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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.

Two Entropy advisors, Dr. Mohammed Farid and Lucas B. Hyman, are pleased to take your questions about PCMs and thermal energy storage. Send your questions to bwelter@puretemp.com. We'll select the best and post the answers here each week.

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PCM briefing: Pluss VP honored as 'Innovator under 35'; BASF partners with Hewlett Packard Enterprise on new supercomputer

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Ankit Jhanwar, VP for corporate planning and strategy at Pluss Advanced Technologies, was honored as one of 10 "Innovators under 35" at EmTech India 2017.

Sunamp Ltd., maker of PCM-based heat batteries, is one of eight finalists for an Ashden UK Award. Winners will be announced at a ceremony in London on June 15. The competition recognizes excellence in the field of green energy.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise will work with BASF to develop a supercomputer that will sharply reduce the time it takes to run simulations and modeling in chemical research. "The new supercomputer will promote the application and development of complex modeling and simulation approaches, opening up completely new avenues for our research at BASF,” said Dr. Martin Brudermueller, chief technology officer at BASF.

McKinsey & Co. analysts say a slowdown in the chemical industry's financial performance over the past five years reflects important changes in the industry’s fundamentals. One of their recommendations: "Incumbent specialty-chemical players must prepare for further encroachment of commoditization and erosion of their historical advantages when attackers from developing markets gain more experience and become increasingly technologically savvy."

California lawmakers have introduced legislation to encourage more clean energy resources to address peak load. The bills would require utilities to deploy clean energy during peak demand in order to meet the state's aggressive greenhouse gas and renewable energy goals. 

PCM briefing: Sasol introduces Parafol 17; CIC Energigune seeks scientific director for energy storage group

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 07, 2017

• In a LinkedIn post, the chemicals giant Sasol has announced the development of a new phase change material, Parafol 17. The product has a melting range of 20-22º Celsius. Potential applications include building/construction and the transportation of temperature-sensitive goods. The company says the new PCM is commercially available, but it is not yet listed on the company's websites.

CIC Energigune is seeking candidates for the position of scientific director in its energy storage group, which is focused on the research of systems that can store heat from medium to high temperatures. The research center, based in Spain's Basque Country, also has a leadership opening in the TES group's device, prototype and testing area. 

• Want to learn how your company can include sustainability in its business goals? Stanford University's Center for Professional Development is offering a free webinar, "The Pursuit of Sustainability," at 11 a.m Pacific time March 14. 

GreenCE is offering an online course titled "Inspiration Green: Biomimicry, Climate & Culture." The course, sponsored by T. Stern Sustainability of Seattle, will cover strategies used in high-performance buildings to reduce environmental impact and earn LEED credits. The cost: $35.

• New from Transparency Market Research: "1-Tetradecanol Market - Global Industry Analysis and Forecast 2024"

Sonoco ThermoSafe has posted the results of an industry survey on the "current and future state" of clinical trial supplies. Half of those surveyed said they planned to adopt new supply chain technology within the next two years.

Research roundup: Inorganic PCMs for thermal storage; battery thermal management; α nano alumina; more

Ben Welter - Friday, December 16, 2016

A review on current status and challenges of inorganic phase change materials for thermal energy storage systems [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Development of Phase Change Materials for Refrigerated Transportation of Fruits and Vegetables [International Conference on Computational Modeling, Simulation and Applied Mathematics]

Numerical study on solid–liquid phase change in paraffin as phase change material for battery thermal management [Science Bulletin]

Comparative study of two weir type cascade solar stills with and without PCM storage using energy and exergy analysis [Energy Conversion and Management]

Thermal conductivity enhancement of treated petroleum waxes, as phase change material, by α nano alumina: Energy storage [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Patent application: Passive temperature controlled container

Ben Welter - Thursday, December 15, 2016

Inmark patent drawingU.S. patent application 20160362240 (applicant Inmark Global Holdings, Austell, Georgia):

"The disclosed technology includes a passive temperature controlled container for passively maintaining a specified temperature range in a storage chamber of the container for a predetermined amount of time. The passive temperature controlled container may be configured to have an inner PCM layer and an outer PCM layer, with an air chamber layer between the two PCM layers to allow for the free movement of air around all six sides of the container.

"According to some embodiments, an inner PCM layer may include an inner PCM material with a phasing temperature of 4° C. that can serve to maintain the temperature of the storage chamber at a desired temperature range of 2° C-8° C. In some embodiments, an inner PCM may have a phasing temperature of between 2° C-8° C. In some embodiments, an inner PCM may have a phasing temperature of between 15° C-25° C. It should be understood that a wide variety of different PCM materials having different phasing temperatures can be used in both the inner PCM layer and the outer PCM layer to achieve a variety of desired temperature ranges."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160362240.pdf

PCM briefing: Free webinar on thermal conductivity; $8.5 million in funding for Ember Technologies

Ben Welter - Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Thermal Analysis Labs is offering a free webinar on characterizing the thermal conductivity of phase change materials and heat transfer fluids. The webinar will be held at 1 p.m. EST Dec. 20.

Ember Technologies, maker of the Ember temperature-adjustable mug on sale at Starbucks and online, says it has secured $8.5 million in investor funding to date. The Ember mug uses phase change material and a microprocessor-controlled heating system to maintain hot beverages at temperatures set by the user. Celebrity investors include singer-songwriter Demi Lovato, NFL star Ndamukong Suh and retired MLB pitcher Ted Lilly. The mug landed a spot on Popular Science magazine's list of the year's 100 greatest new innovations in science and technology.

Va-Q-tec AG has signed a deal to supply Swiss Post with a fleet of temperature-controlled shippers. The shippers will be used for distribution of pharmaceutical products in the 15º C to 25º C range. 

• A U.S. science and technology think tank urges the Department of Energy to focus on "advanced cooling and thermal energy storage" and other renewable technologies to help the United States retake the lead in the global clean-energy technology market. In a new report, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation says U.S. federal funding for energy research and development lags behind 11 other countries as a percentage of gross domestic product.

SunAmp Ltd.'s heat storage battery is among the energy-efficient technologies used in what are being marketed as Scotland’s most eco-friendly homes. The four four-bedroom detached homes in Dalkeith feature rooftop solar panels, triple-glazed windows and 8.5 inches of insulation surrounding all sides, with 7 inches under the floor and 21 inches in the roof. Developers project energy bills of less than $40 a month.  

Patent application: Insulated storage and transport system

Ben Welter - Wednesday, December 07, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160347532 (applicant Savsu Technologies, Bethpage, N.Y.)

"A thermal storage system includes a thermally insulated storage container and a payload container adapted to retrievably house a temperature sensitive payload. The system includes layers of first and second phase change materials arranged in a stack with the payload container. The first phase change material has a phase change temperature within a target temperature range of the payload, and the second phase change material has a phase change temperature outside the target temperature range. The layers are arranged to isolate the payload from the second phase change material. In the case of biological materials that must not freeze while stored in the container, this arrangement enables a cold pack containing the layers of phase change materials to be placed in direct contact with the contents container even with a cold pack starting temperature well below the freezing point of the contents."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160347532.pdf

PCM briefing: University of Nebraska installing 2nd TES system; Credo-packing cyclists reach India

Ben Welter - Monday, November 21, 2016

• The University of Nebraska has begun construction on its second thermal energy storage facility in Lincoln. The system will chill water at night and on weekends, when electricity costs are low. The water will be used to cool buildings during the day.

Italian couple cycling across India• Do you remember the Italian couple who began an 18,000-kilometer bike ride in June to raise awareness about diabetes? Chiara Ricciardi and Riccardo Rocchi reached India last week. Ricciardi has type 1 diabetes and requires a daily dose of insulin. She is using Pelican BioThermal's Credo ProMed pack to keep insulin at the right temperature. The pair have pedaled 7,130 kilometers so far, across 13 countries, averaging 49 km per day. Their final destination: Singapore.

• The Naval Post Graduate School’s Integrated Multi-Physics Renewable Energy Laboratory in Monterey, Calif., has integrated the CALMAC's ice-based energy storage technology into an on-site microgrid. The lab is testing and evaluating the integration of a variety of energy storage technologies with solar and wind power.

Boca International Ltd. has signed a $3.4 million contract with Differ Commercial Management Ltd. to supply and install BocaPCM-TES systems in Differ properties in Xiamen City, China. Boca says its salt-based aqueous system is similar to ice- and water-based TES systems but covers a wider range of temperatures, allowing for "even and controllable energy usage, drawing energy from the storage directly during peak hour, which ultimately reduces the operating costs."

Sunamp Ltd. has completed installation of its SunampPV heat batteries in more than a thousand homes at Castle Rock Edinvar, one of Scotland's largest housing associations. The company says the hybrid system will save households up to $370 a year each on their hot water and heating bills.

Patent application: Integrated thermal energy module with air-cooled evaporator design

Ben Welter - Thursday, November 17, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160334154 (applicant Thermo King Corp., Bloomington, Minn.):

"A transport refrigeration unit comprising: a compressor configured to compress a heat transfer fluid; a condenser disposed downstream of the compressor, the condenser configured to condense the heat transfer fluid from a gaseous state to a liquid state; an expansion de ice disposed downstream of the condenser, the expansion device configured to release pressure of the heat transfer fluid; a first flow control device disposed downstream of the condenser, the first flow-control device configured to direct the heat transfer fluid downstream of the expansion device; a first evaporator disposed downstream of the expansion device and the first flow control device; a second evaporator disposed downstream of the expansion device and the first flow control device, wherein the second evaporator includes a thermal accumulator ... defined as one or more apparatuses that include phase change material (PCM). Further, the “thermal accumulator” allows the PCM to exchange heat with the environment near the thermal accumulator. In one embodiment, the PCM can be eutectic fluid, e.g., propylene glycol (C3H8O2)."

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/20160334154.pdf

PCM briefing: TES symposium in Lucerne; nanoscale heat transfer conference in Texas

Ben Welter - Friday, November 11, 2016

• The 4th Swiss Symposium Thermal Energy Storage will be held at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts on Jan. 20, 2017. The symposium, aimed at researchers and representatives from the industrial, energy and building technology sectors, will focus on "the potential and advancements of thermal energy storage in Switzerland and Europe." Contact Franziska Rosenberg, franziska.rosenberg@hslu.ch, for details.

• Researchers at New Mexico State University and the Florida Institute of Technology have developed a novel technology that improves heat transfer in thermal energy storage systems without compromising heat storage capacity. Dr. Sarada Kuravi, who is working to secure patent approval and licensees, talked about the technology in a recent video podcast.

• The "Micro and Nanoscale Phase Change Heat Transfer" research conference will be held in Galveston, Texas, Jan. 8-13. The conference will focus on understanding the fundamental mechanisms for heat transfer enhancement during phase change processes. Potential applications include electronics cooling, water desalination, energy harvesting/conversion and anti-icing processes. The application deadline is Dec. 11.

• The specialty logistics company World Courier has introduced a new passive pallet shipper designed to reduce transportation costs and maintain temperature up to 40 percent longer than comparable products. The Cocoon shipper is the first packaging innovation developed by Climate Optimisation Research & Engineering Labs, launched in 2015 to help pharma clients evaluate, validate and select the right climate-controlled packaging solutions for their needs.

PCM briefing: Croda earns EcoVadis Gold Status; case study on heat flux sensor use

Ben Welter - Friday, November 04, 2016

Croda, the U.K.-based specialty chemicals company whose product line includes biobased CrodaTherm phase change material, has earned EcoVadis Gold Status for the third year running, placing in the top 1 percent of all chemical companies evaluated. The designation is based on a company's environmental, labor, fair business and sustainable procurement practices. 

CIC Energigune is seeking candidates for a postdoctoral position in the thermal energy storage group for research focused on materials development and characterization. The research center, based in Spain's Basque Country, also has openings for a lab technician and a TES group leader. 

• Australia's National Solar Energy Centre is seeking a Ph.D. student to join a research team studying high-temperature solar thermal energy storage. Areas of research may include novel thermal processes and energy storage systems; process dynamic simulation and integration; and computational modeling of particulate flow.  

GreenTEG has posted a case study explaining how heat flux sensors can help construction planners better understand how phase change materials perform in building materials.

Dr. Barbara Pause, president of Textile Testing and Innovation LLC, talked about the potential for phase change materials in automotive applications at last month's Industrial Fabric Association International Expo in North Carolina. She presented data showing that PCM embedded in adhesives and fabrics can reduce the temperature inside a parked car from as high as 180º F down to under 120º F over a two-hour period.  

Cardinal Health Inc. will give a presentation on its award-winning packaging solutions at Pack Expo International in Chicago on Tuesday. The Reusable Packaging Association recently honored Cardinal for its innovative approach to ensuring the safe, efficient and sustainable delivery of refrigerated pharmaceuticals. In partnership with Sonoco ThermoSafe, Cardinal switched from water-based coolant gel packs within its reusable plastic totes to plant-based PureTemp phase change materials. The change helped Cardinal reduce product spoilage by 90 percent.

• New from Wise Guy Reports: "Global Eutectic PCMs Sales Market Report 2016," "Global Salt Hydrates Sales Market Report 2016," "Global Inorganic PCMs Sales Market Report 2016," "Global Non-Paraffin Compounds Sales Market Report 2016" and "Global Paraffin Compounds Sales Market Report 2016."

• On the agenda for the International District Cooling Conference in Dubai Nov. 13-15: Steve Benz of EVAPCO will talk about thermal energy storage types and best practices for optimizing chilled water dispatch. Henry Johnstone of GLHN Architects & Engineers will address the question of managing Delta T in buildings.