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 No. 200: Rice-husk-char encapsulation; microsuspension iodine transfer polymerization; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Welcome to the 200th issue of the Phase Change Matters research roundup!

Encapsulation of phase change materials using rice-husk-char [Applied Energy]

Performance study of an enhanced solar greenhouse combined with the phase change material using genetic algorithm optimization method [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Innovative synthesis of high performance poly(methyl methacrylate) microcapsules with encapsulated heat storage material by microsuspension iodine transfer polymerization [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Fabrication and characterization of a new enhanced hybrid shell microPCM for thermal energy storage [Energy Conversion and Management]

Experimental evaluation of thermal properties of r134a clathrates based PCMs for cooling applications [International Journal of Refrigeration]

Patent application: Greenhouse roofing having temperature-dependent radiation transparency

Ben Welter - Monday, August 08, 2016

U.S. patent application 20160219796 (applicant Tropotherm SL, Retamar, Spain):

Greenhouse patent application drawing"In plant cultivation, it is common in many cases to grow certain crops under film covers, in greenhouses, or under other roofings. Depending on the climate zone and crop, this can be used for example to supply heat by retaining the sunlight or by means of additional heating. The invention relates to a plant cultivation roofing made of film material or plate material having temperature-dependent radiation transparency, wherein a plastic layer in or on a plate or at least one film layer having temperature-dependent radiation transparency provides a gradual or a two-step or multi-step transparency reduction for rising temperatures in a temperature range from 20° C."

PCM briefing: EU research focuses on energy retrofits; Axiom Exergy raises $2.5 million

Ben Welter - Tuesday, August 02, 2016

• A European Union research project focused on retrofitting old buildings to meet EU efficiency standards is taking a close look at PCMs built into walls. “By using a phase change material which freezes at 18°C and melts at 25°C,” says Dr. Jürgen Frick, project coordinator, “we can regulate the temperature fluctuations of a room. If the temperature falls to 18°C, the PCM freezes and heats the room. When it rises to 25°, the PCM melts, energy is absorbed, and the room is cooled.”

Rally by Diamond Mattress• The latest entry in the bed-in-a-box mattress competition features open-cell foam infused with copper gel and phase change material to regulate temperature. Diamond Mattress of Rancho Dominguez, Calif., says the company's new Rally line will be sold online and in retail stores.

Eric Buchanan of the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris, Minn., has posted an update on his net-zero dairy project. The system's key components so far include solar thermal panels, a heat pump, three heat exchangers and a 2,000-gallon water tank. Fifty-four kilowatts of solar PV and two 10-kW wind turbines are now being added to the system.

Axiom Exergy has raised $2.5 million from investors to help bring its refrigeration battery to supermarkets and cold storage facilities across the United States. The system uses a salt-based phase change material to reduce peak power usage by up to 40 percent and provide backup cooling during power outages.

• The University of Birmingham's Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage is setting up a joint lab on energy storage research with Global Energy Interconnection Research Institute Europe, an organization founded by China's state-run utility. The lab will focus on thermal and cryogenic energy storage systems and their application in energy networks.

• New from Accuray Research: "Global Advanced Phase Change Material (PCM) Market Analysis & Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025"

• A research team at Camosun College in Victoria, British Columbia, has selected PureTemp phase change material for use in a study of greenhouse thermal storage systems. "One of the engineering students is focusing on designing racks for the PCM bottles that will be specifically engineered to slow release and speed recharge of the bottles," writes Becky Mason, an instructor at Camosun who helped organize the research project. "This is intended to optimize use of PCM in off-grid greenhouses where electric fans are not used to circulate air around the PCM."

PCM briefing: Pelican BioThermal opens offices in South Korea, Germany; BASF tops global list of chemical companies

Ben Welter - Friday, July 29, 2016

• Commercial appliance maker Rockwell Industries of Hyderabad plans to open a network of retail stores across India. Rockwell's products include a line of eutectic freezers designed to retain subzero temperatures for up to 16 hours in the event of a power loss.

• In partnership with CoolPack.comCold Chain Technologies of Holliston, Mass., is conducting an industrywide survey "to benchmark the methods used to maintain the efficacy of temperature sensitive therapeutics throughout the supply chain." Survey results will be published in October.

BASF, with chemical sales of $ $63.7 billion in 2015, is No. 1 on C&EN's latest Global Top 50 list. The magazine reports that the 50 companies combined for $775.2 billion in sales last year, a 10.8 percent decline from a year earlier.

Pelican BioThermal, the temperature-controlled packaging specialist, has added offices in South Korea and Germany to support growth in Asia and Europe.

Daniel Frey, a professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, has been appointed the new faculty director of the school's D-Lab. D-Lab's mission is to give students a hands-on opportunity to design and share affordable and effective technologies to address problems in developing countries. A PCM-powered vaccine cooler is among the projects Frey has worked on with students.

• New from Market Research FutureSoy-Based Chemicals Market Research Report Forecast to 2027

• New from QY ResearchGlobal Green Building Materials Industry 2016 Market Research Report

• New from Future Market InsightsTemperature Controlled Packaging Solutions Market: Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment 2015-2025

• Membership in ASHRAE has topped 56,000, the highest number in 14 years. The international organization focuses on energy efficiency, air quality, refrigeration and sustainability in the built environment. It has members in 130 countries.

• A group representing manufacturers of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment is pushing the European Union to set tougher energy-efficiency targets. The European Alliance to Save Energy argues that doubling the EU’s current annual rate of energy productivity of around 1.5 percent would sharply reduce household energy bills, increase GDP and create more than a million jobs.

2016 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award winners named

Ben Welter - Thursday, June 23, 2016

Verdezyne of Carlsbad, Calif., which developed a greener way to make high-performance nylon, is among this year's Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award winners. Verdezyne's process uses a plant-based feedstock and does not employ high temperatures or concentrated nitric acid. The nylon is used in hairbrushes, toothbrushes, adhesives, coatings, fragrances and other products. It has qualified for the USDA Certified Biobased label.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency award recognizes innovative technologies "that turn climate risk and other environmental problems into business opportunities, spurring innovation and economic development." The awards were present last week at the annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference in Portland, Ore. This year's other winners:

• Professor Paul Chirik of Princeton University discovered a new class of catalysts to produce silicones without the use of platinum.

Newlight Technologies of Costa Mesa, Calif., developed a plastic made from methane-based greenhouse gas. 

• Texas-based CB&I and Albemarle Corp. of Baton Rouge, La., developed and commercialized a safer technology to produce alkylate, a clean gasoline component.

Dow AgroSciences of Indianapolis developed and commercialized Instinct, an additive that reduces the leaching of fertilizer nitrate into ground and surface waters. 

Dr. William R. Sutterlin, Entropy Solutions' chief science officer, was a member of a University of Missouri team that won the academic award in 2006 for developing an inexpensive method to convert waste glycerin, a byproduct of biodiesel fuel production, into propylene glycol.

Research roundup: Calcium chloride hexahydrate; thermal conductivity enhancement; sustainable greenhouses; more

Ben Welter - Monday, June 13, 2016

A novel calcium chloride hexahydrate-based deep eutectic solvent as a phase change materials [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Performance comparison of a group of thermal conductivity enhancement methodology in phase change material for thermal storage application [Renewable Energy]

Renewable and sustainable energy saving strategies for greenhouse systems: A comprehensive review [Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews]

Numerical Investigation on Thermal Performance of Ground Heat Exchangers using Phase Change Materials as Grout for Ground Source Heat Pump System [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Thermal properties and morphologies of MA–SA eutectics/CNTs as composite PCMs in thermal energy storage [Energy and Buildings]

Experimental investigation on bimetallic tube compositions for the use in latent heat thermal energy storage units [Energy Conversion and Management]

Figure-of-merit for phase-change materials used in thermal management [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Performance characteristics of microencapsulated phase change material slurry in a helically coiled tube [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Preparation and thermal energy storage properties of d-Mannitol/expanded graphite composite phase change material [Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells]

Design and synthesis of multifunctional microencapsulated phase change materials with silver/silica double-layered shell for thermal energy storage, electrical conduction and antimicrobial effectiveness [Energy]

Experimental study of fixed and fluidized beds of PCM with an internal heat exchanger [Applied Thermal Engineering]

Inhibition of carbon steel corrosion in phase-change-materials solution by methionine and proline [Corrosion Science]

Rentable produce boxes equipped with PCMs win $12,000 ag innovation prize

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Refrigerated produce trucks are common in developed countries. Not so in India, where about 40 percent of fresh fruit and vegetables spoils before reaching consumers. A team of MIT and Harvard University students is developing a system designed to reduce that waste and lower distribution costs. Their idea won the first MIT Food and Agribusiness Innovation Prize awarded last week in Cambridge, Mass.

At the heart of the system are rentable boxes packed with phase change material. The insulated, collapsible boxes will be sized to fit on traditional dry trucks, which are far cheaper to own or rent than refrigerated trucks. The boxes are kept cold in refrigerated warehouses until they are filled with produce. Each box is equipped with a device to track location, temperature, humidity and payment information in real time.

Naren Tallapragada“We’re thrilled that we won the inaugural MIT Food and Agribusiness Innovation Prize," said Naren Tallapragada, a member of the winning gomango team "It was an honor and a privilege to share the stage with other talented teams with a passion for food, agriculture and sustainability. We’d like to thank the contest team, judges, sponsors and mentors for all of their support — and, of course, for recognizing that phase change materials could help the developing world transport its perishable goods affordably.”

Tallapragada, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in systems biology at Harvard, said the team continues to refine its technology and strategy. Gomango plans to use the $12,000 award to develop commercial prototypes for a pilot project in India. 

A team of MIT students, Safi Organics, won the $8,000 second-place prize for its work on a low-cost organic fertilizer. A team of MIT and Harvard University students, Ricult, won a $5,000 third-place prize for a cellphone-based system that connects small farmers in developing countries to "buyers, farm input sellers, banks, logistics and critical farming information."

With help from PCMs, a Japanese company turns trash into tomatoes

Ben Welter - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

TKS greenhouses in Toyama

A Japanese waste-management company is using waste heat — and phase change material — to grow tomatoes, strawberries and ornamental plants.

Toyama Kankyo Seibi collects 300,000 tons of trash in Toyama prefecture each year. The company incinerates the combustible materials and recycles or landfills the rest. The heat generated by the incineration process drives a steam turbine to generate electricity that powers the TKS complex. 

In 2015, TKS built 28 greenhouses to make use of the excess steam. Forbes magazine describes how the greenhouses are heated:

"Large heat-transfer containers are filled with oil that is heated using the residual heat from the steam. The containers incorporate a closed phase-change heat system filled with a heat-storing substance that changes to a solvent-like liquid when heated (the phase-change part), and which is more efficient in retaining heat than is oil.

"A prepared container is transported to a nearby greenhouse on the site and is hooked up to a heat exchanger. The solvent circulates through the exchanger, and the heat is passed on and used to heat up cold water to 55 degrees C. The hot water is then pumped into the greenhouse and fans are employed to circulate air warmed by the water. Complicated, yes! But it works."

The Japanese government covers more than half of the project's annual operating cost of 2.7 billion yen ($24 million). The goal is to harvest 500 tons of tomatoes and 1.4 million flowers a year. The produce is sold in stores around the country and as far away as Thailand and Singapore.

Research roundup: PCM-filled double-glazing unit; cooling ceiling design; neopentyl glycol; solar drying; more

Ben Welter - Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Thermal performance of a PCM-filled double glazing unit with different optical properties of phase change material [Energy and Buildings]

PCM cooling ceilings in the Energy Efficiency Center − passive cooling potential of two different system designs [Energy and Buildings]

Phase transition of neopentyl glycol in nanopores for thermal energy storage [Thermochimica Acta]

Experimental evaluation of fuzzy control solar drying with thermal energy storage system [Drying Technology]

Research roundup: Economic optimization of PCM in residential buildings; nanoparticle agglomeration; ventilation system with latent heat TES; more

Ben Welter - Monday, February 29, 2016

Economic optimization of PCM and insulation layer thickness in residential buildings [Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments]

Investigation of nanoparticle agglomeration on the effective thermal conductivity of a composite material [International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer]

Energy saving potential of a ventilation system with a latent heat thermal energy storage unit under different climatic conditions [Energy and Buildings]

Numerical Techniques to Model Conduction Dominant Phase Change Systems: A CFD Approach and Validation with DSC Curve [Energy and Buildings]

Nanoencapsulation of butyl palmitate in polystyrene-co-methyl methacrylate shell for thermal energy storage application [Energy and Buildings]

Computational Analysis of Sugar Alcohols as Phase-Change Material: Insight into Molecular Mechanism of Thermal Energy Storage [Journal of Physical Chemistry]

A Comprehensive Study on a Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage System and its Feasible Applications in Greenhouses [pdf] [Iranian Journal of Chemical Engineering]

Experimental investigation on the thermal performance of heat storage walls coupled with active solar systems [Heat and Mass Transfer]

Preparation and characterization of thermoregulated rigid polyurethane foams containing nanoencapsulated phase change materials [Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research]