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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.




Plans for Dutch Windwheel include underground thermal energy storage

Ben Welter - Friday, January 22, 2016

Drawing of proposed Dutch Windwheel

A consortium behind plans to build the Dutch Windwheel, a 570-foot-tall apartment and hotel complex in Rotterdam, has agreed to begin development and testing of a self-supporting energy system and other innovative technologies.

Underground thermal energy storage is among the components being studied for the "next-generation" windmill.

"Phase change materials, aquifer thermal energy storage and surface water thermal energy are a few of multiple options for managing the smart HVAC system in a sustainable way," said Gerard Blom, freshwater systems manager at the research institute Deltares, a member of the consortium. "Possibilities will be researched for local energy production (including the electrostatic wind energy convertor technology, solar and residual heat, and heat exchange), the water system, the development of a smart grid, the use of materials as well as technologies to enhance the experience and attraction value of the Dutch Windwheel and its environment."

PCM briefing: Market research on organic PCMs and advanced energy storage; Costa Rica running on renewables

Ben Welter - Monday, December 21, 2015

• New from Decision Databases: "Global Organic Phase Change Material Market Research Report - Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014 - 2021."

• New from Infiniti Research Ltd.: "Global Advanced Energy Storage Systems Market 2016-2020." 

• Renewable resources generated 99 percent of the electricity used in Costa Rica this year, the state utility reports. Hydroelectric plants generated three-quarters of the electricity. Geothermal, wind, biomass and solar sources accounted for the rest.

Dr. Issam Mudawar, whose research focuses on phase change mechanisms and applications in energy, has been named the Betty Ruth and Milton B. Hollander Family Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University.

Phase Change Matters briefing: Cooling deep mines with ice; storing renewable energy underground

Ben Welter - Tuesday, November 24, 2015

• South African mines are using ice-based cooling systems to manage excessive heat. At depths approaching 3000 meters, temperatures can soar to 60° Celsius. Ice provides far more cooling energy than traditional water-based systems.

• Where to store all that intermittent wind-, water- and solar-generated energy? Stanford and University of California-Berkeley researchers suggest putting it underground

• For the first time, emerging economies installed more renewable energy capacity than did wealthier nations last year, according to a new report by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Zeolite-filled tanks designed to meet the solar-energy storage demands of a single-family household are yielding promising results in Austria. “We reached a storage density of 180 kWh/m³, which has never been achieved before in a device of this size,” said Wim van Helden, head of the research project at AEE INTEC

Global wind map features 1-km resolution, shows wind speed at 3 different heights

Ben Welter - Thursday, October 22, 2015

Global Wind Atlas

With help from the Technical University of Denmark, the International Renewable Energy Agency has launched its new Global Wind Atlas, providing accurate wind data down to the kilometer. Previously, global wind data was publicly available at a 10-kilometer resolution at best. The increased detail, plus the ability to display wind speed at three different heights, will help wind energy planners reduce risk and costs in the search for ideal locations for wind farms.