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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; China tightens vaccine-handling rules; Pelican BioThermal has new partners in Chile, Brazil

Ben Welter - Monday, May 09, 2016

China has strengthened cold chain regulations in the wake of a scandal involving the illegal sale of expired and improperly handled vaccines. County health officials are now required to get vaccines directly from manufacturers before sending them to hospitals, instead of going through wholesalers. Hospitals, clinics and government authorities must also keep better records of purchases and inventory, with regular monitoring of vaccine temperatures.

Pelican BioThermal, the temperature-controlled packaging specialist, recently announced partnerships with BioThermal Solutions of Chile and NatBio of Brazil.

Ice Energy is a founding member of the recently launched Community Storage Initiative, an industry group that includes utility trade associations, environmental groups, manufacturers and more than a dozen utilities. The Glendale, Calif., company makes the Ice Bear thermal energy storage system. "Community storage" refers to utility-sponsored programs that aggregate distributed energy storage resources such as water heaters, electric vehicles and interconnected storage batteries to deliver electricity to consumers more efficiently.

The global market for green chemistry, estimated at $11 billion in 2015, will explode to about $100 billion by 2020,  the American Sustainable Business Council and the Green Chemistry and Commerce Council report. "In a nutshell," writes Libby Bernick of Trucost, "the green chemistry market is poised for takeoff."

• The U.S. Green Building Council has launched "Ask Brendan," an offbeat yet informative video series featuring Senior Vice President of Knowledge Rachel Gutter and Chief of Engineering Brendan Owens. The pilot episode is free but requires site registration. Subsequent episodes will be available only to Education @USGBC subscribers.

EPA reduces reporting requirements for 6 biobased chemicals

Ben Welter - Thursday, March 24, 2016

Manufacturers of several biobased chemicals, including various fatty acids, have reduced reporting requirements under an Environmental Protection Agency rule signed this week. Processing and use information will not need to be submitted for these six chemicals, according to a report in Bloomberg BNA's Chemical Regulation Reporter:

• Fatty acids, C14-18 and C16-18 unsaturated, methyl esters (CAS No. 67762-26-9)
• Fatty acids, C16-18 and C-18 unsaturated, methyl esters (CAS No. 67762-38-3)
• Fatty acids, canola oil, methyl esters (CAS No. 129828-16-6)
• Fatty acids, corn oil, methyl esters (CAS No. 515152-40-6)
• Fatty acids, tallow, methyl esters (CAS No. 61788-61-2)
• Soybean oil, methyl esters (CAS No. 67784-80-9)

The rule would save manufacturers time and allow them to qualify for an exemption granted to manufacturers of petroleum-based versions of the chemicals, the executive director of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group told Bloomberg. The group petitioned the EPA for the exemption. ... [subscription required]

Phase Change Matters briefing: Innovative smartphone screen; the TES equipment market; California's storage push

Ben Welter - Monday, November 30, 2015

Bodle Technologies, an Oxford University spin-out, has created a smartphone screen that uses phase change material to drastically reduce battery drain while still offering a vivid display in bright sunlight.

ReportsnReports has released new research on the global market for thermal energy storage equipment through 2021. Calmac, Caldwell Energy and Chicago Bridge and Iron are among the key manufacturers profiled. 

• Ice storage pioneer CALMAC shares its view on why California committed itself to "wider implementation of energy storage technologies both on the grid and behind the meter."

A look at the new GHS standards and how they affect the PCM industry

Ben Welter - Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Manufacturers of phase change material are required to follow the new Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals and must accurately report the hazards associated with their products. The requirements took effect June 1, 2015. Here's some background on the GHS and a brief look at how it's affecting the PCM industry.

Obama's Clean Power Plan: 14 key takeaways

Ben Welter - Monday, August 03, 2015

President Obama called it "the single most important step America has ever taken in the fight against global climate change." Critics such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker accused the president of "overstepping the limits of his authority" and took action to block Obama's plan to drastically reduce carbon pollution from U.S. power plants. In a detailed look at the Clean Power Plan,'s Brad Plumer notes that the final version is "slightly stronger" than the draft released last summer:

"For instance, the EPA has tweaked the formula it uses to set individual state goals. States will now have until 2022 rather than 2020 before they have to start cutting. These tweaks will get lots of press attention, and they're of keen interest to policymakers and utilities. The EPA also hopes they'll solidify the rule against legal challenges. But they don't significantly alter the big picture."

Massachusetts launches $10 million energy storage initiative

Ben Welter - Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie BakerMassachusetts' new energy storage initiative includes $10 million in investments and could lead to policy and regulatory changes. Some of the money will fund studies to analyze market opportunities and supply state policymakers with cost-benefit analysis and policy recommendations.

Gov. Charlie Baker says he wants Massachusetts to be an energy storage leader.

“The Commonwealth’s plans for energy storage will allow the state to move toward establishing a mature local market for these technologies that will, in turn, benefit ratepayers and the local economy,” Baker said. “Massachusetts has an exciting opportunity to provide a comprehensive approach to support a growing energy storage industry with this initiative's analysis, policy and program development.”

Phase change material cool for schools, says BASF's Tony Heslop

Ben Welter - Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tony Heslop, BASFTony Heslop, regional market development manager at BASF, weighs in on Britain's $3 billion school repair and improvement program.

"Under the initiative," he writes in the May issue of the Construction Index magazine, "draught-free ventilation is now mandatory and there is an expectation that passive cooling using thermal mass will be included in a school design." Adding thermal mass in the form of plasterboard and ceiling tiles infused with phase change material can help designers comply with the new standards.

Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

Ben Welter - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Phase Change Matters logoNew on LinkedIn: A group devoted to the discussion of phase change material and thermal energy storage, a place for PCM and TES experts and industry leaders from around the world to gather and share ideas. It's called Phase Change Matters, and it's intended as a highly interactive complement to the blog and newsletter of the same name.

The first topic up for discussion: PCM and off-peak cooling systems:

TES pioneers like CALMAC and Ice Energy have been installing ice-based energy storage systems for years. And district cooling has been around for decades. What are the main barriers to wider adoption of phase change material in these types of thermal energy storage systems? Complexity? Education? Cost?

You are invited to join the discussion. Here's a link to the group:

Review of state advanced energy legislation in 2014

Ben Welter - Friday, January 02, 2015

Colorado State University's Center for the New Energy Economy has released a summary of advanced energy legislation passed in U.S. states in 2014. Some 430 advanced energy bills became law, down from 713 in 2013. Changes to renewable portfolio standards were enacted in 12 states, including Maine, South Carolina and Massachusetts.