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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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PCM briefing: Texas undergrads win ASHRAE equipment grant; 1414 Degrees among exhibitors at Australia energy storage conference

Ben Welter - Monday, May 21, 2018

• A University of North Texas research project, “Design of Energy Recovery Heat Exchanger Coupled with Phase Change Materials for Building Temperature Control,” is one of 25 undergraduate projects awarded a 2018 equipment grant from ASHRAE. The grants, totaling more than $113,000, will help the winning students complete undergraduate projects at schools around the world.

• New from HTF Market Intelligence: "United States Cold Chain Equipments Market Report 2018"

• New from Future Market Insights: "Salt Hydrate Market: Global Industry Analysis 2012 - 2016 and Opportunity Assessment; 2017-2027"

• New from QY Research: "Global Thermal Energy Storage (TES) Industry 2018 Market Research Report"

CouchBed

• The retail market is full of PCM-topped mattresses, pillows and seat cushions. Here's the first fold-out couch we've seen that features the temperature-control technology. The CouchBed, made by an Arizona company, is a 10-inch memory foam mattress that’s “made with 100% CertiPur certified ultra-dense memory foam, combined with phase change material to actively cool the sleeping surface."

• The U.S. Department of Energy has announced $72 million for new projects to advance high-temperature concentrating solar power technologies. The high-temperature thermal storage systems targeted by this program seek to achieve at least 700 degrees C, which would boost the efficiency and lower the cost of electricity. Awardees include Brayton Energy, Hampton, N.H, $7.6 million; National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colo., $7 million; and Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, N.M., $9.5 million.

• Under a new joint development agreement, the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy will join Cleanergy AB's board of directors and help the Swedish firm advance its concentrated solar power and storage technology. The agency will fund a “substantial part” of Cleanergy's research and development work on thermal energy storage. Cleanergy, in turn, will be able to test its technology using the agency's facility in Ouarzazate, Morocco.

• A Ph.D. candidate at Delft University of Technology outlines a strategy to maximize the potential of aquifer thermal energy storage and phase out the use of natural gas in the Netherlands.

• Thermal energy storage company 1414 Degrees will be among more than 60 companies from around the world scheduled to attend the Australian Energy Storage Conference and Exhibition May 23-24 at the Adelaide Convention Center. Other exhibitors include Tesla, Toshiba, GE and Victron Energy.

Research roundup: Thermoelectric generator system; solar chimney; novel thermal management system for lithium-ion battery pack; more

Ben Welter - Friday, May 18, 2018

From Energy:

Protection and Thermal Management of Thermoelectric Generator System Using Phase Change Materials: An Experimental Investigation
Performance analysis of a novel thermal management system with composite phase change material for a lithium-ion battery pack

From Solar Energy:

Efficient energy storage technologies for photovoltaic systems
The experimental appraisement of the effect of energy storage on the performance of solar chimney using phase change material

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Improving thermal management of electronic apparatus with paraffin (PA)/expanded graphite (EG)/graphene (GN) composite material
Experimental exploration of incorporating form-stable hydrate salt phase change materials into cement mortar for thermal energy storage

From Thermal Science and Engineering Progress:

Role of Metallic Foam in Heat Storage in the Presence of Nanofluid and MicroEncapsulated Phase Change Material

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Numerical investigation of thermal and optical performance of window units filled with nanoparticle enhanced PCM

From Applied Energy:

Cost estimation and sensitivity analysis of a latent thermal energy storage system for supplementary cooling of air cooled condensers
Influence of design on performance of a latent heat storage system at high temperatures

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Preparation and investigation of distinct and shape stable paraffin/SiO2 composite PCM nanospheres

From Energy and Buildings:

Parametric Analysis of Using PCM Walls for Heating Loads Reduction

Research roundup: Comb-like polymeric phase change materials; energy-storing concrete; building-integrated solar thermal; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 09, 2018

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

Thermal and electrical management of photovoltaic panels using phase change materials – A review

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Thermal performance and shape-stabilization of comb-like polymeric phase change materials enhanced by octadecylamine-functionalized graphene oxide

From Energy:

Front tracking in modelling of latent heat thermal energy storage: Assessment of accuracy and efficiency, benchmarking and GPU-based acceleration

From Construction and Building Materials:

Mechanical behavior, energy-storing properties and thermal reliability of phase-changing energy-storing concrete

From Journal of Cleaner Production:

Building-integrated solar thermal system with/without phase change material: Life cycle assessment based on ReCiPe, USEtox and ecological footprint

From Case Studies in Thermal Engineering:

Magnetically stirring enhanced thermal performance of phase change material

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Numerical comparison between single PCM and multi-stage PCM based high temperature thermal energy storage for CSP tower plants

Research roundup: HDPE graphite composite; PCM-integrated PV modules; solar domestic hot water tank with PCM in the mantle; more

Ben Welter - Monday, May 07, 2018

From Particuology:

High density polyethylene (HDPE) — Graphite composite manufactured by extrusion: A novel way to fabricate phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From Solar Energy:

Life cycle costing as a bottom line for the life cycle sustainability assessment in the solar energy sector: A review

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Improving the thermal regulation and efficiency enhancement of PCM-integrated PV modules using nano particles
Climatic behaviour of solar photovoltaic integrated with phase change material

From Energy and Buildings:

Thermal performance assessment and improvement of a solar domestic hot water tank with PCM in the mantle
Fabrication and characterization of fatty acid/wood-flour composites as novel form-stable phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From Renewable Energy:

Possibility of using PCMs in temperature control and performance enhancements of free stand and building integrated PV modules
Performance evaluation of nano-enhanced phase change materials during discharge stage in waste heat recovery

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Microencapsulated n-eicosane PCM suspensions: Thermophysical properties measurement and modeling

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Numerical investigation of different PCM volume on cold thermal energy storage system

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

Methods of heat transfer intensification in PCM thermal storage systems: Review paper

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

A Review on Thermal Management Methods for Robots

PCM keeps Embry-Riddle’s EcoCAR entry running cool

Ben Welter - Monday, April 30, 2018

Batteries used in hybrid and electric cars work hard and run hot. Traditional cooling systems use an array of pumps, heat exchangers, cooling fans and hoses to manage that heat. Florida’s Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University needed something lighter and simpler for its entry in the Department of Energy’s EcoCAR 3 competition.

The solution: an aluminum cooling plate filled with biobased phase change material.

A team of mechanical engineering students at the school designed and built the plate under the direction of Sandra Boetcher, associate professor of mechanical engineering.

The school’s EcoCAR entry required that the plate use a PCM with a peak melting point of 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees F). To achieve that temperature, the team selected two commercially available PCMs – PureTemp 37 and PureTemp 48 – and mixed them together.

Embry-Riddle cold plateBoetcher explains the photo at right:

“That’s the inside of the plate before we sealed the aluminum lid on it. On the inside is a copper tube. At the time we put this in the car, we were under a strict deadline and did not have time to redo the bending of the copper tube. The copper tube feeds a cold ethylene-glycol/water mixture as backup for when the PCM has completely melted and needs to resolidify while the car is driving.

“I was concerned that the copper tube didn’t provide enough coverage of the area, but that cold plate has been in the car for the past 2.5 years and it works great. Actually, the back-up pump that runs the ethylene-glycol/water through the copper tube rarely even turns on which means that under our test-driving conditions, the cold plate is acting 100 percent passive. The terrible part of the PCM is that it loves to leak. We feel that there has been some leaking.”

The plate is lighter and simpler than a water-cooled system. “It doesn’t take any energy to run,” said Patrick Currier, an associate professor who advises the EcoCAR team. “We’re not wasting power cooling things. This is a totally passive system, so unless it leaks, it can’t fail.”

Embry-Riddle filed for a U.S. patent on the device in 2015.

“The diagrams in the patent are similar to what we have in the EcoCAR right now, although the geometry is a little different,” Boetcher said. “The research we are conducting is still on-going. The applications we envision could be anything that requires PCM – battery cooling, building technologies, etc.”

Embry-Riddle is one of 16 North American universities challenged to redesign a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro into a hybrid-electric car to reduce environmental impact, while maintaining the “muscle and performance” the car is known for. 

The teams have had four years to develop their entries. The cars will be put to the test in a variety of events in Arizona and California in May. Winners will be chosen in 40-plus categories at an awards ceremony in Hollywood on May 22, with more than $100,000 in prize money at stake.

Embry-Riddle EcoCAR entry

https://news.erau.edu/headlines/shape-shifters-lightweight-technology-keeps-batteries-cool-supporting-eco-vehicles

Research roundup: Concrete as thermal mass material; nanoparticle-enhanced PCM; moisture migration in porous building materials; more

Ben Welter - Friday, April 27, 2018

Concrete as a thermal mass material for building applications - A review [Journal of Building Engineering]

Effects of nanoparticle-enhanced phase change material (NPCM) on solar still productivity [Journal of Cleaner Production]

Effect of moisture migration and phase change on effective thermal conductivity of porous building materials [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Fabrication and characterization of poly(melamine-formaldehyde)/silicon carbide hybrid microencapsulated phase change materials with enhanced thermal conductivity and light-heat performance [Solar Materials and Solar Cells]

Research roundup: Solar absorption cooling systems; air-PCM storage unit; cement slurry; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Performance enhancement of solar absorption cooling systems using thermal energy storage with phase change materials [Applied Energy]

Experimental validation of an air-PCM storage unit comparing the Effective Heat Capacity and Enthalpy methods through CFD simulations [Energy]

Controlling the heat evaluation of cement slurry system used in natural gas hydrate layer by micro-encapsulated phase change materials [Solar Energy]

Thermal properties and thermal conductivity enhancement of composite phase change material using sodium acetate trihydrate–urea/expanded graphite for radiant floor heating system [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Study on heat-transfer mechanism of wallboards containing active phase change material and parameter optimization with ventilation [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Life Cycle Assessment of Innovative Materials for Thermal Energy Storage in Buildings [Procedia CIRP]

Research roundup: Fabrication of shape-stable composite PCMs; battery thermal management; segmented heat storage; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Fabrication of shape-stable composite phase change materials based on lauric acid and graphene/graphene oxide complex aerogels for enhancement of thermal energy storage and electrical conduction [Thermochimica Acta]

Performance analysis of PCM based thermal energy storage system containing nanoparticles [International Research Journal of Engineering and Technology]

Cold temperature performance of phase change material based battery thermal management systems [Energy Reports]

Design and functionality of a segmented heat-storage prototype utilizing stable supercooling of sodium acetate trihydrate in a solar heating system [Applied Energy]

Macro-encapsulation and characterization of chloride based inorganic phase change materials for high temperature thermal energy storage systems [Applied Energy]

Parametric analysis of a residential building with phase change material (PCM)-enhanced drywall, precooling, and variable electric rates in a hot and dry climate [Applied Energy]

Fabrication of high thermal conductive shape-stabilized polyethylene glycol/silica phase change composite by two-step sol gel method [Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing]

Performance enhancement of cold thermal energy storage system using nanofluid phase change materials: A review [International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer]

Development of form stable Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) coated thermal phase change material for solar water heater applications [IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science]

Contributions sought for new database on thermal storage materials

Ben Welter - Monday, April 16, 2018

A new database for thermal energy storage materials is being developed within the framework of the International Energy Agency’s Energy Conservation through Energy Storage group, Annex 29 and SHC Task 42.

The database is designed to provide characteristic data for phase change, sorption and thermochemical materials. The website, www.thermalmaterials.org, also offers a wiki with definitions related to thermal energy storage. Both areas are open for contributions.

The phase transition data provided for PCMs must be measured according to a DSC-measurement standard. To ensure the quality of the submitted data, contributors must provide a reference measurement using a PCM provided by Fraunhofer ISE.

Stefan Gschwander, head of Group Heat and Cold Storage at Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg, Germany, said all submitted data will undergo a review process. “If the data is in line with our requirements it can be published in the public area,” he said.

So far, 15 PCMs are listed in the public area. A restricted area of the database is limited to  independently measured materials.

“The data stored is high-quality data which can be used for research, for example
simulation or to design a system,” Gschwander said. “So for our database, the manufacturers normally do not provide data but sample material that is measured from the institutions that are able to measure according the definitions. So far we have measured PCM from Rubitherm, Sasol and BASF. …

“So far we have about 20 different materials in the restricted area and, as we have used it for the development of the measurement standard, many of the materials have been measured several times by different laboratories so that we have a lot more measurements stored in the database.”

Fraunhofer ISE offers independent characterization of PCM, with fees depending on the material and the DSC required to do the measurement.

The ECES is a technology collaboration group that supports the development of electrical energy storage, thermal energy storage, distributed energy storage and borehole thermal energy storage. For more information on the material database project and characterization services, contact Gschwander at stefan.gschwander@ise.fraunhofer.de.

Research roundup: Microcapsule with SiO2-TiO2 hybrid shell; finned rectangular enclosures; glazed roof with PCM; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Synthesis and properties of phase change microcapsule with SiO2-TiO2 hybrid shell [Solar Energy]

Experimental investigation of melting behaviour of phase change material in finned rectangular enclosures under different inclination angles [Experimental Thermal and Fluid Science]

Phase change material based cooling of photovoltaic panel: A simplified numerical model for the optimization of the phase change material layer and general economic evaluation [Journal of Cleaner Production]

Influence of glazed roof containing phase change material on indoor thermal environment and energy consumption [Applied Energy]

Thermal field and heat storage in a cyclic phase change process caused by several moving melting and solidification interfaces in the layer [International Journal of Thermal Sciences]

A phase change microactuator based on paraffin wax/expanded graphite/nickel particle composite with induction heating [Sensors and Actuators A: Physical]