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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.




Argonne's novel solar TES project wins scale-up funding

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 17, 2015

The U.S. Department of Energy's SunShot Initiative program has awarded $1.6 million to scale up and demonstrate a novel thermal energy storage system that stores solar energy as heat for later use as electricity. Argonne National Laboratory has partnered with Koppers Inc. and Parker Hannifin Corp. on the project.

Argonne reports:

"A team of researchers at Argonne has developed a composite heat storage material that receives and releases heat very rapidly. This material consists of high-conductivity foams that have been infiltrated with a high-temperature phase-changing material. The awarded scale-up and demonstration project will yield an energy storage system that has three times the capacity of the current lab-scale system."

Other SunShot developments this week:

• The Department of Energy and Southern Research signed a $3 million agreement to demonstrate a high-temperature solar energy storage system.

SolarReserve received a $2.4 million award to improve its molten salt energy storage capabilities.

Research roundup: Window-based cooling unit; PCM-ceramic tiles; corrosion and molten salts; smectite; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 17, 2015

Thermal performance of a window-based cooling unit using phase change materials combined with night ventilation [Energy and Buildings]

Lightweight dense/porous PCM-ceramic tiles for indoor temperature control [Energy and Buildings]

Corrosion behavior of stainless and low-chromium steels and IN625 in molten nitrate salts at 600° C [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

District cooling systems: Technology integration, system optimization, challenges and opportunities for applications [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Observed-Predicted Shifts in Thermodynamic Functions of Water Adsorption by Smectite at Nanoscale [Soil Science Society of America Journal]

Preparation of microencapsulated medium temperature phase change material of Tris(hydroxymethyl)methyl aminomethane@SiO2 with excellent cycling performance [Applied Energy]

Molten salt thermal storage market projected to reach $2.5 billion by 2023

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 17, 2015

The global market for molten salt thermal energy storage is projected to reach $2.5 billion by 2023, according to a new report by Transparency Market Research. That's a compound annual growth rate of 24.7 percent. The report estimated the global market to be $266.2 million in 2014. Abengoa Solar, Acciona, AREVA, BrightSource Energy, Schott and Siemens are among the key market participants profiled in the report.

A look at the new GHS standards and how they affect the PCM industry

Ben Welter - Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Manufacturers of phase change material are required to follow the new Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals and must accurately report the hazards associated with their products. The requirements took effect June 1, 2015. Here's some background on the GHS and a brief look at how it's affecting the PCM industry.

Research roundup: Macrocapsules containing microencapsulated PCMs; TES tank filled with different PCMs; graphene nanofillers; antarcticite; more

Ben Welter - Monday, September 14, 2015

Preparation and characterization of macrocapsules containing microencapsulated PCMs (phase change materials) for thermal energy storage [Energy]

Packed bed thermal energy storage: A simplified experimentally validated model [Journal of Energy Storage]

Experimental investigation of the thermal response of a thermal storage tank partially filled with different PCMs (phase change materials) to a steep demand [Energy]

Temperature Stabilisation in Fischer-Tropsch Reactors Using Phase Change Material (PCM) [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Evaluation of cooling and thermal energy storage tanks in optimization of multi-generation system [Journal of Energy Storage]

Effects of Graphene Nanofillers on the Energy Storage Properties of Paraffin-Based Phase Change Materials [10th International Conference on Composite Science and Technology] [pdf]

Characterization of Metal-PCMs for Thermal Energy Storage Applications [Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Processes for Strategic Sectors]

Optimization of solvents for the encapsulation of a phase change material in polymeric matrices by electro-hydrodynamic processing of interest in temperature buffering food applications [European Polymer Journal]

Domestic Material Content in Molten-Salt Concentrating Solar Power Plants [NREL]

Antarcticite, a Phase Change Material for Thermal Energy Storage: Experiments and Simulation [Mineral Technology]

Thermal performance of a typical residential Cyprus building with phase change materials [Building Services Engineering Resource and Technology]

Research roundup: Complex roof with PCM; diatomite-based nanocomposites; seasonal TES; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 03, 2015

Experimental investigation on a complex roof incorporating phase-change material [Energy and Buildings]

Application of PCM energy storage in combination with night ventilation for space cooling [Applied Energy]

Solar Water Distillation Using Three Different Phase Change Materials [Materials Today]

Easy and industrially applicable impregnation process for preparation of diatomite-based phase change material nanocomposites for thermal energy storage [Applied Thermal Engineering]

A Review of Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage Systems [Applied Mechanics and Materials]

Performance of Latent Heat Solar Thermal Energy Storage System Using Various Heat Transfer Fluids [Applied Mechanics and Materials]

Financial analysis of an installed small scale seasonal thermal energy store [Renewable Energy]

Temperature control of permanent-magnet synchronous motor using phase change material [Advanced Intelligent Mechatronics]

Calorimetric and Dynamic Mechanical Behavior of Phase Change Materials Based on Paraffin Wax Supported by Expanded Graphite [Thermochimica Acta]

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."

20% annual growth projected for global PCM market through 2019

Ben Welter - Tuesday, September 01, 2015

The global market for advanced phase change material is expected to reach $1.39 billion in 2019, according to the latest report from Technavio. That's a compound annual growth rate of 20.03 percent from 2014 through 2019.

The report identifies increased environmental regulation and cost savings as important factors driving demand for PCMs, which are used in a variety of environmentally friendly heating and cooling applications. BASF, Cryopak, Phase Change Energy Solutions, Outlast Technologies, Honeywell Electronic Materials and Entropy Solutions are listed among the leading companies discussed in the report.  

“Entropy Solutions is a key vendor in the market that offers 100% renewable phase-change materials that can be used for a broad range of temperature control applications," said Faisal Ghaus, Technavio vice president. "New entrants that offer such innovative and green solutions are growing in the market, and this is expected to drive market growth during the forecast period.”

Research roundup: Electro-excruded microcapsules; enhancing thermal conductivity with nanomaterial; solar thermal energy storage; more

Ben Welter - Monday, August 31, 2015

Preparation, characterisation and thermal properties of calcium alginate/n-nonadecane microcapsules fabricated by electro-coextrusion for thermo-regulating textiles [Journal of Microencapsulation]

Thermal conductivity enhancement by using nano-material in phase change material for latent heat [Saussurea] [pdf]

A Review on Thermal Energy Storage Unit for Solar Thermal Power Plant Application [Energy Procedia]

Material Selection for Latent Heat Based High Temperature Solar Thermal Energy Storage [Energy Procedia]

Visualization of the phase change behavior of sodium acetate trihydrate for latent heat storage [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Financial analysis of an installed small scale seasonal thermal energy store [Renewable Energy]

Experimental and numerical investigation of form-stable dodecane/hydrophobic fumed silica composite phase change materials for cold energy storage [Energy Conversion and Management]