar Energy:

A comprehensive study on the effect of hot water demand and PCM integration on the performance of SDHW system

Patent application: Refrigerator with a phase change material as a thermal store

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 02, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170314839 (applicant Enviro-Cool Commercial Ltd., Tonbridge, Great Britain):

"A refrigerator having a thermal store comprising a phase change material is disclosed. The refrigerator has a cooling chamber for containing an object to be cooled, and a vapor compression refrigeration system including a first evaporator for cooling the cooling chamber and a second evaporator for cooling the phase change material. A valve is provided to control the flow of refrigerant to the first and second evaporators depending on the cooling load on the refrigerator. When the refrigerator is subject to a relatively low cooling load, refrigerant flows to the second evaporator to cool the phase change material and, when the refrigerator is subject to a relatively high cooling load, refrigerant flows to the first evaporator such that increased cooling is provided to the cooling chamber by the first evaporator and the phase change material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170314839.pdf

Patent application: Refrigerated container

Ben Welter - Monday, October 23, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170292759 (applicant XALT Energy, Midland, Mich.):

"A transport vehicle having a refrigerated container and system of refrigeration is provided. ... The reefer, system, and method according to the present invention is also related to a reefer, system, and method having a plurality of energy supply units each having a battery, an electric compressor along with a condenser and evaporator and/or a heat pump, a system of tubes carrying a refrigerant, a refrigerant, sensors and a controller, and potentially having an engine exhaust system generator and or a panel having a phase change material."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170292759.pdf

Patent application: Evaporator and refrigerator using the evaporator

Ben Welter - Monday, October 02, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170276419 (applicant Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Gyeonggi-do, Republic of Korea):

"Disclosed are an evaporator, a refrigerator using the evaporator, and a method for controlling the refrigerator. The evaporator includes a refrigerant evaporation unit in which a flow passage where a refrigerant evaporates is formed, and a phase change material (PCM) accommodation unit that is coupled to the refrigerant evaporation unit and accommodates the PCM whose phase is changed according to latent heat absorbed by the refrigerant, wherein the PCM is brought into direct contact with an outer surface of the refrigerant evaporation unit inside the PCM accommodation unit."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170276419.pdf

Patent application: Refrigeration, or thermal, energy storage system

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 31, 2017

Refrigeration TES system patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20170248377 (applicants Upgrading Services SPA and Labor SRL, Italy):

"A refrigeration, or thermal, energy storage system for storing refrigeration, or thermal, energy, comprising a body, closed and insulated, the body being configured to contain two fluids, respectively a Phase Change Material (PCM) type fluid and a secondary fluid, the two fluids being immiscible with each other and having different densities, so as to be stratified within the volume of the body; withdrawal means configured to draw the secondary fluid from the body, and to convey the same inside a heat exchanger configured to exchange frigories, or calories, with the secondary fluid; and distribution means configured to draw the secondary fluid from the heat exchanger, and distribute the secondary fluid into the PCM type fluid, so that the secondary fluid exchanges with the PCM type fluid frigories, or calories, absorbed in the heat exchanger, the secondary fluid having a solidification temperature substantially lower than that of the PCM type fluid."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170248377.pdf

Research roundup: Geopolymer concrete; octyl, decyl, dodecyl and tetradecyl stearates; supercooling suppression of erythritol; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, August 03, 2017

From Cement and Concrete Research:

Mechanical properties and microscale changes of geopolymer concrete and Portland cement concrete containing micro-encapsulated phase change materials

From Applied Energy:

Impact of pressure on the dynamic behavior of CO2 hydrate slurry in a stirred tank reactor applied to cold thermal energy storage

From International Journal of Refrigeration:

Parametric analysis of domestic refrigerators using PCM heat exchanger

From American Institute of Physics:

Utilization of the PCM Latent Heat for Energy Savings in Buildings [pdf]

From Journal of Cleaner Production:

LCA perspective to assess the environmental impact of a novel PCM-based cold storage unit for the civil air conditioning

From Renewable Energy:

A calcium chloride hexahydrate/expanded perlite composite with good heat storage and insulation properties for building energy conservation
Ionic compounds derived from crude glycerol: Thermal energy storage capability evaluation
Comparative study of the thermal performance of four different shell-and-tube heat exchangers used as latent heat thermal energy storage systems

From Materials Today: Proceedings:

Viscoelastic characterization of multifunctional composites incorporated with microencapsulated phase change materials

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Effect of phase change material wall on natural convection heat transfer inside an air filled enclosure
A numerical study of building integrated with CaCl2·6H2O/expanded graphite composite phase change material
Study of the thermal behavior of the composite phase change material (PCM) room in summer and winter

From Applied Polymer Science:

Emulsion-electrospinning n-octadecane/silk composite fiber as environmental-friendly form-stable phase change materials

From Journal of Materials Chemistry A:

Versatility of polyethylene glycol (PEG) in designing solid-solid phase change materials (PCMs) for thermal management and their application to innovative technologies

From Materials:

Influence of Microencapsulated Phase Change Material (PCM) Addition on (Micro) Mechanical Properties of Cement Paste
Investigation of the Dynamic Melting Process in a Thermal Energy Storage Unit Using a Helical Coil Heat Exchanger

From Energy and Buildings:

Experimental analysis of thermal performance in buildings with shape-stabilized phase change materials
Preparation and thermal properties of octyl, decyl, dodecyl and tetradecyl stearates as phase change materials for thermal energy storage
Effect of PCM application inside an evacuated tube collector on the thermal performance of a domestic hot water system

From Solar Energy:

Experimental investigation of water based photovoltaic/thermal (PV/T) system with and without phase change material (PCM)
Heat transfer studies of building brick containing phase change materials
Experimental investigations on stable supercooling performance of sodium acetate trihydrate PCM for thermal storage

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Supercooling suppression and thermal behavior improvement of erythritol as phase change material for thermal energy storage
MgCl2·6H2O-Mg(NO3)2·6H2O eutectic/SiO2 composite phase change material with improved thermal reliability and enhanced thermal conductivity

Patent application: Refrigerator and control method thereof

Ben Welter - Monday, June 26, 2017

U.S. patent application 20170176083 (applicant LG Electronics, Seoul, South Korea):

"A refrigerator comprising: a main body having a storage chamber; a compressor configured to compress a refrigerant; a condenser configured to condense the refrigerant compressed by the compressor; an evaporation expander configured to depressurize the refrigerant condensed by the condenser; a first evaporator configured to evaporate the refrigerant depressurized by the evaporation expander and thus to cool the storage chamber; a condensing expander installed between the condenser and the evaporation expander and configured to depressurize the refrigerant condensed by the condenser; and a subsidiary condenser installed between the condensing expander and the evaporation expander and configured to condense the refrigerant depressurized by the condensing expander. ... The refrigerator according to claim 3, further comprising a cold storage part having a phase change material (PCM) therein and in which the subsidiary condenser and the cold storage evaporator are installed, wherein the cold storage part exchanges heat with each of the subsidiary condenser and the cold storage evaporator."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20170176083.pdf