PCM on paraffin or salt hydrate basis have proven to be effective both in practice and in many lab tests, provided they meet the properties and quality required by RAL-GZ 896. Based on PCM specific properties like melting temperature range or melting enthalpy for example, numerous technical applications are possible by which PCM either drastically improve the performance of the existing systems or provide them with additional capabilities. Please find a selection of approaches that are currently explored below:
Typical cold and hot water storage systems can store up to three times more heat with PCM and additionally release the heat at a defined temperature level. Solar thermal systems can store more heat because of the low storage temperatures and attached energy converters (heating and cooling systems) can be operated at less frequent cycles.
Another new area that still needs to be developed is storing the volatile renewable electricity produced by wind power plants, photovoltaic plants or thermal power stations run with biogas as heat or cold directly. A considerable part of our primary energy demand (more than 30%) is required to heat and cool buildings and to heat drinking water. It therefore makes sense to transfer the available renewable electricity directly into heat or cold, store it and use it later.
In restaurants, too hot food can be cooled down quickly to the desired temperature and then be kept at it for a long time.
If the primary cooling of electronic parts fails, PCM can work as an emergency cooling for some time to allow for a controlled shut down.
In clothing and textile industry, both cooling the person who wears the product as well as temporary warming can be desired applications.
In medical technology, well-defined low temperatures can help protecting organs during transportations and stable higher temperatures are interesting for therapeutic applications for example.
These and further examples show that Phase Change Materials will be applied in a broad area of possible applications in future. It is not only the economic feasibility that is important when exploring suitable applications however, but also the technical implementation. The required properties of PCM can only be continuously guaranteed if they are properly processed and used in materials, components or systems. The RAL Quality Association and its dedicated research and testing institutes will gladly answer your questions or help finding you a technical contact who can.