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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.




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"


• 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

Polar Bear thermal storage system installed at California winery

Ben Welter - Monday, May 14, 2018

Ice Energy's newest ice-based thermal energy storage system has its first customer: Wilson Creek Winery of Temecula, Calif.

The Polar Bear, developed at Ice Energy's IdeaLAB in Riverside, is designed to reduce energy costs in supermarkets and other commercial refrigeration systems. Like the company's flagship Ice Bear product, the Polar Bear makes ice during off-peak hours for use in cooling during periods of peak energy demand. 

Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins"Wilson Creek Winery [was] an early adopter of Ice Bears to cut their utility bill, and a first adopter of Polar Bears to help them cool their wine-making fermentation process," said Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins. "During the peak hours of the day, the Polar Bears come online and automatically augment the amount of cooling that is provided by the chiller or allow the chiller to either remain on standby/run at part-load, vastly increasing the operating efficiency of the plant."

Hopkins estimated the cost of installing the system in a typical 40,000-square-foot supermarket in Southern California at $40,000, "which would pay for two Polar Bears, fully installed."

Two competitors in the cold storage market, Axiom Exergy of Richmond, Calif., and Viking Cold Solutions of Houston, say their saltwater- and salt-hydrate-based thermal storage systems can reduce a customer's energy costs by up to 40 percent. How does the Polar Bear compare?

"The Polar Bear is uniquely cost effective in reducing peak demand," Hopkins said. "Based on currently utility rates, the Polar Bear has a payback of less than one year in California and about two years in New Jersey, Hawaii and Connecticut. I am not aware of any energy storage including Axiom or Viking Cold that has paybacks close to ours."

Commercial rollout of the Polar Bear is planned for the fourth quarter of this year. IdeaLAB, meanwhile, is working on a larger-capacity Ice Bear, and the company is developing expansion plans.

"We will be entering markets outside the U.S. through distribution partners this year," Hopkins said. "We are planning to raise capital this summer to support our growth plans."

Cost-savings calculator opens doors to conversations about TES system

Ben Welter - Monday, May 07, 2018

Case studies, white papers, product descriptions and “how it works” videos are effective ways to market thermal energy storage systems. But what potential customers really want to know is: “How much will your system save me?”

Viking Cold Solutions’ new web-based calculator can answer that question.

Viking makes TES systems designed to stabilize temperatures and reduce cold storage energy costs by up to 35 percent. The systems pair phase change material with intelligent controls and remote energy-monitoring software.

“It’s a new technology in an old industry,” said Damon Vance, who joined the Houston company last year as marketing director. “We use the tool as a starting point for conversations about what we could potentially save customers. It just helps open doors and start conversations.”

The calculator,, is adapted from a more sophisticated tool used by the company for years to provide customers with detailed estimates of potential savings. The pared-down version asks users to provide freezer square footage, temperature set point, equipment type, condenser type, compressor load control, defrost type and average kWh rate. A summary of the results is displayed in the web browser. The user can fill out a form to get more detailed results.

Vance said several hundred visitors have completed the form since the tool was introduced a few months ago. More than half of requests, he said, have led to “legitimate customer conversations.”

“We’ve got good feedback on it,” he said. “We use it as a sales tool, but it also sets realistic expectations for customers and opens their eyes to the potential of the technology.”

Viking recently installed one of its systems at a Dreisbach Enterprises food warehouse in Richmond, Calif. The system is designed to ensure temperature stability in the freezer space while reducing the electricity demand by over 55 percent for 11 hours each day – from 850 kilowatts to 400 kilowatts – and reducing total electricity consumption in the 93,000-square-foot warehouse by as much as 35 percent.

PCM briefing: Job opening at Axiom Exergy; 1414 Degrees plans IPO

Ben Welter - Monday, May 07, 2018

TJ Rizzo, senior vice president of international operations at Cold Chain Technologies, will give a presentation on "Temperature Excursion Analysis" at the Global Clinical Supplies Group conference in Atlanta April 30.  

• Axiom Exergy, maker of behind-the-meter thermal energy storage systems, has posted an opening for a director of business development.

• Thermal energy storage company 1414 Degrees is planning an initial public offering. The Australian company hopes to raise $30 million to $50 million AUD.

Yusuf Yusufoglu, R&D technology team leader at Arcelik, and Orkun Kaymakçı, R&D specialist at Arcelik, received the "Best PCM Paper Award" at EnerSTOCK 2018 in Turkey this week, according to a LinkedIn post. Their topic: "Application of Phase Change Materials in Household Appliances." I would provide a link to the EnerSTOCK 2018 website for those interested in learning more about the conference, but the site appears to have been hacked; visitors are redirected to a site flagged as "deceptive."

Neothermal Energy Storage Inc. is one of 16 Canadian tech startups selected to participate in the Volta Cohort Pitch Event May 16 in Halifax. Up to five companies will receive $25,000 in investment, mentorship and resources. The Halifax company's electric thermal storage heater is designed to supplement heating systems in residential housing. It takes advantage of time-of-day electricity rates to lower heating costs by up to 50 percent.

• Chicago-based NETenergy is one of 11 energy startups selected to participate in the VERGE Accelerate event in Hawaii in June. The finalists will pitch to a live audience of business leaders, government officials and investors, as well as to a global online audience. 

• New from QY Research: "Global Thermal Energy Storage Systems Market Professional Survey Report 2018" and "Global Temperature Controlled Pharmaceutical Packaging Market Research Report 2018"

• New from HTF Market Report: "Global Cold Chain Equipments Market Research Report 2018"

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]

EnerSTOCK 2018 will feature PCM experts from around the world

Ben Welter - Monday, April 09, 2018

The agenda has been posted for the 14th International Energy Storage Conference – EnerSTOCK 2018 – to be held at Cukurova University in Turkey April 25-28. Speakers and topics focusing on phase change material include:

• Mohammed Farid, New Zealand: "Industrial Applications of Energy Storage with Phase Change Materials"

• Zafer Üre, United Kingdom: "Phase Change Material (PCM) Based Energy Storage Materials and Global Application Examples"

• Mónica Delgado, Ana Lázaro, Javier Mazo, Conchita Peñalosa, José María Marín and Belén Zalba, Spain: "Experimental Analysis of a Coiled Stirred Tank Containing a Low Cost PCM Emulsion as Thermal Energy Storage System. Comparison to Other TES Systems"

• Saman Nimali Gunasekara, Monika Ignatowicz, Justin Ningwei Chiu and Viktoria Martin, Sweden: "Thermal Conductivity Measurement of Erythritol, Xylitol and Their Blends for Phase Change Materials Design - A Methodological Study"

• Laura Quant, Gonzalo Diarce, Álvaro Campos-Celador, Ana García-Romero and Jean-Pierre Bédécarrats, Spain: "A Degradation Kinetics and Supercooling Study of the Urea-Sodium Nitrate Eutectic Mixture as a PCM"

• Catarina Araújo, José André Pinheiro and Luís Bragança, Portugal: "Economic Viability, Thermal Comfort and Energy Efficiency of Phase Change Materials Applied in the North of Portugal"

• Gennady Ziskind, Israel: "Modelling Approaches for PCM-Based Storage Systems"

For more information about the conference, contact

Patent application: Heat storage material

Ben Welter - Thursday, April 05, 2018

U.S. patent application 20180094180 (applicant Hutchinson SA, Paris, France):

"The invention relates to a material including a support consisting of a porous composite material including at least one polymer phase forming a binder based on at least one polymer selected from thermoplastic polymers, elastomers, and elastomer thermoplastics, and at least one filler selected from thermally conductive fillers, the pores of the support consisting of the porous composite material being partially or entirely filled with at least one phase-change material. The invention also relates to a method for producing said material."

Research roundup: PCM-based radiant heat exchanger; thermal performance of PCM roof modules; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Design and Analysis of PCM Based Radiant Heat Exchanger for Thermal Management of Buildings [Energy and Buildings]

A new ventilated window with PCM heat exchanger – performance analysis and design optimization [Energy and Buildings]

Thermal enhancement of paraffin/hydrophobic expanded perlite granular phase change composite using graphene nanoplatelets [Energy and Buildings]

Thermal Performance of Microencapsulated Phase Change Material (mPCM) in Roof Modules during Daily Operation [Energies]

Synthesis and Characterization of Thermochemical Storage Material Combining Porous Zeolite and Inorganic Salts [Heat Transfer Engineering]

Effect of percussion vibration on solidification of supercooled salt hydrate PCM in thermal storage unit [Renewable Energy]

A review of the applications of phase change materials in cooling, heating and power generation in different temperature ranges [Applied Energy]

Experimental and numerical study on the performance of a new high-temperature packed-bed thermal energy storage system with macroencapsulation of molten salt phase change material [Applied Energy]

Energy and exergy efficiencies assessment for a stratified cold thermal energy storage [Applied Energy]

Eccentricity optimization of a horizontal shell-and-tube latent-heat thermal energy storage unit based on melting and melting-solidifying performance [Applied Energy]

Numerical study on the thermal performance of lightweight temporary building integrated with phase change materials [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Thiol-yne photo-clickable electrospun phase change materials for thermal energy storage [Reactive and Functional Polymers]

Highly Graphitized 3D Network Carbon for Shape-stabilized Composite PCMs with Superior Thermal Energy Harvesting [Nano Energy]

Schematic illustration of PEG8000 @ CQDs-derived 3D porous carbon composite PCMs