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Phase Change Matters newsletter | July 2022

COMPANY NEWS

Croda sells industrial chemicals business to Cargill – but keeps PCM unit

Croda International has completed the sale of most of its performance technologies and industrial chemicals businesses to Minnesota-based food giant Cargill Inc.

“This divestment accelerates Croda’s transition to being a pure-play consumer care and life sciences company, said Steve Foots, chief executive of the British specialty chemicals company. “We will redeploy capital and resources to scale our consumer, health and crop care technologies, helping to deliver consistent, superior sales growth and even stronger profit margins.”

Marco Auerbach
The 775-million-euro sale does not include Croda’s phase change materials business, but Cargill will take possession of Croda’s research center in Gouda, Netherlands.

Marco Auerbach, right, technology development manager at the Gouda lab since 2018, will move to a new role with Cargill. It is unclear whether Cargill plans to develop its own PCM business.

Cargill says the acquisition will greatly expand its presence in high-growth markets for bio-based solutions in Europe, the United States and Asia.

Look for more details on the future of PCMs at Croda and Cargill in the next issue of Phase Change Matters.

IN BRIEF

• China-based startup Passive Edge Tech, one of 10 finalists in the CapitaLand Sustainability X Challenge 2022, pitched its PCM-based heating and cooling system at the CSXC demo day in Singapore on July 20. CapitaLand, a Singapore real estate company, launched CSXC in 2020 to seek proposals to make buildings more climate-resilient and resource-efficient. All 10 finalists this year received $50,000 awards to pilot their technologies at CapitaLand properties.

• Swedish public utility Vattenfall is about to start filling a 45-meter-high, 200MW-rated thermal energy storage facility with water in Berlin, Germany. The storage tank can hold 56 million liters of water that will be heated to 98 degrees Celsius and will be combined with the existing power-to-heat system of Vattenfall’s adjoining Reuter West power plant. The water will be fed directly into Berlin’s district heating network. After months of filling and testing, commercial operation is expected to begin in April 2023.

Polar Night Energy
Polar Night Energy of Finland has opened its first commercial sand battery in Kankaanpää, Finland. According to the online journal New Atlas, the thermal energy storage system is “built around a big, insulated steel tank – around 4 meters wide and 7 meters high – full of plain old sand. When this sand is heated up, using a simple heat exchanger buried in the middle of it, this device is capable of storing an impressive 8 megawatt-hours of energy, at a nominal power rating of 100 kW, with the sand heated to somewhere around 500-600 degrees Celsius.”

• Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have created the first solid-state optical nanomotor. “All previous versions of these light-driven motors reside in a solution of some sort, which held back their potential for most real-world applications,” Phys.org reports. “By taking these motors out of the solution and putting them onto chips, they have the potential to replace batteries in some instances, using only light to generate mechanical motion and power devices. This breakthrough arises from a novel design: a thin layer of phase change material on the substrate. The thin film can undergo a local and reversible change from the solid to a quasi-liquid phase when exposed to light. This phase change can reduce the friction force of the nanomotors and drives the rotation.”

• Australian clean energy company MGA Thermal has unveiled the first stage of its new commercial manufacturing facility in Newcastle, New South Wales. MGA Thermal manufactures a thermal storage material called miscibility gap alloys. The company says MGA blocks are capable of storing huge amounts of energy as heat, in a safe and easy-to-use way. MGA technology was developed at the University of Newcastle.

• Are you up for a heated discussion of the merits of domestic thermal energy storage? The blog Protons for Breakfast has been stirring the pot on that very topic. Jump right in and share your views.

• Heat battery maker Sunamp Ltd. has cracked the inaugural FEBE Growth 100, a new list of Britain’s fastest-growing, founder-led private companies. FEBE is a business group for entrepreneurs, co-founded by Charlotte Quince and John Maffioli, and backed by former BBC Dragons Jenny Campbell and Sarah Willingham, Bloom & Wild founder Aron Gelbard, and Charlie Bigham of the ready meal business.

Valeria Palomba, researcher at the Institute for Advanced Energy Technologies in Messina, Italy, has been named associate editor at Elsevier‘s Journal of Energy Storage.

PATENTS

Baby bathers with phase change material

U.S. patent application 20220202259 (applicant Baby Patent Ltd., Ramat Gan, Israel):

Baby bather patent drawing

“An apparatus includes a person-supporting structure including a first surface, configured to face a person while the person-supporting structure supports the person, and a second surface behind the first surface. The apparatus further includes a cover coupled to the second surface of the person-supporting structure and configured to contain water between the cover and the person-supporting structure such that the water transfers heat to the person-supporting structure. Other embodiments are also described.”

Non-stop defrosting multiconnected hot water system

U.S. patent application 20220235983 (applicant Guangdong Giwee Technology Co. Ltd., Foshan, China):

“A non-stop defrosting multi-connected hot water system and a control method. Heat is recovered by utilizing the characteristic of a phase-change heat storage module that can store heat, and then the heat is released during defrosting. In a defrosting process, modes of a hydraulic module and an indoor unit are not changed, and a four-way valve is not reversed, so as to avoid the influence of the defrosting process on an indoor ambient temperature and a water temperature of the hydraulic module, and avoid the condition where a liquid refrigerant generated in the defrosting process does not evaporate and directly flows back into a compressor which causes liquid return of the compressor, thus improving the reliability of the overall operation of the system.”

Heating and cooling systems and apparatuses with PCM

U.S. patent application 20220205727 (applicant Stash Energy Inc., Fredericton, Canada):

xxx patent drawing

“A system for selectively heating and cooling including a three-way heat exchange apparatus, a source apparatus for selectively heating and cooling a source fluid, a phase change material for selectively storing heating and cooling potential, and a distribution apparatus for selectively distributing heating and cooling a distribution fluid, wherein the three-way heat exchange apparatus is connected to the phase change material by an interface between the heat exchange apparatus and the phase change material.”

Thermal storage materials and applications

U.S. patent application 20220220871 (applicant Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass.):

“The present invention relates to automotive products, as well as uses thereof, which can facilitate warming of engine oil in an energy efficient and, therefore, more environmentally friendly manner. More specifically, a fluid reservoir is disclosed that includes a double walled vessel that defines a fluid containing compartment and has a self-contained region that shares a wall with the fluid containing compartment. A composition in the self-contained region at least partially covers the shared wall surface, and one or more light sources are positioned in the self-contained region to induce a phase change in the composition. The composition includes a phase-change material (PCM) and a molecular switch material. This fluid reservoir can be used to heat oil in an engine or oil pan.”

More U.S. patent applications:

Module for thermal storage by a PCM whose manufacture is simplified (Commissariat A L’ Energie Atomique Et Aux Energies Alternatives and GRIMS, Paris and Villette D’anthon, France) | Systems and methods for full spectrum solar thermal energy harvesting (University of Houston System, Houston, Texas) | System and method of generating a momentum change in a vehicle (Ivaylo Trendafilov Vasilev, Rockwall, Texas) | Thermal regulatory modules useful for cooling energy packs (Hong Kong Applied Science and Technology Research Institute Co. Ltd. , Shatin, Hong Kong) | Air conditioning system (Audi AG, Ingolstadt, Germany) | Vehicle air conditioning system (Faiveley Transport Leipzig GmbH & Co. KG, Schkeuditz, Germany) | Food transportation systems (Phase Change Solutions, Asheboro, N.C.)

RESEARCH ROUNDUP

From Journal of Cleaner Production:

Which one is more effective to add to building envelope: Phase change material, thermal insulation, or their combination to meet zero-carbon-ready buildings?

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Thermal energy storage enhancement of a forced circulation solar water heater’s vertical tank unit using phase change material

From Journal of Molecular Liquids:

Thermal performance evaluation of isopropyl stearate-expanded graphite based shape stabilized phase change material composite targeting cold chain application

From International Communications in Heat and Mass Transfer:

Analysis of melting of phase change material block inserted to an open cavity

From Energy Sources:

Performance evaluation of a laboratory-scale cooling system as a household refrigerator with phase change materials

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Review on thermal performance of heat exchanger using phase change material

From Fluid Mechanics and Thermal Sciences:

Performance Improvement of The Domestic Refrigerator Using Phase Change Materials

From International Journal of Ambient Energy:

Design and Performance Evaluation of Thermoelectric Cooling System Integrated with PCM (Phase Change Material)

From Micro:

Methods for the Synthesis of Phase Change Material Microcapsules with Enhanced Thermophysical Properties—A State-of-the-Art Review

From Biosystems Engineering:

Unmanned aerial vehicle transport of frozen blood samples using phase change materials

From Journal of Building Engineering:

The effect of using phase change materials in solar panel cooling to provide green and sustainable energy of a building
Properties of eco-friendly foam concrete containing PCM impregnated rice husk ash for thermal management of buildings
Reducing the cooling and heating energy of a building in hot and cold climates by employing phase change materials

From Energy:

Development, characterization and thermo-regulative performance of microencapsulated phase change material included-glass fiber reinforced foam concrete as novel thermal energy effective-building material

From Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments:

Toward buildings with lower power demand in the smart city of NEOM-incorporating phase change material into building envelopes

From Building and Environment:

Study of ultra-light modular phase change cooling clothing based on dynamic human thermal comfort modeling

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Development of a hybrid battery thermal management system coupled with phase change material under fast charging conditions

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Oil-in-oil emulsions of stearic acid dispersed in silicone oil with enhanced energy storage capability for heat transfer fluids

From Case Studies in Thermal Engineering:

Preparation and performance of multifunctional pumping wet shotcrete with the inclusion of microencapsulated phase change material

From Energy and Buildings:

Biobased phase change materials from a perspective of recycling, resources conservation and green buildings

From Journal of Energy Storage:

New potential applications of phase change materials: A review
Recent advances and impact of phase change materials on solar energy: A comprehensive review
Strategies for phase change material application in latent heat thermal energy storage enhancement: Status and prospect
Evaluation of thermal behavior and life cycle cost analysis of greenhouses with bio-phase change materials in multiple locations
Phase change materials in building integrated space heating and domestic hot water applications: A review
Potential applications of phase change materials for batteries’ thermal management systems in electric vehicles
Simultaneous use of porous medium and phase change material as coolant of photovoltaic modules; thermodynamic analysis

NETWORKING

Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

LinkedIn logoMore 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 Johan Karlstedt, chairman and co-founder at GEBO Cleantech Group, Helsinki, Finland; Kapil Singhal, managing director at B P Refcool, Gurugram, India; Lizhong Yang, research associate in cold thermal storage at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore; Tridib Ambardar, R&D intern at PLUSS Advanced Technologies, Gurgaon, India; Deepika Singhal, business development manager at PLUSS; Steven Kaplan, sales, Viking Cold Solutions Inc., Houston; and Navid Aslfattahi, postdoctoral researcher at Czech Technical University, Prague.

NEWS TIPS

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 benedict.welter@gmail.com.

A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS

RAL Quality MarkThis newsletter is made possible through the generous support of the RAL Quality Association PCM and the members listed below. To learn more about the association, including membership benefits, please contact Stefan Thomann, executive director, at pcm@kellencompany.com.

Axiotherm GmbH | Croda Europe Ltd. | ISU Chemical Co. Ltd. | RuhrTech | Microtek Laboratories | PCM Technology | PLUSS Advanced Technologies | PureTemp LLC | Rubitherm Technologies GmbH | Sasol Germany GmbH | S.Lab Asia Inc. | Sunamp Ltd. | va-Q-tec AG