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A data center cooling concept developed by Axiotherm GmbH and Frigoteam Handels GmbH was among the technologies honored at last month's Future Thinking conference in Darmstadt, Germany.
The concept, "Security of supply and emergency operation in data centers by integration of PCM cold storage," took third place in the energy technology category. Based on Axiotherm's HeatSel thermal storage technology, the system is designed to ensure the cooling of data centers in the event of a power outage. At the same time, the use of photovoltaic power and free cooling can increase system efficiency and reduce emissions during regular operations.
Axiotherm, a subsidiary of ESDA Technologie GmbH, specializes in developing macro-encapsulation of phase change materials for various applications. Dirk Büttner, Axiotherm's chief research officer, answered a few questions about the technology by e-mail:
Q: The award is based on a data center cooling concept, not a working model or pilot project, correct?
A: "Correct, the award is based on a cooling concept, but there have already been diverse Frigoteam cooling systems with the Axiotherm PCM-Storage implemented, only for other fields of application."
Q: Is this the system that you and Yvonne Reimann of Croda gave a presentation on at the 5th Swiss Symposium Thermal Energy Storage in Lucerne in January?
A: "Yes, the Axiotherm Hybrid-PCM-Storage was the central element of the presentation in Lucerne."
Q: Is CrodaTherm specified as the PCM used in the data cooling center concept?
A: "No, in this system a subzero PCM developed by Axiotherm."
Q: What are the peak melting points and energy storage capacities of the PCMs available for use in the system?
A: "Starting at -33°C up to +12°C. The storage capacity of the Hybrid-PCM-System is typically approximately 50 kWh /m3 (@dT = 10 K)."
Q: What are the dimensions of the HeatSel discs, and what are they made of?
A: There are two types of HeatSels, one with a diameter of 180 mm for smaller tanks, and one with a diameter of 270 mm for big tanks (with a diameter >1,20 m). The maximum layer thickness in both cases is less than 30 mm, therefore, compared to classical spherical elements, a four times higher thermal output power can be achieved. The (diffusion resistant) encapsulation material depends on the operating temperature, the basis are e.g. PP or PE-HD.
Q: What are the next steps in the development of this system, technically and commercially speaking?
A: "First step was the successful proof of concept and initial market entry through launching customers, like Frigoteam.
"The next step is the extension of distribution network through fast-following customers. Here we are looking for further potential strategic partnerships with fast-following customers, like tank manufacturers and manufacturers of cooling/heating systems.
"Another step is the diversification of customers for further applications, such as for industries working with process heat and cooling as well as manufacturers of air conditioning and further cooling systems."
U.S. patent application 20180135886 (applicant Pioneer Energy Co. Ltd., Suzhou, China):
"The utility model relates to a phase change heat storage-type electrical water heater, comprising a phase change heat storage device, wherein the phase change heat storage device comprises a housing; the housing is internally filled in with a phase change material; a heat exchange pipe is embedded in the phase change material; the heat exchange pipe has one end connected with a circulating medium inflow pipe and the other end connected with a circulating medium outflow pipe; the circulating medium inflow pipe and the circulating medium outflow pipe are externally connected with a circulating medium backflow pipe there-between; the circulating medium inflow pipe, the heat exchange pipe, the circulating medium outflow pipe and the circulating medium backflow pipe form a circulating system in which a circulating medium flow; the circulating medium backflow pipe is provided with a circulating pump, an electrical heater, a function switching valve and a heat exchanger in turn; and the heat exchanger is provided with a water inlet pipe for heating tap water and a water outlet pipe. Compared with the prior art, the phase change heat storage-type electrical water heater heats water for a long time, has a high yield of hot water, and is safe and reliable."
U.S. patent application 20180134416, (applicant WorldVu Satellites Ltd., Arlington, Va.):
"A passive thermal system for use in a satellite and other aerospace applications includes a container having a heat-pipe working fluid disposed in a first chamber and a Phase Change Material (PCM) disposed in a second chamber that substantially surrounds the first chamber. The first chamber contains a wick for transporting the heat-pipe working fluid. The exterior of the first chamber has fins, etc., that extend into the PCM for heat spreading and increased interface area."
• 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.
For our full list of recent academic research, see puretemp.com/academic. Here are highlights from the past week:From Energy:
More than 1,250 people have joined a LinkedIn group devoted to the discussion of phase change material and thermal energy storage. The Phase Change Matters group is an interactive complement to the award-winning blog and newsletter of the same name.
You are invited to join the group and connect with PCM and TES experts from around the world. This week we welcome Tarun Vaish, business development manager at Pluss Advanced Technologies, Gurgaon, India; Ziya Ozek, professor at University of Namik Kemal, Tekirdag, Turkey; Ray Arjomand, founder and CEO at Rabpid Engineering & Design, Sparks, Nev.; and G. Mohy Ud Din, assistant sales and marketing manager, Universal Chemical Industries, Pakistan.