Phase Change Matters RSS


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.




Research roundup: Macroencapsulated TES concrete; PCMEs; zinc particles; wearable product materials research; more

Ben Welter - Monday, March 16, 2015

Development, Mechanical Properties and Numerical Simulation of Macroencapsulated Thermal Energy Storage Concrete [Energy and Buildings]

Review of Phase change emulsions (PCMEs) and their applications in HVAC systems [Energy and Buildings]

Use of encapsulated zinc particles in a eutectic chloride salt to enhance thermal energy storage capacity for concentrated solar power [Renewable Energy]

Enhanced comprehensive performance of polyethylene glycol based phase change material with hybrid graphene nanomaterials for thermal energy storage [Carbon]

Preparation and Characterization of Side-chain Liquid Crystal Polymer/paraffin Composites as Form-stable Phase Change Materials [Journal of Materials Chemistry A]

Heat transfer fluids for concentrating solar power systems – A review [Applied Energy]

Research on Expanded Graphite/Nitrate High-Temperature Composite Phase Change Materials [Applied Mechanics and Materials]

Testing a model for wearable product materials research [International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education]

Thermal energy storage shows rapid growth since 2006

Ben Welter - Monday, March 16, 2015

Earlier this month, the BBC published a chart showing the top 10 energy storage nations, ranked by capacity. CleanTechnica's Sandy Dechert digs into the underlying data supplied by the U.S. Department of Energy's Global Energy Storage Database. China (33,000 kW), Japan (29,000 kW), and the United States (22,000 kW) are the clear leaders. No other country can store more than 9,000 kW.

Breaking down the technology by type, CleanTechnica notes:

"Electromechanical sources dominated from 1978–2012, but their share of the pie has diminished. Electrochemical (think batteries) has grown rapidly since the turn of the millennium. Thermal storage has grown about twice as fast since 2006, overtaking electromechanical in 2013."

Biopharma firms urged to get ahead of the multi-use packaging curve

Ben Welter - Friday, March 13, 2015

Stephen Healy, global sales director at DGP Intelsius, weighs in on the future of reusable packaging in the temperature-control supply chain. He concludes that widespread use of such systems appears to be inevitable and that biopharma companies would be wise to adopt them now:

"In an economy where patient safety, increased legislation and the pressure to use reusable and recyclable materials are rising, turning a consumable ‘single use’ item into a ‘multi-use’ logistics asset would reduce spend, as well as create a more sustainable solution."

Research roundup: Encapsulated NaNO3; eutectic mixture with polystyrene shell; energy storage plants; more

Ben Welter - Friday, March 13, 2015

  • Experimental and computational study of thermal energy storage with encapsulated NaNO3 for high temperature applications [Solar Energy]

  • Micro/nano encapsulated n-tetracosane and n-octadecane eutectic mixture with polystyrene shell for low-temperature latent heat thermal energy storage applications [Solar Energy]

  • Controllable Thermal Rectification Realized in Binary Phase Change Composites [Scientific Reports]

  • Assessing the economics of large Energy Storage Plants with an optimisation methodology [Energy]
  • Outlast promises 'more transparency' on range of PCM applications at Techtextil trade show

    Ben Welter - Wednesday, March 11, 2015

    Outlast Technologies is seeding interest in its appearance at Techtextil, still two months away, with a flurry of Web reports promising "more transparency" at the big trade show in Frankfurt, Germany. 

    The company, best known for its use of phase change materials in bedding and sportswear, says it will present "the complete PCM spectrum" at the May 4-7 show:

    Coating: "A high loading can be reached. Nonwovens or knits serve as raw materials which are coated. The applications are wide: Looking at bedding mattresses and mattress protectors, pillows and duvets take profit of the dynamic climate regulation. Coated products are used for apparel/footwear and PPE from head to toe. This application is also interesting for medical products."

    Outlast matrix infusion coatingMatrix infusion coating [right]: "An advanced formulation of Outlast® PCM is finely printed onto flat fabric. This process is ideal for brands seeking a larger volume program using their own fabrics. Outlast® MIC is intended for products worn next to skin and is perfect for the active, casual and sportswear markets."

    Fibers: "This application is suited for products being worn next to skin (for example: underwear, socks, t-shirts, orthopedic products)."

    Filling materials: "There are different Outlast® filling materials (based on viscose or polyester fibers), which can be used for bedding or apparel (for example jackets). They can be also blended with downs."

    Compounds: "Here Outlast focuses on individual solutions for projects. If a customer already has special process technology available (for example a spraying equipment) the matching Outlast® compound can be used. The customer then produces his end product (for example: mattresses which are sprayed with the compound). With little investment the heat managing performance can be easily achieved."

    Patent application: Cooling apparatus using solid-liquid PCMs

    Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 10, 2015

    Patent application 20150060017: "The cooling apparatus includes a pipeline, a housing enclosing the pipeline, and the solid-liquid PCM filling in an interior of the pipeline and a space between the pipeline and the housing. The solid-liquid PCM can contact a heat source and absorb the heat generated by the heat source, so as to transform from solid state to liquid state. The solid-liquid PCM in the liquid state can circulate inside the pipeline and the space between the pipeline and the housing. Thus, the heat is dissipated by the means of thermal convection. Meanwhile, the heat also can be dissipated through the housing. Therefore, the heat dissipation can be achieved by thermal conduction and heat convection simultaneously."

    Ice Energy wins thermal energy storage contract with Riverside utility

    Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 10, 2015

    Ice Energy of Glendale, Calif., has been awarded a contract with Riverside Public Utilities to provide 5 megawatts of behind-the-meter thermal energy storage using Ice Energy's Ice Bear system. 

    The Ice Bear is a smart-grid-enabled technology that will help the California city better integrate its increasing reliance on renewable energy resources like wind, solar and geothermal systems to maintain low energy costs for its customers.

    The Ice Bear system makes ice at night, when electricity is cheaper, and uses it to cool buildings during the day. The company will provide the city with 40 Ice Bear units at a cost of $702,000. If energy-efficiency targets are met, the one-year pilot project could be extended by up to four more years.

    Encapsys net sales up 18.1% in 2014

    Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 10, 2015

    Wisconsin papermaker Appvion reported full-year net sales of $61.8 million for its Encapsys encapsulation unit, an 18.1 percent increase over the previous year.

    Mark Richards, Appvion's chairman, president and chief executive officer, said expanded opportunities with Encapsys' largest customer, the launch of Encapsys' EnFinit microencapsulated phase change product and the addition of new customers helped to increase sales to the company’s external customers by nearly 30 percent and shipments 11 percent compared to 2013.

    Overall, Appvion reported an operating loss of $40.7 million for 2014. The employee-owned company had an operating income of $132.8 million in 2013. Full-year net sales were up a fraction to $809.8 million.

    In a statement, the employee-owned company attributed the results to "unfavorable product mix and pricing, especially for thermal receipt paper," higher operating costs and changes in pension and retirement benefits.

    PLUSS Polymers' neonate cooler wins Plasticon Award

    Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 10, 2015

    PLUSS Polymers of India has won a 2015 Plasticon Award for its MiraCradle neonate cooler. MiraCradle is a low-cost passive cooling device for treating newborns suffering from birth asphyxia. It was developed in collaboration with Christian Medical College of Vellore, India. The device uses Pluss Polymers' "form-stable" phase change materials, savE FS-21 and FS-29.

    Chicago startup NETenergy advances in 2 energy challenges

    Ben Welter - Monday, March 09, 2015

    Chicago startup NETenergy, an energy storage and management service provider, has advanced to Phase II of the New Venture Challenge and is a finalist in the 2015 Clean Energy Challenge.

    "It’s been a busy three months for the Internet of Things (IoT) startup, which powers its intelligent energy management software with thermal storage hardware," writes ChicagoInno's Alice Zhang. "Using phase change composites, these storage units distribute and store cold energy in the form of latent heat when needed, allowing customers to shift their A/C consumption to cheap and efficient off-peak hours, while saving 30 percent or more on overall energy consumption."