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Croda International Plc introduced two new biobased phase change materials, CrodaTherm 32 and CrodaTherm 37, in March. The British specialty chemicals maker developed the products at its PCM lab in Gouda, Netherlands. Marco Auerbach, technology development manager, said development work began about three years ago. He discussed the project in an email interview.
Q: What prompted Croda to create these PCMs -- customer requests, anticipated demand based on market analysis or a combination of factors?
A: "A combination of factors. Market demand was picked up by various means and also verified by customers, which prompted us at one point to start the development."
Q: What was your role in development of these PCMs?
A: "I am leading the technical development of PCMs within Croda. Therefore my task was to put a team together to find the right chemistry for the best possible technical product properties. Mainly meaning high latent heat, narrow melting and crystallization points and high cycle stability."
Q: Did the team surmount any unexpected challenges, technical or otherwise?
A: "As with most developments, our project team also encountered challenges and set-backs. We had a few options to choose from, each with their own pros and cons. One challenge that is and will be taking more effort and time in future are chemicals registrations in various countries, but also raw material availability and pricing can have an impact."
Q: What specs can you share on each of the products, such as composition, peak melt point and latent heat storage capacity?
A: "For each launched PCM we have Product Data Sheets (PDS) available, so we also issued these for CrodaTherm 32 and CrodaTherm 37. They can be found on our website, www.crodatherm.com. CrodaTherm 32 has a melting temperature of 32°C and crystallizes at 29.5°C. Latent heat is 190 kJ/kg. For CrodaTherm 37 melting takes place at 36.8°C, crystallization at 35°C and latent heat is 203 kJ/kg, measured by DSC."
Q: Do the new products have any properties, such as latent heat storage capacity or material compatibility, that set them apart from competing products?
A: "It is important to define which competing products or technologies one compares our products with, but in general our PCMs are produced from renewable resources and are also biodegradable. They are non-corrosive to metals and have long-term stability. Another big advantage is the very much lower evaporation and higher flash points compared to the current paraffin industry standards."
Q: What applications are suited to each of the two PCMs?
A: "We do not define the applications our products can be used for, but we have seen most interest in personal cooling and heating applications, as well as temperature-controlled shipments. We are still regularly surprised where and how customers sometimes want to use our CrodaTherm PCMs."
Q: In what formats are the two PCMs available -- bulk, macroencapsulated, microencapsulated?
A: "Both CrodaTherms are available in IBCs and drums. We go down in size to about 16 kg pails as the lowest pack size, but on request other options are possible. Croda does not offer macro encapsulation as we see ourselves as PCM suppliers, not wanting to compete with our customers at the user level. We feel that our customers and partners are better equipped to do this from a technical and customer support point of view. Croda does give advice on materials compatibility and connect our customers with our partners for macro encapsulation though. We do offer micro encapsulated CrodaTherm and also plan to offer CrodaTherm 32 in micro encapsulated form. If there is interest, we will also consider to micro encapsulate CrodaTherm 37."
Q: In a LinkedIn post this month, Croda announced: "All our CrodaTherm materials are USDA certified bio based products." Croda lists 14 CrodaTherm materials on its site; I see only 13 CrodaTherm products listed on biopreferred.gov. Missing from the USDA list is CrodaTherm 9.5. Has that product been certified yet?
A: "CrodaTherm 9.5 is also a product that only has been launched quite recently. We target to have all our products on the USDA bio-preferred list and I am confident CrodaTherm 9.5 will be added to it as well, but all things take time. We expect this registration can be added to the list shortly."
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: "The development of new products and the joy when customers actually like the product and are buying it. At that point all the puzzle pieces come together and you know that the hard work is paying off. I am particularly pleased with our CrodaTherm PCMs because they do not only help to improve/protect the environment while in use (especially for building cooling/heating applications), but they are also made from renewable raw materials and are bio-degradable. The environment is important to me and as a developer I am really happy I can have a contribution in a sustainable future."
U.S. patent application 20190145359 (assignee Ford Global Technologies LLC, Dearborn, Mich.):
"Methods and systems are provided for an EGR [exhaust gas recirculation] cooler comprising a phase-change material. In one example, exhaust gas may be conducted through the EGR cooler when an engine is deactivated to maintain an engine temperature. ... The phase-change material may extract heat from the hot exhaust gas conducted through the cooler, and thus serves as an additional heat sink but also as an energy store. In other words, the cooler equipped with the phase-change material according to the disclosure may extract more energy from the exhaust gas than a conventional cooler which uses only coolant. This offers advantages in the case of large exhaust-gas quantities which occur at high engine speeds or loads, and in particular at the high exhaust-gas temperatures which occur at high loads."
U.S. patent application 20190144193 (applicant OCI Co. Ltd., Seoul, South Korea):
"Disclosed herein is a temperature controlled case. The temperature controlled case includes a base and a stepped portion protruding from an upper surface of the base, wherein the stepped portion has a rectangular shape having a major axis and a minor axis in top plan view, a height of the base is the same as a maximum height of the stepped portion protruding from the base, and maximum distances from an edge of the base to the stepped portion in the major axis and minor axis directions are the same as the height of the base or the maximum height of the stepped portion. ... [The] temperature controlled case is filled with the temperature regulating material, such as a phase change material, to allow the surrounding temperature to be maintained in a predetermined temperature range."
U.S. patent application 20190142378 (applicant General Electric Co., Schenectady, N.Y.):
"A docking station for electrically charging and managing a thermal condition of an ultrasound probe is presented. The docking station includes a first charging unit magnetically coupled to an induction unit of the ultrasound probe and configured to charge at least one battery in the ultrasound probe. Further, the docking station includes a first cooling unit thermally coupled to a thermal unit of the ultrasound probe and configured to dissipate heat from the ultrasound probe. ... [In one embodiment] the thermal unit may include one or more phase change material (PCM) cartridges that are thermally coupled to the one or more thermal management units."
• Axiotherm GmbH of Germany was among the winners at this year's smarter E Awards in Munich. Axiotherm was honored in the renewable energy category for kraftBoxx, a thermal energy storage system that uses phase change technology for heating and hot water. The company says kraftBoxx has a higher energy storage capacity than conventional heat and cold storage systems. KraftBoxx is a joint development with Klara Energy and Tuxhorn within the scope of the PCM-based HeatSel product line marketed by Axiotherm.
• China says it will raise tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods June 1, including palmitic acid, stearic acid and their salts and esters. The move is response to the U.S. tariff hike on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that took effect on May 10.
• In an interview with SolarPACES, Malta Inc. engineer Sebastian Freund provides an update on the Massachusetts company's plans to develop a standalone thermal storage battery using molten salts. “We plan to build a pilot plant with 10MW power and at least six hours of storage duration, depending on customer specifications,” Freund said. Malta hopes to attract enough investors over the next three years to complete an 80MWh thermal energy storage pilot.
For our full list of recent academic research, see puretemp.com/academic. Here are highlights from the past week:From Heat and Mass Transfer:
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You are invited to join the group and connect with PCM and TES experts from around the world. This week we welcome Mike Marciniak, director of science and technology,
Packaging Technology Group Inc., Springfield, Missouri; Robert Gandia, research assistant at Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Architecture, Lucerne, Switzerland; Narendra Methre, intern at Maharastra Electricity Regulatory Commission, Mumbai, India; Rok Kozelj, researcher at Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia; and Chris Anderson, executive vice president for sales, Protek Pharma, Kansas City, Missouri.