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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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Research roundup: PCM performance in building components; heat sink optimization; integrated TES systems; more

Ben Welter - Monday, July 13, 2015

Experimental Thermal Performance Analysis of Building Components Containing Phase Change Material (PCM) [Procedia Engineering]

A numerical method for PCM-based pin fin heat sinks optimization [Energy Conversion and Management]

Thermal energy storage in building integrated thermal systems: A review. Part 2. Integration as passive system [Renewable Energy]

Thermal properties of shape-stabilized phase change materials using fatty acid ester and exfoliated graphite nanoplatelets for saving energy in buildings [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Thermal conductivity measurement of thermochemical storage materials [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Research roundup: Acoustic performance of PCM layer; bischofite in pilot plant; cooling vest side effects; more

Ben Welter - Monday, July 06, 2015

• In situ thermal and acoustic performance and environmental impact of the introduction of a shape-stabilized PCM layer for building applications [Renewable Energy]

• Thermal performance evaluation of bischofite at pilot plant scale [Applied Energy]

• Modeling the performance of a PCM cooling vest considering its side effects [International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology]

• Preparation and characterization of stearic acid/olive pomace powder composite as form-stable phase change material [International Journal of Hydrogen Energy]

Annual energy analysis of concrete containing phase change materials for building envelopes [Energy Conversion and Management]

Adsorption thermal energy storage for cogeneration in industrial batch processes: Experiment, dynamic modeling and system analysis [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Tunable thermal conduction character of graphite-nanosheets-enhanced composite phase change materials via cooling rate control [Energy Conversion and Management]

Mg-Zn-Al Eutectic Alloys as Phase Change Material for Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage [Energy Procedia]

Thermophysical characterization of a by-product from the steel industry to be used as a sustainable and low-cost thermal energy storage material [Energy]

Experimental Study on the Heat Transfer Characteristics of a Low Melting Point Salt in a Parabolic Trough Solar Collector System [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Cheaper way to store solar power undergoing tests in Abu Dhabi

Ben Welter - Tuesday, June 30, 2015

NEST AS says its energy storage pilot project in Abu Dhabi could drive costs down for the solar sector by 70 percent over the next five years. The Norwegian company is testing a proprietary concrete mixture to store energy at the Masdar Institute’s 1-megawatt concentrated solar power system.

Molten salt, commonly used as a storage medium for CSP, must maintain a temperature above 275°C or it will crystallize. That requires constant use of electricity. Using concrete instead allows that electricity to be sold, reducing operating costs by 50 to 75 percent. And NEST says its concrete mixture costs $80 U.S. per ton, compared to more than $500 a ton for molten salt.  

NEST hopes to make the storage technology commercially available after testing is completed in October.

http://www.thenational.ae/business/energy/masdars-nest-may-be-cheaper-way-to-store-solar-power

Research roundup: Polyurethane/docosane microcapsules; district heating; nanoparticles; water tank shapes; more

Ben Welter - Monday, June 29, 2015

New Polyurethane/Docosane Microcapsules as Phase-Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage [Chemistry - A European Journal]

On-sun demonstration of a 750° C heat transfer fluid for concentrating solar systems: Dense particle suspension in tube [Solar Energy]

Thermodynamic analysis and performance assessment of an integrated heat pump system for district heating applications [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Preparation and properties of lauric acid/diatomite composites as novel form-stable phase change materials for thermal energy storage [Energy and Buildings]

A New Phase Change Material Based on Potassium Nitrate with Silica and Alumina Nanoparticles for Thermal Energy Storage [pdf] [Nanoscale Research Letters]

Comparative study of the influences of different water tank shapes on thermal energy storage capacity and thermal stratification [Renewable Energy]

Energy Storage Applications | An Introduction to Phase Change Materials [Thermal Energy Storage Using Phase Change Materials]

Assessing the feasibility of incorporating phase change material in hot mix asphalt [Sustainable Cities and Society]

Research roundup: Fatty acid eutectics; cement-based TES; sonochemical fabrication of nanocapsules; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Synthesis and thermal properties of fatty acid eutectics and diatomite composites as shape-stabilized phase change materials with enhanced thermal conductivity [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Study of cement-based thermal storage materials with fly ash [Thermochimica Acta]

A simple sonochemical method for fabricating poly(methyl methacrylate)/stearic acid phase change energy storage nanocapsules [Ultrasonics Sonochemistry]

Compatibility tests between solar salt and thermal storage ceramics from inorganic industrial wastes [Applied Energy]

PCM incorporation in a concrete core slab as a thermal storage and supply system: proof of concept [Energy and Buildings]

Research roundup: PCM implementations for thermal energy storage; PCM in copper cylinders; solar cooker; more

Ben Welter - Monday, June 15, 2015

Different Phase Change Material Implementations for Thermal Energy Storage [Handbook of Environmental Chemistry]

A Study on Phase Change Material Based Thermal Energy Storage System Using Fuzzy Logic [International Journal of Applied Engineering Research]

Experimental Analysis of Storage of Solar Energy in Phase Change Materials Encapsulated in Copper Cylinders [Applied Mechanics and Materials]

Experimental Study on Solar Cooker Using Phase Change Materials [Applied Mechanics and Materials]

An Assessment of the Net Value of CSP Systems Integrated with Thermal Energy Storage [Energy Procedia]

Mg-Zn-Al Eutectic Alloys as Phase Change Material for Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage [Energy Procedia]

Investigation of solar parabolic trough power plants with and without integrated TES (thermal energy storage) and FBS (fuel backup system) using thermic oil and solar salt [Energy]

Research roundup: Fourier analysis; stearic acid and active carbon; eutectic metal alloy; more

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 11, 2015

Determination of thermal energy storage (TES) characteristics by Fourier analysis of heat load profiles [Energy Conversion and Management]

Solar Thermal Energy Storage in Power Generation Using Phase Change Material with Heat Pipes and Fins to Enhance Heat Transfer [Energy Procedia]

Shape-Stabilized Composite Phase-Change Materials Prepared with Stearic Acid and Active Carbon [Journal of Thermophysics and Heat Transfer]

Experiments on a Lab Scale TES Unit using Eutectic Metal Alloy as PCM [Energy Procedia]

Experimental and Numerical Investigation of a Pilot Scale Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage for CSP Power Plant [Energy Procedia]

Numerical Investigation of PCM-based Thermal Energy Storage System [Energy Procedia]

Experimental Validation of the Innovative Thermal Energy Storage Based on an Integrated System “Storage Tank/Steam Generator” [Energy Procedia]

Numerical Evaluation of Multi-layered Solid-PCM Thermocline-like Tanks as Thermal Energy Storage Systems for CSP Applications [Energy Procedia]

Hybrid Sensible/Thermochemical Solar Energy Storage Concepts Based on Porous Ceramic Structures and Redox Pair Oxides Chemistry [Energy Procedia]

Control Strategy of the Module Concrete Thermal Energy Storage for Parabolic Trough Power Plants [Energy Procedia]

Halotechnics CEO urges development of scalable storage-only technology for CSP

Ben Welter - Friday, June 05, 2015

The development of scalable storage-only technology, using electricity to heat molten salts, would help reduce costs for concentrating solar power projects, Justin Raade, CEO of energy storage systems supplier Halotechnics, tells CSP Today.

“If we can build more projects that use thermal energy storage technology for this electrical storage application then people will get more familiar with it. Those designs will improve, the costs will come down, and that will benefit future CSP plants with molten salt storage,” Raade said. 

Research roundup: Storage evaporator for vehicle energy management; Heisler chart; PCM applications in building environment; more

Ben Welter - Friday, May 29, 2015

Modeling Air Conditioning System with Storage Evaporator for Vehicle Energy Management [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Expanding Heisler Chart to Characterize Heat Transfer Phenomena in a Building Envelope Integrated With Phase Change Materials [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Experimental evaluation at pilot plant scale of multiple PCMs (cascaded) vs. single PCM configuration for thermal energy storage [Renewable Energy]

Virtual Special Issue - PCM applications in building environment [Building and Environment]

Synthesis and Characteristics of Hygroscopic Phase Change Material: Composite Microencapsulated Phase Change Material (MPCM) and Diatomite [Energy and Buildings]

Design and calculation of a new storage tank for concentrating solar power plant [Energy Conversion and Management]

Microfluidic fabrication and thermal characteristics of core-shell phase change microfibers with high paraffin content [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Synthesis and characterization of thermal energy storage microencapsulated n-dodecanol with acrylic polymer shell [Energy]

Exergy analysis of discharging multi-tank thermal energy storage systems with constant heat extraction [Applied Energy]

Why CSP's future hinges on thermal energy storage

Ben Welter - Thursday, May 07, 2015

Nur Energie's plan to generate concentrating solar power in the Tunisian desert and export the electricity to the United Kingdom illustrates the importance of storage to CSP's future, writes Jason Deign at Greentech Media.

"[T]he sole reason for relying on CSP is that the plant will use molten salt thermal energy storage to provide baseload power," Deign writes. "That would allow it to compete with new nuclear plants, the development of which [is] still uncertain in the U.K."  

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/why-concentrating-solar-power-needs-storage-to-survive