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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: Form-stable PCM; polyethylene glycol/quartz composites; fuzzy clustering; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, June 18, 2019

From Renewable Energy:

A N-octadecane/hierarchically Porous TiO2 Form-Stable PCM for Thermal Energy Storage

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Hybrid solar parabolic dish power plant and high‐temperature phase change material energy storage system

From Journal of Applied Polymer Science:

Thermal and dynamic mechanical properties of polyethylene glycol/quartz composites for phase change materials

From Journal of Cleaner Production:

Using fuzzy clustering and weighted cumulative probability distribution techniques for optimal design of phase change material thermal energy storage

From Construction and Building Materials:

Thermoregulation effect analysis of microencapsulated phase change thermoregulation agent for asphalt pavement

From Applied Energy:

Residential cooling using separated and coupled precooling and thermal energy storage strategies

Patent application: Composite construction panels and applications thereof

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 06, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190161967 (applicant Phase Change Energy Solutions, Asheboro, N.C.):

"In one aspect, composite construction materials are described herein. In some embodiments, a composite construction panel comprises a substrate layer, a cover layer separated from the substrate layer by one or more spacers, and at least one mat disposed between the substrate layer and the cover layer, wherein the mat comprises at least one phase change material disposed in at least one phase change region."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190161967.pdf

PCM in stadium seating: For fans on the hot seat, it's a pretty cool idea

Ben Welter - Saturday, May 25, 2019

Dustin Schafer of Henderson EngineersDustin Schafer, senior vice president and director of engineering at Henderson Engineers of Lenexa, Kansas, first became familiar with phase change material when he read an ASHRAE article about conference room air conditioning.

The method struck him as a small-scale version of a stadium or arena. "From there," he says, "I began I began devising a plan for us to implement this into our large-scale venues we design." 

Schafer developed the idea of using PCM inside the hollow portions of seats and seating structures to keep open-air stadiums cooler on hot days. The concept underwent testing at Kansas State University and was awarded a U.S. patent, "Stadium Ambient Temperature Control System," in 2017. He is giving a presentation on the concept June 12 at an event sponsored by AIA Kansas City at the Center for Architecture & Design in Kansas City, Mo. In an email interview, he discussed the development process. 

Q: How long have you worked at your company?

A: "I joined Henderson in 2008 and have nearly 20 years of industry experience."

Q: Can you briefly describe the process of testing the concept?

A: "In looking to develop an innovative, cost effective, and energy efficient option, we began conducting research on the potential implementation of PCM on venue seats to increase the thermal mass in the space and extend the length of time occupants are comfortable. Essentially, the material could be frozen (the material we used has a freezing point of 70° F) prior to the event, then as the PCM reaches its melting point, it would absorb some of the heat brought on by the human and/or solar load, prolonging the time the space is comfortable for attendees.

Henderson patent application drawing"I led a team in conducting a variety of tests to determine the efficacy of this idea. We worked with Kansas State University and utilized their Institute for Environmental Research to complete our testing. We set up a lab that included actual stadium seats arranged in a layout consistent with typical venues. Each seat in the testing area had 10 pounds of PCM attached to the back and a dummy in the seat equipped with electric resistance heaters that produced an amount of heat equivalent to that of a human being. The layout also included suspended wires with thermocouples to create the temperature sensor array around the dummy occupant.

"We conducted two tests to evaluate the impact this technology could have, each with two test value temperatures, 90° F and 100° F. In both tests we took measurements in an environmental chamber that simulated different ambient conditions during an event and compared both a control chamber and a chamber with PCM attached to the chairs. The tests ran until the effect of PCM was no longer noticeable."

Q: Can you provide a summary of the test results?

A: "In our research, we determined that PCM could be an impactful option for open stadiums situated in mild climates where the night temperatures drop low enough to freeze the material. To have an even greater impact, application of PCM should be seriously considered in enclosed arenas. Because the HVAC system could be used to pre-charge the bowl and freeze the material, this application could be even more significant. Additionally, the cooling result could materially affect the peak load needs for the HVAC systems in these spaces, saving the owner on energy costs.

"We also identified areas where PCM would not make sense a part of the temperature control solution, such as in climates with high winds that would simply blow away the cooled air, areas where the temperature does not drop below 70° F and thus doesn’t allow the PCM to freeze, or areas where the temperature rises too far above the melting point prior to the event meaning the cooling effect is lost before it is needed. Finally, we’ve found it necessary to note that this process only impacts spaces that need to be cooled – it cannot be used in heating conditions.

"We determined that phase change material does have a significant and sustained impact on occupant comfort. While it is not the whole solution, it can be a meaningful portion of the overall answer."

Q: Can you provide information on the PCM used in testing?

A: "We used InsolCorp’s Infinite-R phase change material." 

Q: Is Henderson now working on any projects that include the use of PCMs in this manner?

A: "We are not working on any projects that include the use of PCM."

Q: What interests you most about the use of PCM in building and construction?

A: "It’s a sustainable solution that is relatively low cost. It’s not the end all, be all, but it’s a small step that can have a nice impact. Professional sports teams focus heavily on the fan experience and this is a difference maker when it comes to their in-venue comfort."

PCM briefing: Building Skins conference agenda; tough words for CALMAC and Axiom Exergy

Ben Welter - Saturday, May 25, 2019

• The agenda is set for the 14th International Conference on Advanced Building Skins, to be held Oct. 28-29 in Bern, Switzerland. The Japanese architect and Pritzker laureate Shigeru Ban will be the keynote speaker. Among the more than 150 speakers is Thomas Friedrich of Innogration GmbH, Germany, who will discuss "collection of thermal energy from the façade" and "decentralized PCM storage elements for saving thermal energy." The registration fee is 680 euros and includes the conference documentation as well as meals during both days. Participants who register by May 31 will receive a 20 percent discount.

Mike HopkinsIn a LinkedIn post, former Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins shared his take on two of the California company's competitors in distributed thermal energy storage. "Look at @CALMAC, a Portfolio of Trane - been in our industry forever, good product, but haven't been able to secure utility deals because their large bespoke systems make it too risky to commit to MWs in a location on a schedule," wrote Hopkins, who is now CEO at Bakken Midstream. "Relative newcomer [Axiom Exergy] came to market with their #refrigeration #battery. Good concept but not plug and play. Not surprising, they seem to have recast themselves as a #cloud based power management company."

• Speaking of CALMAC: CEO Mark McCracken will speak on "some of the myths surrounding ice-based TES" at an ASHRAE technical seminar on thermal energy storage in building design in Hong Kong June 13. 

FedEx Express has launched a temperature-controlled shipping solution in Japan, Korea and Singapore. The company says its Medpak VIºC packaging, first introduced in Europe, provides 96-hour temperature stability. The reusable thermal packaging features vacuum insulated panels and phase change material validated to International Safe Transit Association 7D standards.

CIC energiGUNE, a research center in Spain's Basque Country, has an opening for a researcher in its thermal energy storage area. The research will focus on the storage of heat through reversible chemical reactions "in a range of temperature few explored so far (120 - 250 °C)." The application deadline is Sept. 11, 2019.   

Barbara Pause of Textile Testing & Innovation will be among the speakers at this year's Advances in Thermal Management conference, to be held Aug. 7-8 in Denver, Colo. Her topic: "Measuring and Modeling the Thermal Performance of Products Equipped with Phase Change Materials." 

• Thermal energy storage startup NET Energy of Chicago is among 10 finalists for the University of Chicago’s 19th annual Edward L. Kaplan New Venture Challenge. Winners will be announced next week, with the top companies sharing $250,000 in cash, along with $250,000 worth of office space and professional services from program sponsors. 

Research roundup: Night ventilation study; residential ice storage; fly ash and slag cement slurry; more

Ben Welter - Friday, May 24, 2019

From Building and Environment:

A parametric study of phase change material behaviour when used with night ventilation in different climatic zones

From Energy and Buildings:

Development and Evaluation of a Generalized Rule-Based Control Strategy for Residential Ice Storage Systems
Characterization of potassium carbonate salt hydrate for thermochemical energy storage in buildings

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Fly ash and slag cement slurry containing microencapsulated phase change materials

From Applied Energy:

Thermal response of annuli filled with metal foam for thermal energy storage: An experimental study
A scalable environmental thermal energy harvester based on solid/liquid phase-change materials

From International Journal of Hydrogen Energy:

Thermal management of metal hydride hydrogen storage reservoir using phase change materials

From Macromolecular Research:

Multiple Energy Harvesting Based on Reversed Temperature Difference Between Graphene Aerogel Filled Phase Change Materials

From Solar Energy:

Experimental studies on the effect of using phase change material in a salinity-gradient solar pond under a solar simulator

From Chemical Engineering Journal:

Thermal enhancement and shape stabilization of a phase-change energy-storage material via copper nanowire aerogel

From U.S. Office of Scientific and Technical Information:

Prototype Testing of Encapsulated Phase Change Material Thermal Energy Storage (EPCM-TES) for Concentrated Solar Power

From E3S Web of Conferences:

A PCM based cooling system for office buildings: a state of the art review

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Design of MtNS/SA microencapsulated phase change materials for enhancement of thermal energy storage performances: Effect of shell thickness

From Journal of Molecular Liquids:

Investigating the effects of hybrid nanoparticles on solid-liquid phase change process in a Y-shaped fin-assisted LHTESS by means of FEM

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

A review of microencapsulated and composite phase change materials: Alteration of strength and thermal properties of cement-based materials

Patent application: Insulation material arrangement

Ben Welter - Friday, May 24, 2019

Wall insulation material patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20190153722 (applicant Schmetzer Industries Holdings Pty Ltd, Hornsby, Australia):

"An insulating material arrangement (10) is disclosed for insulating a building structure such as a wall. The material arrangement includes a planar backing layer (12), a planar adhesive layer (14) co-planar with the backing layer and a planar phase change material (“PCM”) layer (16) which is arranged between the backing layer and the adhesive layer, and is also co-planar therewith. The adhesive layer is adapted to secure the material arrangement to the structure in a fitted condition in which the adhesive layer is contacted with the building structure. The PCM layer is formed of a silicone foam polymer that is impregnated in some embodiments with micro-encapsulated phase change material in the form of beads, shells or granules, and in another arrangement, the PCM layer can also comprise a silicone foam polymer that is impregnated with a phase change material which is absorbed into an amount of porous, inorganic, finely-sized particulate solids (a so-called “bound PCM”)."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20190153722.pdf

Research roundup: Zinc oxide coating; TEG-PCM power enhancement; graphen-oxide aerogel beads; more

Ben Welter - Friday, May 10, 2019

From Advanced Materials Interfaces:

Doubly Coated, Organic–Inorganic Paraffin Phase Change Materials: Zinc Oxide Coating of Hermetically Encapsulated Paraffins

From Applied Energy:

Efficiency analysis and experimental validation of the ocean thermal energy conversion with phase change material for underwater vehicle
A numerical and experimental analysis of an integrated TEG-PCM power enhancement system for photovoltaic cells
Molten salt selection methodology for medium temperature liquid air energy storage application

From Applied Energy Materials:

Graphene-Oxide Aerogel Beads Filled with Phase Change Material for Latent Heat Storage and Release

From Journal of Wuhan University of Technology:

Effect of Modified Vermiculite on the Interface of a Capric Acid-expanded Vermiculite Composite Phase Change Material with Phase Transition Kinetics

From Journal of Molecular Liquids:

Numerical simulation of the melting process of nanostructured based colloidal suspensions phase change materials including the effect of the transport of the particles

From Fibers and Polymers:

Encapsulated Phase Change Material Embedded by Graphene Powders for Smart and Flexible Thermal Response

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Influence of orientation on thermal performance of shell and tube latent heat storage unit

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Development and validation of the numerical model of an innovative PCM based thermal storage system

From 2nd International Conference on Power, Energy and Environment:

Feasibility Study of the Application of a Latent Heat Storage in a Solar Dryer for Drying Green Chili

From Solar Energy:

Tetradecyl oxalate and octadecyl oxalate as novel phase change materials for thermal energy storage
An analytical and comparative study of the charging and discharging processes in a latent heat thermal storage tank for solar water heater system
Effect of alkaline pH on formation of lauric acid/SiO2 nanocapsules via sol-gel process for solar energy storage

From Journal of Applied Polymer Science:

Preparation and characterization of paraffin microcapsules for energy‐saving applications

From Energy:

Flexible heatsink based on a phase-change material for a wearable thermoelectric generator

From Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology:

Superior Form-Stable Phase Change Material Made with Graphene-Connected Carbon Nanofibers and Fatty Acid Eutectics

From Construction and Building Materials:

Thermal and rheological characterization of bitumen modified with microencapsulated phase change materials

From Thermochimica Acta:

Development of spherical α-Al2O3-based composite phase change materials (PCMs) and its utilization in thermal storage building materials

From Journal of Power Sources:

Thermophysical properties of trimethylolethane (TME) hydrate as phase change material for cooling lithium-ion battery in electric vehicle

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Applications of cascaded phase change materials in solar water collector storage tanks: A review
Thermal conductivity enhancement of hydrated salt phase change materials employing copper foam as the supporting material

Research roundup: Spherical encapsulation; thermal therapy respirator; nanoporous composite; PCM effect on cement; more

Ben Welter - Friday, May 03, 2019

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Performance comparison of four spherically encapsulated phase change materials for medium temperature domestic applications

From International Journal of Thermal Sciences:

Exploration of a thermal therapy respirator by introducing a composite phase change block into a commercial mask

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

Review on nanoporous composite phase change materials: Fabrication, characterization, enhancement and molecular simulation

From Sci:

The Effect of Phase Change Materials on the Physical, Thermal and Mechanical Properties of Cement 

From Applied Energy:

High energy-density and power-density thermal storage prototype with hydrated salt for hot water and space heating

From Journal of Thermal Science and Engineering Applications:

Thermal Cycling of Calcium Chloride Hexahydrate With Strontium Chloride as a Phase Change Material for Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage Applications in a Nondifferential Scanning Calorimeter Set-Up
Numerical Investigation of Scheffler Concentrator Receiver for Steam Generation Using Phase Change Material

From IntechOpen:

Solar Thermal Energy Storage Using Paraffins as Phase Change Materials for Air Conditioning in the Built Environment

From Reactive and Functional Polymers:

Design and fabrication of pH-responsive microencapsulated phase change materials for multipurpose applications

From Advances in Fluid and Thermal Engineering:

Experimental Investigation on a Solar Thermal Energy Packed Bed Sensible Heat Storage Combined with Latent Heat Storage

From Bulletin of Materials Science:

Development of an acetanilide/benzoic acid eutectic phase change material based thermal energy storage unit for a passive water heating system

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Solidification performance of a latent heat storage unit with innovative longitudinal triangular fins

Research roundup: PCM use in mortars; compatibility with selected plastics; myo-inositol sugar alcohol; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, April 23, 2019

From Materials:

Phase Change Materials for Energy Efficiency in Buildings and Their Use in Mortars

From Polymer Testing:
From Renewable Energy:


From Molecules:

From Applied Energy:

Natural convection during melting in vertical finned tube latent thermal energy storage systems
Year-round performance analysis of a photovoltaic panel coupled with phase change material

From Energy Procedia:

A Review of the Performance of Buildings Integrated with Phase Change Material: Opportunities for Application in Cold Climate

From Journal of Applied Polymer Science:

Encapsulation of polar phase change materials via multiemulsification and crosslinking method and its application in building

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Thermal performance of shell and tube latent heat storage unit: Comparative assessment of horizontal and vertical orientation
Experimental investigation of phase change in a multitube heat exchanger

From Chemistry Select:

Preparation and Thermal Properties of Stearic Acid/n‐Octadecane Binary Eutectic Mixture as Phase Change Materials for Energy Storage

From Journal of Materials Research:

Synthesis of novel shape-stabilized phase change materials with high latent heat and low supercooling degree for thermal energy storage

From Science of Advanced Materials:

Fabrication and Performance of Polyurethane/Polyurea Microencapsulated Phase Change Materials with Isophorone Diisocyanate via Interfacial Polymerization
Design and Analysis of Battery Box Based on Graphite-Phase Change Material and Air Cooling

From Experimental Techniques:

Design, Build, and Test a Hybrid Cooling System for Crash Helmet

From Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry:

Capric acid/intercalated diatomite as form-stable composite phase change material for thermal energy storage
Preparation and thermal performances of microencapsulated phase change materials with a nano-Al2O3-doped shell

PCM briefing: Ice Energy signs distribution deal; Bloom joins Sunamp as board chairman

Ben Welter - Monday, April 22, 2019

Ice Energy of Santa Barbara, Calif., has reached distribution agreements with four California companies to sell, install and maintain its ice-based thermal storage system, the Ice Bear 20. The companies are Correy Baker Heating and Air of Murrieta; Emery Mechanical Engineering of San Diego; H3 of Santa Barbara; and SunRize Mechanical of Temecula. “This distribution network will enable us to further expand our footprint in the residential market in Southern California,” said Marcel Christians, co-COO of Ice Energy.

Sonoco ThermoSafe and AirBridgeCargo Airlines have announced a global partnership agreement for the leasing of the PharmaPort 360 temperature-controlled shipping container. The agreement will enable pharmaceutical shippers to lease PharmaPort 360 containers directly from AirBridgeCargo.

Martin Bloom• Thermal battery maker Sunamp Ltd. of Scotland has appointed Martin Bloom as chairman of the board. Bloom, right, has extensive experience in high-growth technology and renewable energy companies, including Chinese solar company Renesola and Loughborough-based fuel cell specialist Intelligent Energy. Bloom succeeds Sunamp’s founding chairman, Bob Pettigrew, who oversaw its early growth.

Nominations are being accepted for the 2019 Poncelet Prize for Innovation in Microencapsulation, co-sponsored by Procter & Gamble and the Bioencapsulation Research Group. The award recognizes innovation in process design and modernization; development of new core and shell materials; innovation in characterization methods; or innovation in emerging fields of applications. The deadline for submitting nominations is May 31, 2019.

Peli BioThermal is rebranding its Chronos temperature-controlled shippers. CoolGuard PCM will replace Chronos Express, and CoolGuard Advance will replace Chronos Advance. The CoolGuard shippers will offer configurations with fewer components and additional temperature set points, such as 16º C.

• Registration is open for "Phase Change Material & Passive Cooling in Large Venues," a lunch-hour presentation by Henderson Engineers. The free event, sponsored by AIA Kansas City, will be held June 12 at the Center for Architecture & Design in Kansas City, Mo.

Axiotherm GmbH's kraftBoxx thermal energy storage system is a finalist for a Smarter E Award in the renewable energy category. KraftBoxx is a joint development with Klara Energy and Tuxhorn within the scope of the PCM-based HeatSel product line marketed by Axiotherm. Winners will be announced May 15 in Munich.

• PCM expert Harald Mehling's new book is available on Amazon: "Understanding the Basics of Energy: An Introduction from Simple to Complex Situations."

Tempur-Pedic of Lexington, Ky., says its new TEMPUR-breeze mattress will help sleepers "stay up to 8 degrees F cooler through the night." According to Tempur-Pedic: "At about 80°F, the molecules within TEMPUR-breeze’s most efficient Phase Change Material (PCM) to-date, PURECOOL+, activate, shifting from a solid to a liquid to absorb massive amounts of heat. For the first time, Tempur-Pedic’s scientists successfully altered these proprietary molecules to deliver more phase change material, increasing its capacity to absorb heat by 2x compared to other PCM."

• Two new ASHRAE publications will be available in June: "Owner’s Guide for Buildings Served by District Cooling" and an updated edition of the "District Cooling Guide" for designers and building owners around the world.

• Researchers at Sweden's KTH Royal Institute of Technology have developed a polyethylene glycol-infused wood material that could be used to make windows that absorb heat during the day and release it into the home at night. The researchers are working to increase the heat storage capacity of the transparent wood, Smithsonian.com reports.