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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: Ternary hydrated salt mixture; earth-air heat exchanger; shape-stabilized fly ash composite PCM; more

Ben Welter - Monday, October 01, 2018

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Two types of composite phase change panels containing a ternary hydrated salt mixture for use in building envelope and ventilation system
Research on cooling performance of phase change material-filled earth-air heat exchanger
An experimental investigation of the phase change process effects on the system performance for the evacuated tube solar collectors integrated with PCMs

From Solar Energy:

Carbon based material included-shaped stabilized phase change materials for sunlight-driven energy conversion and storage: An extensive review

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Experimental Study of Water Solidification Phenomenon for Ice-on-Coil Thermal Energy Storage Application Utilizing Falling Film

From Powder Technology:

Preparation and thermal properties of stearic acid-benzamide eutectic mixture/expanded graphite composites as phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer:

Experimental and numerical study of melting of the phase change material tetracosane

From Particuology:

Effect of particle size on the thermal performance of NaNO3/SiO2/C composite phase-change materials

From Materials Chemistry and Physics:

Low-cost, shape-stabilized fly ash composite phase change material synthesized by using a facile process for building energy efficiency

From Construction and Building Materials:

Preparation and thermal properties of encapsulated ceramsite-supported phase change materials used in asphalt pavements

From Applied Energy:

PCM briefing: Energy storage projects get share of $28 million in ARPA-E grants; nominations due Oct. 1 for AOCS awards

Ben Welter - Friday, September 21, 2018

ARPA-E this week awarded $28 million to 10 R&D projects aimed at developing energy storage systems to power the electric grid for up to 100 hours, improving grid resilience and performance. Thermal energy storage projects were among the winners. The U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory won a $2.79 million grant to “develop a high-temperature, low-cost thermal energy storage system using a high-performance heat exchanger and closed loop Brayton cycle turbine to generate power.” Michigan State University won $2 million to "explore a process that heats a bed of magnesium manganese oxide to release oxygen, and then passes air over the particle bed to start a chemical reaction that releases the heat to drive a gas turbine generator," Greentech Media reported.

Mark Richards, applications engineering manager at Phase Change Energy Solutions, will give a presentation on "Testing and Modeling of Phase Change Materials for Building Applications" at next week's Building Performance Analysis Conference and SimBuild in Chicago.

• Nominations for nine Scientific and Society Awards given by the American Oil Chemists' Society are due Oct. 1. The awards recognize leaders in fats, oils, proteins and surfactants who have advanced the science and technology of their interest areas.

The agenda has been posted for the CSP Madrid 2018 conference and exhibition, to be held Nov. 13-14. Topics include "Advancements in Thermal Storage Systems with Molten Salt" and "Thermal storage + PV, gas or other power generations."

Ember Technologies announced this week that its PCM-equipped coffee mug is now available at Bloomingdale's

• New from Decision Databases: "2018-2023 Global Temperature Controlled Packaging Solutions Market Report

Entropy Solutions has been granted a U.S. trademark for the tagline "Global Authority on Phase Change Material," in use since 2014.  

• How green is your lab? The EU Science Hub invites European Union residents to submit photos that show how to reduce waste, save energy, maximize equipment efficiency or anything else that makes a lab green. Science Hub will post submitted photos on its Facebook page. The entry deadline is Oct. 19. The winning photographer will receive a two-day trip to Berlin to visit the hub's ARTEFACTS exhibition, where the winning photo will be displayed.   

• Children curious about science will have a chance to chat with researchers, observe demonstrations and take part in hands-on experiments at the annual "Science is Wonder-ful!" event Sept. 25-26 in Brussels, Belgium. The event, sponsored by the European Commission and European Parliament, drew 4,600 participants in 2017.

• The United States has removed 142 chemical and plastic products, including paraffin wax, from the latest round of tariffs that it will impose on Chinese imports next week, the American Chemistry Council said Tuesday.

• The Thermal Energy Systems Lab at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore has an opening for a post-doctoral researcher to assist in the development of thermal energy storage material and systems. For details, contact Alessandro Romagnoli, a.romagnoli@ntu.edu.sg. "We are looking for an expert on industrial energy efficiency with capabilities to run exergy/energy analysis, skills with flow diagrams (e.g. Sankey) and well grounded in current and future technology development," Romagnoli said. "This is a short-term appointment (either full time or part-time)." 

Research roundup: Concrete with shape-stable PCM; carbon nanotube laden with D-Mannitol; inorganic PCMs in metal capsules

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 20, 2018

From MATEC Web of Conferences:

Thermal Properties of Concrete Incorporated with Shape-stable Phase Change Material [pdf]

From Advanced Powder Technology:

Multi-walled carbon nanotube laden with D-Mannitol as phase change material: Characterization and experimental investigation

From Advances in Polymer Technology:

The influence of emulsifiers on preparation and properties of microencapsules of melamine–urea–formaldehyde resins with n‚Äźdodecanol as phase change material

From Materials:

Macro-Encapsulation of Inorganic Phase-Change Materials (PCM) in Metal Capsules

Research roundup: Heat capacities of potential organic PCMs; asphalt binders; novel smart textile; modeling hysteresis; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, September 18, 2018

From Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics:

Heat capacities of potential organic phase change materials

From Renewable Energy:

Effects of microencapsulated phase change materials on the performance of asphalt binders
An improved, generalized effective thermal conductivity method for rapid design of high temperature shell-and-tube latent heat thermal energy storage systems
Multi-objective optimisation of thermal energy storage using phase change materials for solar air systems

From Energy:

A comprehensive study of properties of paraffin phase change materials for solar thermal energy storage and thermal management applications
Evaluation of a novel solar driven sorption cooling/heating system integrated with PCM storage compartment

From Chemical Engineering Journal:

Shape-stabilized phase change materials based on porous supports for thermal energy storage applications
Novel smart textile with phase change materials encapsulated core-sheath structure fabricated by coaxial electrospinning

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Experimental research on the effective heating strategies for a phase change material based power battery module
Modeling hysteresis in the phase transition of industrial-grade solid/liquid PCM for thermal energy storages

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Determination of heat transfer coefficients in direct contact latent heat storage systems

PCM briefing: AOCS issues call for papers; EnergyNest making thermal batteries in Rotterdam

Ben Welter - Monday, September 10, 2018

• The American Oil Chemists' Society has issued a call for papers for its 2019 meeting and expo, May 5-8 in St. Louis, Mo. Topics include new technologies for oil processing; oleochemicals and green chemistry; and advanced methods of analysis, including automation. The deadline for priority consideration is Nov. 1. After that date, submissions will be considered as time and space permit.

EnergyNest thermal batteryEnergyNest announced that manufacturing of its industrial-scale thermal batteries has begun at the company's new hub in Rotterdam. The battery, shown at right, consists of steel cassettes with pipes encased in Heatcrete, a special type of concrete developed in partnership with HeidelbergCement

• A number of prospective postdoc researchers and their advisors are exploring the possibility of remote work, citing work/life balance and other advantages. "The setup is not without challenges," The Scientist reports, "from simple communication difficulties to feelings of isolation, leaving postdocs to come up with bespoke solutions to their unusual situations." 

Registration is open for the 2019 ASHRAE Winter Conference, to be held Jan. 12-16 in Atlanta. The conference's technical program will feature more than 100 sessions and 300 speakers. Five full-day and 15 half-day seminars will be offered, including "Advanced Designs for Net Zero Buildings," "Solar PV & Thermal System Analysis and Design" and "Thermal Energy Storage Systems for Air Conditioning."

Ecozen Solutions Pvt. Ltd. of Pune has won the second edition of the FedEx India Small Business Grant Contest 2018. The grant is worth about $21,000. Ecozen makes portable solar cold rooms for use on small farms. The system's thermal storage unit can store power for more than 36 hours in case of cloudy or rainy weather.

• The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has developed self-learning artificial neural networks for the control of solar thermal heating systems. Fraunhofer said the savings potential, compared to an optimized conventional regulation for existing buildings, is at least 7 percent.

• Registration is open for Advancements in Thermal Management 2019, to be held Aug. 7-9 in Denver. Topics will include thermal modeling, emerging technologies, market opportunities, and thermal sensing and measurement. 

• Mounting trade tensions between China and the United States have plunged global shipping markets into a continuing state of uncertainty. Peter Sand, chief shipping analyst at international shipping association Bimco, said in an interview with World Grain that the trade war could “derail the current global” upswing in shipping, the highest since 2011. The American Chemistry Council, meanwhile, released a study showing that moving forward with the latest round of tariffs would spark retaliation from China that would put nearly 55,000 jobs and around $18 billion in U.S. domestic activity at risk.

Biobased PCM is put to the test at new high school in Arizona

Ben Welter - Monday, September 10, 2018

A pilot study is underway to gauge the effectiveness of phase change material to reduce and shift HVAC load at a new high school outside Phoenix, Ariz.

Canyon View High School, which opened last month in Waddell, features a number of energy-saving technologies and products, including BioPCM mats made by Phase Change Energy Solutions. Two nearly identical buildings – one with BioPCM installed in walls and ceilings, one without  will allow the effect of PCM to be measured. Each building is roughly 30,000 square feet and each has two levels of classroom spaces.

DLR Group, which designed Canyon View, funded the pilot study, with contributions by Phase Change Energy Solutions and Chasse Building Team. During the yearlong study, HVAC energy use and interior temperatures will be recorded in both the test and the control buildings.

Mark E. RichardsMark E. Richards, right, served as project manager, applications engineer and systems installer for Phase Change Energy Solutions. He answered questions about the project.

Q: What factors did you consider in developing a plan for PCM type, quantities and location?

A: "Available space for PCM to fit within the architectural requirements. Also the HVAC loads as well as design temperature criteria."

Q: Describe the BioPCM products chosen for this project (peak melt points, thermal storage capacity, containment media).

A: "ENRG Blanket powered by BioPCM Q23M27 and Q23M51."

Q: How are the BioPCM mats recharged? Using the HVAC system, nighttime air, or other means?

A: "Initially we will be using the HVAC system. The purpose of the study is to experiment and determine the most economical solution. The second floor can do a night purge more effectively since it has large air-handling unit. The first-floor systems are 2 pipe fan coils."

Installation of BioPCM matsQ: Describe the equivalent (non-PCM) spaces in the control building. Were standard construction materials and techniques used in walls and ceilings?

A: "The test spaces are of equivalent construction, use and orientation. Metal frame, with rigid and batt insulation, plaster (stucco) exterior and drywall interior. Roof is metal deck with foam on top. See CVHS BioPCM Test Rooms. These show the rooms that have all six surface temperatures monitored as a part of the thermal comfort analysis."

Q: Describe the two types of HVAC systems used in each building.

A: "Chiller water fan coils with electric heat serve first-level zones and a single chilled water air handler with variable air volume boxes with electric resistance reheat per zone serves the second level."

Q: What modifications are needed to typical HVAC systems used in this type of building to optimize the performance of the BioPCM products?

A: "No physical changes required. We will experiment with building management system sequence of operations to determine optimal settings."

Q: ENRG Blanket is produced in three fire class ratings, Class A, Class C and Plenum. Which were used in this project? Did local building codes present any special challenges in material selection or deployment?

A: "We used class A material as required by International Building Code and look at authority having jurisdiction. There was no material installed in a return air plenum."

Q: Have you used thermal modeling to project the level of cost savings?

A: "No."

DAQ system panelQ: How will energy savings be calculated?

A: "Since we are measuring HVAC energy for the chilled water and electrical power in five-minute intervals we can monetize easily based on the local tariffs and compare the PCM building directly to the non-PCM building. We have separate HVAC power metering for each floor."

Q: Is there anything you’d like to add about the project?

A: "DLR Group, specifically Premnath ‘Prem’ Sundharam, global sustainability leader for DLR, came up with the concept to leverage a DLR Group innovations grant funding opportunity to test BioPCM not previously been done at this scale. This pilot study, known as Thermal Mass 2.0, would not have been possible without his enthusiasm and vision. The Agua Fria Unified School District is also to be recognized for being a willing partner in this effort as well as Chasse Building Team for helping coordinate the installation of the data acquisition system (DAQ).

"The installation of DAQ system was challenging and costly. Phase Change Energy Solutions provided the BioPCM, the DAQ equipment and labor to install it significantly below cost. Dr. Reyad Sawafta, chief technology officer, and Scott Queen, VP sales, should be recognized for their commitment to proving PCM performance at this scale. We should have a pretty good idea how the two buildings compare to each other by the end of the year and look forward to analyzing the data.

"We are also studying the thermal comfort effects of BioPCM by monitoring surface temperature in two classrooms in each building of the same, type, use and occupancy. All six surfaces of each room are logged every five minutes. We monitored room temperatures during construction before the HVAC systems were active and after the PCM was installed to see how the PCM performed in a passive application. The PCM rooms were on average 2.1 F cooler than non PCM spaces pre-HVAC system operation. See chart."

Patent application: Wall panel with phase change material

Ben Welter - Thursday, September 06, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180251986 (applicant Max Life LLC, Salisbury, N.C.):

Max Life wall panel patent drawing"A wall panel may have a layer made from magnesium oxide, a first insulation layer made from a two-part rigid urethane pour foam, and a second insulation layer made from a phase change material. The first insulation layer maybe chemically bonded to the magnesium oxide layer and may also be bonded to the phase change layer. The first insulation layer may be positioned between the second insulation layer and the magnesium oxide layer. The magnesium oxide layer may be a finished surface or a veneer layer may be applied to the magnesium oxide layer."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20180251986.pdf

10-star energy home features 600 kg of biobased PCM

Ben Welter - Friday, August 31, 2018

10 Star Home exterior

All new homes in Australia must meet energy efficiency standards set in the National Construction Code, which includes the option of complying with the 6 Star Standard. Stars are calculated using computer simulation at the design stage to assess thermal performance based on elements such as orientation, layout, materials, insulation and glazing. The more stars, the better the thermal performance.

Victoria’s first 10-star energy home, completed in 2017, is estimated to cost only $3 a year to heat, cool and light. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom home features a 5kW photovoltaic solar roof, highly efficient LED lighting, cross-flow ventilation, industrial concrete floors, under-slab insulation, double-glazed windows and biobased phase change material in the walls and ceilings.

10 Star Home interiorThe 160-square-meter home was built by The Sociable Weaver of Melbourne in collaboration with Clare Cousins Architects. Natalie Woods, marketing manager at Sociable Weaver, answered questions about the project.

Q: The 10 Star Home has been described as “Australia’s first 10 star rated, carbon positive and zero waste home.” Is that accurate?

A: “The 10 Star Home is Victoria's first home to have a 10 star energy rating. We believe it to also be the first home in Australia to be carbon positive, 10 star rated, and built to zero waste and building biology principles.”

Q: What is the home’s status?

A: “The 10 Star Home is a permanent display home – this is so it can serve as an education resource to the public and to our industry peers. We also run our coastal office from the home, which means we can monitor the home's performance across all four seasons.”

Q: Has your company worked with PCM before? How did you hear about it?

A: “This is the first time we've used BioPCM in a build. It was recommended by our consultant Tim Adams at F2 Design.”

Q. Who supplied the PCM?

A: “The BioPCM was supplied by Phase Change Energy Solutions of Mitcham, Victoria.  The melt temperature range is 20-24C. It is contained in mats made of food-grade plastic.”

Q: How much PCM is used in the home?

A: “The ceiling is 162sqm at 2.7kg/sqm = 437kg and the walls 61sqm = 165kg.”

Q: Is PCM used in a mostly passive manner, assisted by natural ventilation with occasional help from ceiling fans?

A: “The 10 Star Home has been designed to maximum passive solar heating and natural cooling – this includes maximizing northerly sun through large north-facing double-glazed windows, thermal mass in concrete slab flooring and BioPCM insulation in the walls and ceiling.”

Q: What kind of feedback are you getting from people who tour the house, and those who work in the office there?

A:When people walk into the 10 Star Home, often from the cold windy Victorian weather outside, they always remark how warm it is inside the home. The team who work in the home find the space is always a beautifully comfortable temperature inside, no matter what the weather is outside. We can't wait to use this innovative product in a client's home and see how it can benefit a family day-to-day.”

Q: What lessons have you learned that will help you improve your next 10-star home – and where will it be built?

A: “It took a long time to get the design of the home perfect to ensure the carbon positive and 10 Star energy rating, so this was definitely a lesson in patience for everyone involved – but it was well worth it! We're still using the current 10 Star Home as a showcase to industry and clients so don't have plans to build another one just yet, however it would be great to build one in another location in Australia to showcase how the 10 star energy rating can be achieved in different climates.”

Q: Have you since used PCM products in any other projects?

A: “We haven't used Bio-PCM in any of our latest projects but are hoping to use it again soon as we've found it to be so effective in the 10 Star Home.”

Research roundup: Shape-stable PCMs in building enclosures; eutectic fatty acid/damar gum; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, August 28, 2018

From Sustainable Cities and Society:

A review on applications of shape-stabilized phase change materials embedded in building enclosure in recent ten years

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Microencapsulation of eutectic and hyper-eutectic Al-Si alloy as phase change materials for high-temperature thermal energy storage

From Journal of Chemical Thermodynamics:

Thermal analysis and heat capacity study of polyethylene glycol (PEG) phase change materials for thermal energy storage applications

From Exergy for A Better Environment and Improved Sustainability:

Investigation of Thermal Characteristic of Eutectic Fatty Acid/Damar Gum as a Composite Phase Change Material (CPCM)

From Composites Part B: Engineering:

Fabrication, morphology and thermal properties of octadecylamine-grafted graphene oxide-modified phase-change microcapsules for thermal energy storage

From Chemical Engineering Transactions:

Study on the Temperature Characteristics of Phase-change Energy Storage Building Materials Based on ANSYS [pdf]

From International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies:

Free cooling using phase change material for buildings in hot-arid climate

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Experimental study on cold storage box with nanocomposite phase change material and vacuum insulation panel

Research roundup: Microencapsulated paraffin; PCM plasterboard; palmitic acid ethyl ester; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, August 21, 2018

From Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science:

Thermal–hydraulic characteristics of ethylene glycol aqueous solutions containing microencapsulated paraffin

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Three-dimensional numerical and experimental investigation of the behavior of solar salts within thermal storage devices during phase change

From Renewable Energy:

Numerical investigation on the effect of different parameters in enhancing heat transfer performance of photovoltaic thermal systems

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Development of a calorific value controller using bimetal fin channel for PCM heat storage
Experimental and numerical investigation for improving the thermal performance of a microencapsulated phase change material plasterboard

From Polymers:

Fabrication and Performance of Composite Microencapsulated Phase Change Materials with Palmitic Acid Ethyl Ester as Core

From Cement and Concrete Composites:

Elucidating the influences of compliant microscale inclusions on the fracture behavior of cementitious composites

From AIP Conference Proceedings:

Simulation and validation of PCM melting in concentric double pipe heat exchanger
Modeling and experimental validation of the thermal behavior of PCM using DSC input data
Thermal behavior of melting paraffin wax process in cylindrical capsule by experimental study

From Energy and Buildings:

A novel building material with low thermal conductivity: Rapid synthesis of foam concrete reinforced silica aerogel and energy performance simulation