• The University of Birmingham, England, is part of a new international consortium formed to aid the development of innovative thermal energy storage technologies that can be integrated into buildings to increase energy efficiency and grid flexibility. The THUMBS UP consortium – short for “Thermal energy storage solUtions to optimally Manage BuildingS and Unlock their grid balancing and flexibility Potential” – “aims to overcome the limitations of existing building-integrated technologies by increasing energy density and reducing the intensity factors of capital investment in this sector,” the university says. Adriano Sciacovelli and his research group at the Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage will lead the university’s support for the project, working with partners to co-develop PCM-based thermal energy storage solutions.
• Oil giant Shell is investing in Australian start-up MGA Thermal’s plan to store thermal energy in blocks made of graphite and aluminum. Shell’s seed funding division “Gamechanger” will donate $400,000 USD to accelerate completion of MGA’s demonstration plant near Newcastle, Australia.
• The InPath-TES network has developed an online course designed to help Ph.D. students and researchers seeking project funding, with special emphasis on the Horizon Europe program of the European Commission. The course is titled “Types of funding. Proposal writing and submission. Evaluation of project proposals.” InPath offers dozens of other courses, from “Technologies for Measuring Thermal Effusivity” to “Heat Transfer with Phase Change: Analytical and Numerical Modeling.” See www.inpathtes.eu/lessons for the full list.
• Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong have designed a miniature robot that can liquify, reform and escape from a tiny jail cell. The design relies on a new phase-shifting material that can switch between liquid and solid forms through exposure to magnetic fields. Reports the publication New Atlas: “In a series of tests, these new bots could move and change shape to run obstacle courses, carry objects, or even escape from a jail cell like a Terminator.”
• Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati say they have developed a photovoltaic-thermal panel with an overall efficiency of 79.6 percent. They built the system with a 100-watt PV panel, a rectangular absorber and a cooling technique based on a phase change material that uses biochar derived from water hyacinth. “The water-based system generates hot water with sufficient temperature to be utilized for domestic usage,” researcher Dudul Das told PV Magazine. “The average electrical and thermal efficiency of the PVT system with novel form-stable thermal energy storage material is reported to be 13% and 66.6%, respectively.”
• EnergyNest has completed installation of its thermal battery at an Avery Dennison plant in Turnhout, Belgium. The technology uses parabolic mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight on a collector tube filled with a thermal oil that can be heated to temperatures of 400°C (752°F). The heat is stored and dispatched on demand to run drying ovens used in the coating process of the pressure-sensitive adhesives manufactured at the plant.
• Viking Cold Solutions Inc., Houston, Texas, is partnering with the Houston Food Bank to install the company’s PCM-based thermal energy storage technology at the food bank’s cold storage facilities. The system is designed to reduce electrical consumption and demand during peak energy usage hours and improve temperature stability.
• Shift Thermal, formerly known as Active Energy Systems, has graduated as a resident of the Spark Innovation Center at the University of Tennessee Research Park and moved into much larger commercial space in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Shift Thermal’s patented IHEX technology (icephobic heat exchange) allows water to freeze without sticking to a cold surface. Teknovation Biz says the technology “solves the problem that other ice thermal energy storage systems face by eliminating the insulative ice layer and passively shedding slurry from the surface.”
• What is a heat pump and how does it work? The web-based “Fully Charged” show offers a clear and concise explanation in this 10-minute video: “THIS is the future of home heating.”
• Researchers at the National University of Malaysia have developed a PCM-based system that can absorb heat from photovoltaic-thermal solar panels, transmit it to a nanofluid and transform it into thermal energy. The researchers say the panels have an overall efficiency of 89 percent.
• MDPI is seeking manuscripts for Thermal Energy Storage for Sustainable Industrial Technologies, a special issue of the Sustainability Journal. Topics include challenges in the thermal energy sector; sustainable thermal energy systems; phase change materials in latent heat-thermal energy systems; and policies, incentives and social benefits of such technologies. The deadline for submissions is Oct. 15, 2023.
• Solar cold storage solutions provider Ecozen of Pune, India, has raised $25 million of combined equity and debt capital in its latest funding round. The company said its Series C equity portion was led by Nuveen and Dare Ventures, with participation from Export-Import Bank of India and existing investors Caspian and Hivos-Triodos. Ecozen’s Ecofrost cold storage room uses phase change material and solar power to provide reliable refrigeration for farm produce.
• Sunamp Ltd., Edinburgh, Scotland, has an opening for an electronics and test engineer. Candidates should have a minimum of three years of experience in a test and specification environment and have a knowledge of PCB design, component selection, simulation, troubleshooting and testing. Sunamp is also looking for a group finance manager. The group finance manager oversees the finance function of the company and reports directly to the chief financial officer.
• The KTH Royal Institute of Technology’s School of Industrial Engineering and Management, Sweden, has an opening for a doctoral student in heating and cooling with PCM thermal energy storage. The successful candidate will investigate the potential of using PCMs in combination with underground thermal energy storage and heat pumps for accelerating heating and cooling transition. KTH is also seeking a doctoral student in thermal energy storage optimization with heat pumps. The project covers three TES design phases: materials; components and systems; and combined operation of TES and heat pumps for real heating applications.
• The University of Birmingham’s School of Chemical Engineering has an opening for a research fellow in thermal energy storage devices and systems. Activities will include thermo-fluid dynamic design; prototyping of a proposed TES system; fabrication, testing and validation of the proposed system in labs and in buildings; and PCM optimization.
• Alexium International Group Ltd., Greer, S.C., has an opening for a director of technical sales and development. Alexium develops and markets PCM-enhanced textiles and foams.
• Loughborough University’s Wolfson School of Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering, Loughborough, England, is looking for a research associate in thermal energy storage. The successful candidate will have experience in thermal analysis and data analysis.
• King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia, is seeking postdoctoral research fellows in energy storage. Candidates should have experience in the areas of “multi-scale experimental/theoretical energy storage research related to solid-state batteries, redox flow batteries, thermal energy storage, batteries recycling & second life, battery safety, their optimization, and techno-economic analysis.”
Reusable warming blanket
U.S. patent application 11583437 (applicant Aspen Surgical Products Inc., Caledonia, Michigan):
“A warming device may include a batting layer having a phase change material. The batting layer may have a patient side and an upper side. A hot melt fabric adhesive may be applied to the patient side and upper side of the batting. A first fabric layer may be adhered to the hot melt fabric on the patient side of the batting. The first fabric layer may have a phase change material integrated coating. An insulation layer may be adhered to the hot melt fabric on the upper side of the batting. A second fabric layer may be coupled to the insulation layer.”
Climate control system
U.S. patent application 11585608 (applicant Emerson Climate Technologies Inc., Sidney, Ohio):
“A climate-control system may include a first working fluid circuit, a second working fluid circuit and a storage tank. The first working fluid circuit includes a first compressor and a first heat exchanger in fluid communication with the first compressor. The second working fluid circuit includes a second compressor and a second heat exchanger in fluid communication with the second compressor. The storage tank contains a phase-change material. The first working fluid circuit and the second working fluid circuit are thermally coupled with the phase-change material contained in the storage tank.”
Providing single servings of cooled foods and drinks
U.S. patent application 11564402 (applicant ColdSnap Corp., Billerica, Massachusetts):
“Systems and methods have demonstrated the capability of rapidly cooling the contents of pods containing the ingredients for food and drinks. … [A] thermal battery includes a thermal material that retains heat. The thermal battery includes a reservoir with a phase change material (e.g., paraffin) receives heat or emits heat, depending on the position of the first battery bypass valve and the second battery bypass valve. The thermal battery is described as using paraffin as an example of a phase change material.”
Thermoplastic shape-stable polymer compositions
U.S. patent application 11578244 (applicant Carmel Olefins Ltd., Haifa, Israel):
“The invention provides shape-stable products for storing and releasing thermal energy, based on thermoplastic polymer compositions containing organic phase change materials (PCM) incorporated into a polymer matrix, the products withstanding multiple melting-crystallization cycles of the PCM while maintaining their shape, dimensions, and the thermal energy storage capacity.”
More U.S. patent applications:
Thermal storage apparatus (City, University of London, London, England) | Rechargeable passive cooled refrigerated cargo box (Carrier Corp., Palm Beach Gardens, Florida) | Salt hydrate-based phase change thermal energy storage and encapsulation thereof (Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC, Golden, Colorado) | Thermal management and passive cooling of localized heat flux zones (Phase Change Solutions Inc., Greensboro, N.C.) | Polyurethane foams for comfort applications (Dow Global Technologies LLC, Midland, Michigan) | Interlocking modular phase change material for cargo container (Advanced Composite Structures LLC, Charleston, S.C.) | Nitrate-based eutectic mixtures (Universidad de Antofagasta, Antofagasta, Chile) | Ultra-low temperature phase change gel (Pregis New Materials Co. Ltd., Shenzhen, China) | Method for maintaining the temperature of fluid media (Swisspor Management AG, (Steinhausen, Switzerland) | Aircraft trolley (Phaslo Global Innovation Pty. Ltd., Birtinya, Australia)
From Journal of Energy Storage:
• Volumetric quantification of melting and solidification of phase change materials by in-situ X-ray computed tomography
• Thermal performance of a dynamic insulation-phase change material system and its application in multilayer hollow walls
• Numerical investigations of concentrated photovoltaic thermal system integrated with thermoelectric power generator and phase change material
• Application of bio-based phase change materials for effective heat management
• A study on a milk chiller latent storage system with phase change material encapsulated spherical balls
From Journal of Cleaner Production:
• Improving building thermal comfort through passive design – An experimental analysis of phase change material 3D printed concrete
From Renewable Energy:
• Enhancement of shallow ground heat exchanger with phase change material
From Energy Sources, Part A:
• Studies on Myristyl Alcohol based microencapsulated phase change material for thermal energy storage applications
• Diacid esters of 1-dodecanol as new alternatives to solid-liquid phase change materials for solar heat storage systems
• Thermal energy management in buildings and constructions with phase change material-epoxy composites: a review
From Egyptian Journal of Chemistry:
• Alginic/Stearic/Octadecane as Phase Change Material (PCM) for enhancing the thermal Comfort-ability of Different Polyester Fabrics Constructions
From Thermal Science and Engineering Progress:
• Application of artificial intelligence for prediction, optimization, and control of thermal energy storage systems
From Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments:
• Application of phase change materials in improving the performance of refrigeration systems
From Journal of Physics:
• A review on phase change materials: Development, Types, and Applications
From Energy and Buildings:
• Thermal Energy Storage Using Phase Change Materials in Building Applications: A Review of the Recent Development
• Effect of key parameters on the transient thermal performance of a building envelope with Trombe wall containing phase change material
From Applied Thermal Engineering:
• Dynamic modelling of a compressed heat energy storage system integrated with a cascaded phase change materials thermal energy storage
From ACS Omega:
• Preparation and Thermal Performance of Fatty Acid Binary Eutectic Mixture/Expanded Graphite Composites as Form-Stable Phase Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage
• Solar Hot Water Systems Using Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage: Perspectives and Challenges
• Development and Experimental Characterization of an Innovative Tank-in-Tank Hybrid Sensible–Latent Thermal Energy Storage System
• Formulation and phase change mechanism of Capric acid/Octadecanol binary composite phase change materials
From Applied Energy:
• Multi-objective optimization of latent energy storage in buildings by using phase change materials with different melting temperatures
From Construction and Building Materials:
• High thermal inertia mortars: New method to incorporate phase change materials (PCMs) while enhancing strength and thermal design models
• Assessment of low-cost organic phase change materials for improving infrastructure thermal Performance
From Materials Today:
• Experimental investigation of composite gypsum board integrated with phase change material for improved thermal energy storage
• Potential Use of Bio-Oleogel as Phase Change Material
From Journal of Building Engineering:
• Microencapsulation of bio-based phase change materials with silica coated inorganic shell for thermal energy storage
Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn
More than 1,750 people have joined a LinkedIn group devoted to the discussion of phase change material and thermal energy storage. You are invited to join the Phase Change Matters group and connect with PCM and TES experts from around the world.
This month we welcome Manu George Jacob, founder at Evocube Technologies, Ernakulam, India; Geeverghese Thambi, design engineer at Evocube Technologies; P. Vinod Kumar Naidu, research scholar at Indian Institute of Technology, Tirupati, India; Alba Jiménez Pagán, Ph.D. in photovoltaic solar energy, Madrid, Spain; Théo Communal, graduate student in civil engineering at MINES Paris – PSL, Paris, France; and Jeremy Austin, senior vice president for product strategy and market development at Novvi LLC, Alameda, Calif.
Does your company, agency or university have a job opening, new research, new product or other news you’d like to share? I would love to hear from you. Please contact newsletter editor Ben Welter at email@example.com.
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