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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 monthly PCM newsletter. Or join the discussion on LinkedIn.




PCM briefing: ThermoSafe-ACL Airshop agreement; new CEO at Phase Change Energy Solutions

Ben Welter - Sunday, September 06, 2020

Pegasus ULDSonoco ThermoSafe and ACL Airshop have announced a global agreementfor the handling and repair of ThermoSafe’s Pegasus ULD bulk temperature-controlled containers ACL Airshop, of Greenville, S.C., provides cargo support equipment and logistics solutions for airlines and air cargo carriers. Sonoco says the unit load device is made of composite materials that are lighter and more damage-resistant than traditional metal containers. It uses a gelled phase change material to maintain pharmaceutical-safe temperatures for five days or more, depending on the PCM used.

Has long-term thermal energy storage come of age? That's the premise of a recent advertorial sponsored by Viking Cold Solutions on Greentech Media's website. The Houston company says its PCM-based system, designed for use in cold storage facilities, stores enough energy to cycle off refrigeration for up to 13 hours per day and reduce energy consumption by more than 25 percent. Not much new in the article, but the reader comment section might be of interest to people who are familiar with the technology.

• A cycling club in Great Britain teamed up with Peli BioThermal this summer to deliver temperature-sensitive prescriptions to housebound people. The company supplied Banbury Star Cyclists with CrÄ“do ProMed temperature-controlled medical transport bags. The PCM-equipped bags are designed to transport pharmaceutical samples and medical supply payloads within two ranges, 2-8°C and 15-25°C.

Phase Change Energy Solutions of Asheboro, N.C., has a new chief executive officer. Govi Rao, co-founder and managing partner at CARBON Group Global, joined the company in April. His predecessor, Dennis McGill, had held the position since December 2018.

Sunamp Ltd. of Scotland has raised 4.5 million pounds in a Series A financing round led by Chilean venture capital firm Aurus Capital. Sunamp says it will use the funds to support commercial scaling in the United Kingdom and expansion in Central Europe, Asia and North America.

• The 15th Conference on Advanced Building Skins will be held as scheduled Oct. 26-27 in Bern, Switzerland. "In the unlikely event that the conference will not take place, or the participant may not be able to travel," organizers say, "paid registration will be credited to our conference next year." The 12 sessions, with over 70 presentations, will also be available online.

• A four-man canoe team put Glacier Tek's PCM-powered cooling vests to the test last month at the Missouri 340, a 340-mile paddle race from Kansas City to St. Charles, Mo. Team Mississippi, led by Scott Miller, 44, of Minneapolis, finished 11th overall in the race, completing the course in 44 hours, 38 minutes. The race drew more than 350 entries. Team members used the vests to cool down at checkpoints. Miller, second from left in the photo, plans to use the vests to battle the heat in the Great Alabama 650, which bills itself as the world's longest annual paddle race. That event begins Sept. 26 on the Coosa River in northern Alabama.

Research roundup: Hysteresis; reflective roof coating; optimizing energy balance of nearly zero energy buildings; more

Ben Welter - Monday, August 31, 2020

From Journal of Molecular Liquids:

The research progress on phase change hysteresis affecting the thermal characteristics of PCMs: A review

From Journal of Building Engineering:

Thermal behavior of a phase change material in a building roof with and without reflective coating in a warm humid zone

From Renewable Energy:

A comprehensive study on thermal storage characteristics of nano-CeO2 embedded phase change material and its influence on the performance of evacuated tube solar water heater

From Sustainable Cities and Society:

Numerical analysis of phase change materials for optimizing the energy balance of a nearly zero energy building

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Multi-objective optimization of cooling and heating loads in residential buildings integrated with phase change materials using the artificial neural network and genetic algorithm
Assessing corrosive behaviour of commercial phase change materials in the 21–25 ºC temperature range
Exergy and economic analyses of nanoparticle-enriched phase change material in an air heat exchanger for cooling of residential buildings
Experimental and numerical investigation on enhancing heat transfer performance of a phase change thermal storage tank
The effect of ultraviolet coating on containment and fire hazards of phase change materials impregnated wood structure

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Application of granular materials for void space reduction within packed bed thermal energy storage system filled with macro-encapsulated phase change materials

From Chemical Engineering Journal:

Simultaneous solar-thermal energy harvesting and storage via shape stabilized salt hydrate phase change material

From Solar Energy:

Characterization and cooling effect of a novel cement-based composite phase change material
Effect of polymer-derived silicon carbonitride on thermal performances of polyethylene glycol based composite phase change materials

From Case Studies in Thermal Engineering:

Effect of porosity and pore density of copper foam on thermal performance of the paraffin-copper foam composite Phase-Change Material

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

A critical assessment on synergistic improvement in PCM based thermal batteries

From Journal of Energy Resources Technology:

Experimental Analysis of Salt Hydrate Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage System With Porous Aluminum Fabric and Salt Hydrate as Phase Change Material With Enhanced Stability and Supercooling

From Energy Sources:

Experimental study on thermal management and performance improvement of solar PV panel cooling using form stable phase change material
Experimental investigation of thermal performance of indirect mode solar dryer with phase change material for banana slices

From Aalto University:

Experimental design and investigation on a thermal energy storage system using phase change materials [thesis]

From Journal of Applied Physics:

Development of eco-sustainable plasters with thermal energy storage capability

From Chemical Engineering Transactions:

Thermal Performance of Phase Change Material Wallboard with Typical Structure: Artificial Controlled Condition Experimental Investigation

From Materials Research Express:

Fabrication of thermal energy storage wood based on graphene aerogel encapsulated polyethylene glycol as phase change material
Preparation and characterization of acrylic resin encapsulated n-dodecanol microcapsule phase change material

From ACS Sustainable Chemical Engineering:

Synthesis and Characterization of Fatty Acid Amides from Commercial Vegetable Oils and Primary Alkyl Amines for Phase Change Material Applications

From Carbohydrate Polymers:

Fibrous form-stable phase change materials with high thermal conductivity fabricated by interfacial polyelectrolyte complex spinning

From Materials Today: Proceedings:

Effect of various phase change materials (paraffin wax/hydrogenated vegetable oil) packed in a fabricated shell and tube type heat exchanger

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Composite phase change materials with heat transfer self-enhancement for thermal energy storage
Novel network structural PEG/PAA/SiO2 composite phase change materials with strong shape stability for storing thermal energy

From International Journal of Refrigeration:

Improving the performance of household refrigerating appliances through the integration of phase change materials in the context of the new global refrigerator standard IEC 62552:2015

From Advances in Colloid and Interface Science:

Nanoencapsulation of phase change materials (PCMs) and their applications in various fields for energy storage and management

From Building and Environment:

Space heating performance of novel ventilated mortar blocks integrated with phase change material for floor heating

From Energy:

A promising form-stable phase change material composed of C/SiO2 aerogel and palmitic acid with large latent heat as short-term thermal insulation

From Journal of Cleaner Production:

Enhanced thermal storage capacity of paraffin/diatomite composite using oleophobic modification

From International Conference on Renewable Energies for Developing Countries:

Storage efficiency of paraffin-LDPE-MWCNT phase change material for industrial building applications

Patent application: Refrigerator with phase change material

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 14, 2020

U.S. patent application 20200011583 (applicant LG Electronics Inc., Seoul, South Korea):

Patent drawing of LG refrigerator"A refrigerator includes a cabinet, a first inner case that defines a freezing compartment, a second inner case that defines a refrigerating compartment, a thermal siphon unit that is configured to carry a working fluid for heat transfer and that has a closed loop shape that includes a first part arranged at an outer side of the first inner case and a second part arranged at an outer side of the second inner case, and a cool air storage unit arranged in a space partitioned in the first inner case. The cool air storage unit is configured to accommodate cool air of the freezing compartment and transfer the cool air to the first part of the thermal siphon unit arranged outside of the first inner case. ... [The] cool air storage unit [shown above] includes a housing that defines an external appearance of the cool air storage unit and that is configured to store a phase change material."

PCM briefing: Lineup set for TES forum in Duesseldorf; CIC Energigune joins European research network

Ben Welter - Friday, June 21, 2019

Christoph Rathgeber of ZAE Bayern and Michael Andretzky of the University of Duisburg-Essen are among the speakers at next week's Thermal Energy Storage Forum in Dusseldorf, Germany. The forum will focus on the use of thermal storage in industrial processes. Rathgeber's topic is "Economy of thermal energy storage." Andretzky's topic: "PCM in buffer tank for CHPs."

Crystallize bubble• Another frosty gem from Physics Today: "Bubbles freeze in a swirl of ice crystals"

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy has launched an electric thermal energy storage system designed to store large quantities of energy cost-effectively. The pilot plant in Hamburg can store up to 130 MWh of thermal energy for a week. It uses a steam turbine to convert stored energy into electricity. 

CIC Energigune, a thermal energy storage research center in Spain's Basque Country, has joined the ALISTORE-ERI network. The European network brings together 20 research centers and 12 companies engaged in advanced energy storage research.

Viking Cold Solutions of Houston has made Food Logistics' list of Top Green Providers 2019. Viking was honored in two categories, refrigeration and alternative fuels &  energy. The company says its PCM-based thermal storage system, designed for use in cold storage facilities, can reduce energy consumption by more than 25 percent.

Cryopak, a maker of insulated shipping containers, gel packs and phase change materials, says it is taking steps toward reducing its carbon footprint with the launch of a new line of shipping solutions. The company, based in Edison, N.J. says its R3 Service Program "minimizes the need for insulation materials, phase change solutions, bottles and their necessary disposal by handling the coordination of container delivery, reverse logistics and required refurbishment."

Sonoco ThermoSafe has an opening for a sales manager with "experience in strategic selling across Europe."

PCM briefing: Sonoco ThermoSafe partners with Cargolux; Axiom Exergy partners with Leap

Ben Welter - Friday, March 22, 2019

Amrit RobbinsAxiom Exergy has announced a partnership with Leap, a technology company that serves as an aggregator of flexible power loads in California. Axiom says the arrangement will unlock grid services revenue for its customers, including three Whole Foods Market facilities in Northern California.

Axiom's "Refrigeration Battery" system is designed to reduce a supermarket's peak power use by up to 40 percent and provide backup cooling during power outages. It uses the excess capacity of existing refrigeration systems to "store cooling" at night by freezing tanks of salt water.  

"Axiom Exergy is excited to announce that Whole Foods has connected three of their buildings to our platform, which will serve as our first Virtual Power Plant," Axiom CEO Amrit Robbins wrote in a LinkedIn post Friday. "Axiom’s platform will intelligently manage 340 kW of dispatchable load across these facilities in order to generate more value for Whole Foods and to help stabilize California’s electricity grid."

Sonoco ThermoSafe has announced a global partnership agreement with Cargolux for the leasing of the PharmaPort 360 temperature-controlled bulk shipping container. The agreement enables pharmaceutical shippers to lease PharmaPort 360 containers directly from the all-cargo airline based in Luxembourg.

• On LinkedIn this week, Ice Energy posted an update on its 5 MW contract with Riverside Public Utilities in California: "We are working to install 9 Ice Bear thermal #energystorage batteries and 13 rooftop units with Inland Mechanical Services Inc. at a car dealership in Riverside."

• A high-temperature thermal energy storage system inaugurated in Denmark this week stores heat in stones. The test system uses surplus wind power to generate hot air, which heats up small stones in an insulated container to 600 degrees. The stored heat is used to generate electricity when the wind doesn't blow. The system was developed by the energy company Seas-NVE, in collaboration with DTU Energy, Aarhus University Geoscience, Danish Energy, and Rockwool.

Alexium International CEO Bob Brookins was among the presenters at the International Conference on Textile Coating and Laminating in Berlin earlier this month. His topic: "Advanced applications of phase change materials."

• The German Aerospace Center (DLR) is investigating whether Germany’s coal plants can be refitted to serve as thermal energy storage sites. "The research body, which has a track record in concentrated solar power (CSP) development, is planning a pilot that will involve ripping out the boiler from an old coal plant and replacing it with a molten salt thermal storage tank that will be heated using excess renewable energy," Greentech Media reports. "If the concept works, then advocates say it could help safeguard coal generation jobs while giving Germany tens of gigawatts of storage capacity for renewable energy load-shifting on the German grid." DLR says it is preparing a commercial-scale pilot in association with an unnamed German utility.

Research roundup: Personal cooling system; optimization of active wall system; cement mortar; asphalt pavement; more

Ben Welter - Friday, March 15, 2019

From International Journal of Refrigeration:

Experimental study of enhanced PCM exchangers applied in a thermal energy storage system for personal cooling

JMR illustration of microencapsulated n-octadecane with silk From Journal of Materials Research:

Fabrication and characterization of microencapsulated n-octadecane with silk fibroin–silver nanoparticles shell for thermal regulation

From IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Sciences:

Simple Thermal Energy Storage Tank for Improving the Energy Efficiency of an Existing Air-conditioning System
An optimization study into thermally activated wall system with latent heat thermal energy storage
Simulation of operation performance of a solar assisted ground heat pump system with phase change thermal storage for heating in a rural building in Xi'an
Experimental Study on the Demand Shifting Effects of PCM Integrated Air-Conditioning Duct

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Efficiency optimisation of the thermal energy storage unit in the form of the ceiling panel for summer conditions

From Materials Research Express:

Experimental study on thermal conductivity of composite phase change material of fatty acid and paraffin

From Energies:

Design Optimization of a Hybrid Steam-PCM Thermal Energy Storage for Industrial Applications

From Construction and Building Materials:

Analysis of thermoregulation indices on microencapsulated phase change materials for asphalt pavement

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Experimental and numerical characterization of an impure phase change material using a thermal lattice Boltzmann method

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Experimental and numerical study of a vertical earth-to-air heat exchanger system integrated with annular phase change material

From Materials:

Thermal and Structural Characterization of Geopolymer-Coated Polyurethane Foam—Phase Change Material Capsules/Geopolymer Concrete Composites

From Applied Sciences:

Microstructure and Mechanical Properties of Cement Mortar Containing Phase Change Materials

PCM briefing: Boston food bank installs Viking Cold TES system; 2-day workshop on microencapsulation

Ben Welter - Friday, March 08, 2019

The Greater Boston Food Bank is reporting a 75 percent reduction in energy use during targeted peak hours since the beginning of the year after installing a Viking Cold Solutions thermal energy storage system for the refrigeration units at its 117,000 square-foot, high-efficiency Yawkey Distribution Center.

Maria Telkes• To mark Women's History Month, 24/7 Wall St. has compiled a list of "50 Things You Never Knew Were Invented by Women." MIT researcher Maria Telkes, a pioneer in the field of solar thermal storage, is on the list at No. 30. She created the first solar-heated system for her home in Dover, Mass., in 1947. The system used a phase change material, sodium sulfate decahydrate, to store solar heat.

• Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences say they have developed an inexpensive, flexible film that renders the objects it covers virtually invisible in infrared light. The film's main components are DuPont's Kevlar, a synthetic fiber with high tensile strength, and polyethylene glycol, a phase change material that can store heat. 

• French utility ENGIE has begun production at one of South Africa’s largest renewable energy projects, the 100MW Kathu Solar Park. The concentrated solar plant's molten salt storage system provides up to 4.5 hours of thermal energy storage.

• The Southwest Research Institute is hosting a two-day workshop on microencapsulation March 25-26 in San Antonio, Texas. The introductory course will cover topics such as atomization (spray drying, spray chilling, spray congealing) and spray coating (fluid bed coating, granulation). The cost is $950.

• The University of California is winning praise for its decision to end its subscription deal with Elsevier, the world’s biggest publisher of scientific journals. UC is the first major university system to push for open-access publishing. UC, which had been paying $11 million a year to Elsevier in subscription fees, generates about 10 percent of the research produced in the United States. “It’s ridiculous that, in this age of the internet, researchers are paying huge fees for access to academic papers and for publication of their own work,” the San Jose Mercury News said in a March 6 editorial.   

Patent application: Refrigeration device uses phase change material for cooling air

Ben Welter - Friday, March 01, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190063765 (inventor Ray Arjomand, Sparks, Nev.)

"A refrigeration device has a condenser coil that has periodic access to outside air. A time-activated thermostat controls the operation of an evaporator coil that is in thermal contact with a reservoir containing phase change material. A thermally conductive pipe containing antifreeze fluid is connected to a pump that circulates the antifreeze fluid inside the pipe. A first portion of the pipe is inside the reservoir in thermal contact with the phase change material and a second portion of the pipe is near an air fan or connected to a fan coil unit to exchange heat through the pipe between the reservoir and the air blown by the fan or the fan coil unit. The evaporator coil produces a phase change in the phase-changing material in the reservoir at night when outdoor temperature is colder than during day and the phase-change material is used during day to cool air blown by the air fan or the fan coil unit."

Research roundup: PCM wallboard; cement mortars; electric load shifting; red-mud geopolymer composite; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, February 27, 2019

From Renewable Energy:

Phase Change Material Wallboard (PCMW) melting temperature optimisation for passive indoor temperature control

From Cement and Concrete Research:

Multiphysics analysis of effects of encapsulated phase change materials (PCMs) in cement mortars

From Journal of Molecular Liquids:

Preparation and characterization of sodium sulfate pentahydrate/sodium pyrophosphate composite phase change energy storage materials

From Energy and Buildings:

Performance of heat pump integrated phase change material thermal storage for electric load shifting in building demand side management
Indoor thermal comfort assessment using PCM based storage system integrated with ceiling fan ventilation: Experimental design and response surface approach

From International Journal of Photoenergy:

Experimental Study on the Performance of a Phase Change Slurry-Based Heat Pipe Solar Photovoltaic/Thermal Cogeneration System

From Solar Energy:

Effects of sodium nitrate concentration on thermophysical properties of solar salts and on the thermal energy storage cost
Red-mud geopolymer composite encapsulated phase change material for thermal comfort in built-sector [pdf]

From Energies:

A Novel Encapsulation Method for Phase Change Materials with a AgBr Shell as a Thermal Energy Storage Material

From Advanced Composites and Hybrid Materials:

Latent heat and thermal conductivity enhancements in polyethylene glycol/polyethylene glycol-grafted graphene oxide composites

From International Journal of Refrigeration:

Preparation and performance of form-stable TBAB hydrate/SiO2 composite PCM for cold energy storage

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Delignified wood/capric acid-palmitic acid mixture stable-form phase change material for thermal storage
Molten salt corrosion mechanisms of nitrate based thermal energy storage materials for concentrated solar power plants: A review

From Buildings:

Thermal Performance of Hollow-Core Slab Ventilation System with Macro-Encapsulated Phase-Change Materials in Supply Air Duct

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Heat transfer performance of the finned nano-enhanced phase change material system under the inclination influence

From Journal of the Electrochemical Society:

Effect of High Temperature Circumstance on Lithium-Ion Battery and the Application of Phase Change Material

From Energy:

High-temperature PCM-based thermal energy storage for industrial furnaces installed in energy-intensive industries

Research roundup: Self-luminous wood composite; palmitic acid/mullite composite; corrosion sensitivity of metal alloys; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, February 12, 2019

From Energy Storage Materials:

Self-luminous wood composite for both thermal and light energy storage

From International Journal of Refrigeration:

The thermal performances of a refrigerator incorporating a Phase Change Material

From Renewable Energy:

Enhanced thermal conductivity of palmitic acid/mullite phase change composite with graphite powder for thermal energy storage
An experimental study on the corrosion sensitivity of metal alloys for usage in PCM thermal energy storages

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Sorption thermal energy storage: Hybrid coating/granules adsorber design and hybrid TCM/PCM operation
Novel hybrid microencapsulated phase change materials incorporated wallboard for year-long year energy storage in buildings

From Thermochimica Acta:

Experimental Investigation on Thermal Properties of Sodium Acetate Trihydrate based Phase Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage
The preparation of AgI/Au/foam-Cu as a framework of composite for water-based cool storage phase-change material with low supercooling

From Energy and Buildings:

Nano-encapsulation of phase change materials: from design to thermal performance, simulations and toxicological assessment
Investigation of phase change materials integrated with fin-tube baseboard convector for space heating

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Nano-enhancement of phase change material in a shell and multi-PCM-tube heat exchanger

From Applied Energy:

Numerical investigation of phase change material thermal storage for space cooling

From Journal of Materials Chemistry A:

Vertically aligned carbon fibers as supporting scaffolds for phase change composites with anisotropic thermal-conductivity and good shape-stability