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Phase Change Matters newsletter | June 2022

IN BRIEF

Yaron Ben Nun

• In an interview with podcast host Jon Slowe, Nostromo Energy founder Yaron Ben Nun, right, discusses the installation of the Israeli startup’s ice-base thermal energy storage system at two hotels in Beverly Hills, Calif. Nostromo’s IceBrick system freezes water using either a surplus of unused solar energy or inexpensive electricity at off-peak hours. The ice provides a steady supply of cool flowing air throughout buildings during the day. A candid quote from Ben Nun: “Actually there is no economical good reason for anyone to invest in such system on his own premises or his own facility anywhere else but California. And believe me, I’ve learned to read the tariff rate structure of almost every country in the world.”

Related: The company will install the IceBrick system in the Soroka University Medical Center in Israel. Nostromo will receive $434,600 for its proprietary system. The medical center will pay $231,800 and Israel’s Ministry of Energy will pay about $208,500 in the form of a grant.

• You wouldn’t expect a long-duration thermal energy storage technology to make its U.S. debut at a convenience store in Fresno, Calif. But that’s the spot chosen by Swedish cleantech company Azelio AB. The company is adapting its product to U.S. standards and working toward achieving full U.S. certification. The project will combine two TES.POD units with solar power to meet half of the energy demand of the location. TES.PODs store solar energy in recycled aluminum and convert it to electricity and heat with a total efficiency of up to 90 percent, the company says.

• THERMAplus developer MicroEra Power of Rochester, N.Y., has been awarded a pilot project by the Burlington (N.H.) Electric Department. THERMAplus uses phase change materials, proprietary software and heat exchangers to store and deploy off-peak thermal energy to heat and cool commercial buildings. Details of the pilot project were not disclosed.

• The 2024 International Conference on Thermal Energy Storage Materials and Systems has issued a call for papers. The conference will be held June 14-15, 2024, in Montreal, Canada. Potential topics include next-generation thermal energy storage materials, sensible and latent heat storage materials, advances in materials and applications, solar energy applications and textile applications. The submission deadline is Aug. 1, 2023.

Rockport and Ministry of Supply hybrid shoe

• Clothing manufacturer Ministry of Supply and shoe manufacturer Rockport of Boston, Mass., have teamed up on a line of sneakers designed to recreate “the zero-gravity experience” of the Apollo lunar missions. The limited-edition Total Motion R+M° collection combines Rockport’s energy-dispersing Total Motion Technology and Ministry of Supply’s temperature-regulating phase change technology.

Energy Storage News reports that an Australian technology combining concentrating solar power, molten silicon thermal storage, solar PV and a grid-scale battery system appears to be revived by a new joint venture. CSP and solar thermal company Vast Solar says it has stepped in to form a joint venture with 1414 Degrees, which developed and patented the technology. 1414 Degrees ran into a roadblock in April when Jemena Group, an energy infrastructure company co-owned by State Grid Corporation of China and Singapore Power, withdrew interest in investing in the project.

Rubitherm Technologies of Berlin has posted an opening for a chemical engineer who will work directly with customers: “As part of a team, you will be involved in the constant expansion and improvement of our PCM product portfolio. You will be in direct contact with customers in order to be able to implement individual customer requests. It is also your task to find and test appropriate PCM packaging solutions, taking into account all requirements (chemical, mechanical and application-related), and to introduce them into production.”

Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands, has an opening for a four-year Ph.D. position. The research involves a heat battery consisting of a packed bed of millimeter-sized salt hydrate tablets. “The challenge,” according to the posting, “is to stabilize beds of these tablets as they significantly swell over multiple hydration-dehydration cycles.”

Dr. Ying Sun has been named head of the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering. Sun has been a mechanical engineering and mechanics faculty member at Drexel University since 2009. Her research interests include heat/mass transfer; machine learning and data-driven methods; and thermal management with phase change materials.

• Solar cold storage solutions provider Ecozen of Pune, India, has raised $6.9 million as part of a planned $25 million Series C funding round. The new funding round was led by Dare Ventures, the venture capital arm of Coromandel International. Ecozen’s Ecofrost cold storage room uses phase change material and solar power to provide reliable refrigeration for farm produce.

• The University of Edinburgh School of Chemistry and Sunamp Ltd. have won the Royal Society of Chemistry‘s 2022 Industry-Academia Collaboration Award. The collaboration led to the development and commercialization of Sunamp’s heat-storage technology using novel formulations of phase change materials.

PATENTS

Controlling thermal energy storage

U.S. patent application 20220187028 (applicant Nostromo Ltd., Even-Yehuda, Israel):

Nostromo patent drawing

“A method of flattening electric energy demand from an electric grid including during less-than-peak electricity demand periods, freezing Phase Change Material (PCM) in a Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system, and during peak electricity demand periods, using the TES to cool air conditioning refrigerant fluid. A system of flattening electric energy demand of an air-conditioner from an electric grid including an air conditioner, a Thermal Energy Storage system, and a controller, wherein the controller is programmed to implement the above method. A method of freezing Phase Change Material (PCM) in a Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system including setting a temperature of heat exchange fluid at a temperature higher than −10 degrees Celsius when directed to ice bricks containing water and an ice nucleation agent. A Thermal Energy Storage (TES) system controller programmed to discharge more than 50% of a heat capacity of the TES. Related apparatus and methods are also described.”

Related: Thermal energy storage system containers

PCMs with solid-to-solid transitions

U.S. patent application 20220195281 (applicant Sunamp Ltd., Edinburgh, Scotland):

“There is herein described phase change materials (PCMs) comprising at least one or a plurality (e.g. a mixture) of tetrafluoroborate salts that are capable of undergoing a solid to solid phase transition. In particular, there is described phase change materials (PCMs) comprising at least one or a plurality (e.g. a mixture) of tetrafluoroborate salts where there is at least one tetrafluoroborate salt or a plurality of tetrafluoroborate salt which have a solid to solid phase transition. The tetrafluoroborate salt may comprise at least one anion or a plurality of the same or different anions of tetrafluoroborate (e.g. BF4—). The PCM may have a solid to solid phase change in the region of about −270° C. to about 3,000° C., about −50° C. to about 1,500° C., about 0° C. to about 1,000° C., or about 0° C. to about 500° C. temperature range.”

xxx patent drawingElectrical machine winding having improved cooling

U.S. patent application 20220190686 (applicant Safran Helicopter Engines, Bordes, France):

“An assembly including a winding and a cooler in contact with conductors of the winding, the cooler including a container forming a heat dissipator and including a phase change material having the ability to absorb a surplus quantity of heat when the conductors of the winding are subject to an increase in their current density and the heat dissipator is composed of at least two hollow parts separate and nestable with one another and intended to house the phase change material.”

Multiple immiscible PCMs contained in common vessel

U.S. patent application 20220194678 (applicant American Aerogel Corp., Rochester, N.Y.):

“This present disclosure provides a vessel assembly for use in temperature sensitive shipping that can maintain a payload temperature across a range of temperatures. The vessel assembly of the present disclosure comprises a vessel having a single chamber, in which a plurality of PCMs are in contact, but immiscible, with each other. The present disclosure reduces the overall packaging materials used in a shipper box and prevents the “wrong” mixture of PCM-containing vessels from being used.”

More U.S. patent applications:

Portable smart refrigerator (Faizan Ahmed, San Jose, Calif.) | Insulation container for temperature-controlled transport of pharmaceutical products (va-Q-tec AG, Würzburg, Germany) | Phase change materials and applications (Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla., and UT-Battelle, Oak Ridge, Tenn.) | Respirator with phase change material (Scott Technologies Inc., Monroe, N.C.) | A system and an application for the regulation of temperature in a server room (HeatVentors Kft, Mezötúr, Hungary) | Transport container (Rep IP AG, Zug, Switzerland) | Aerogel composites (Aspen Aerogels Inc., Northborough, Mass.) | Machining coolant (Rolls-Royce Plc, London)

RESEARCH ROUNDUP

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Objective oriented phase change material composite heat sink design
Phase change material based thermal energy storage applications for air conditioning: Review
Comfort and economic aspects of phase change materials integrated with heavy-structure buildings in hot climates

From Journal of Cleaner Production:

Phase change material coupled building envelope for thermal comfort and energy-saving: Effect of natural night ventilation under hot climate
Integration of phase change materials in improving the performance of heating, cooling, and clean energy storage systems: An overview

Thermal conductivity of 3D printed concrete with recycled fine aggregate composite phase change materials

From Chemical Engineering Journal:

Bio-based recyclable form-stable phase change material based on thermally reversible Diels–Alder reaction for sustainable thermal energy storage

From Materials Today:

Application of phase change material in thermal energy storage systems

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Phase change materials composite boards and mortars: Mixture design, physical, mechanical and thermal behavior
Study of circular, horizontal and vertical elliptical enclosures filled with phase change material in thermal management of lithium-ion batteries in an air-cooled system

Experimental study of the thermal properties of a fatty acid-modified graphite composite phase change material dispersion system

Energy consumption of a building with phase change material walls – The effect of phase change material properties

Extraction of natural myristic acid from nutmeg with expanded vermiculite for thermal energy storage

From Energy Sources:

Preparation and characterization of shape-stable bio-based composite phase change materials for thermal energy storage: coconut oil / activated carbon from cherry stones doped composites

From International Journal of Energy Research:

D-mannitol-based eutectic composite phase change materials with high thermal conductivity and solar-thermal conversion

Potential of wood as thermal energy storage materials: Different characteristics depending on the hierarchical structure and components

From Journal of Building Engineering:

Study of the flat plate solar collector’s efficiency for sustainable and renewable energy management in a building by a phase change material: Containing paraffin-wax/Graphene and Paraffin-wax/graphene oxide carbon-based fluids

Energy exchange of Inserting Eco-friendly Bio Phase Change Material into the vertical walls to make the buildings energy-efficient

Evaluation of phase change material and thermochromic layers in a “smart wall” in different climates for improving thermal comfort in a building

From Journal of Thermoplastic Composite Materials:

Preparation and thermal properties of modified binary paraffin – Hexadecylamine shaped composite phase-change energy storage materials

From Advanced Composites and Hybrid Materials:

Flame-retardant and leakage-proof phase change composites based on MXene/polyimide aerogels toward solar thermal energy harvesting

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

A comprehensive review of composite phase change material based thermal management system for lithium-ion batteries

From Key Engineering Materials:

An Overview on the Use of Phase Change Material (PCM) for PV Cooling

From International Journal of Refrigeration:

Performance investigation of hybrid adsorption-compression refrigeration system accompanied with phase change materials − Intermittent characteristics

From Applied Energy:

Investigation of a radiative sky cooling module using phase change material as the energy storage

Microencapsulation of low melting phase change materials for cold storage applications

From Energy:

Evaluation of the energy flexibility potential of radiant ceiling panels with thermal energy storage

NETWORKING

Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

LinkedIn logoMore than 1,700 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 Odysseas Vasilakis, project engineer at Softbox Systems, Oxford, England; Sanjeev Kumar, assistant professor at Lovely Professional University, Phagwara, India; Teresa Watson, assistant plant manager at Phase Change Solutions Inc., Asheboro, N.C.; John Clifford and Angad Loomba, sales and marketing at C-Therm Technologies Ltd., Fredericton, Canada; Robert Futch, chief technology officer at Delta Development, Tucson, Ariz.; and Andrew McCahey, thermal systems engineer at Sunamp Ltd., Edinburgh, Scotland.

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 SPONSOR

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

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: PLUSS Advanced Technologies | Gurgaon, India

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Pluss partnered with Murugappa Polytechnic College in Chennai, India, to set up the Center for Sustainability and Energy Transition. Pluss has helped install solar cold storage, drying technology and temperature-controlled transport solutions at the university. All the solutions use a combination of renewables/clean energy combined with thermal energy storage demonstrating the potential of PCMs in the decarbonizing cold-chain sector. The objective is to promote technical skills among students and working professionals and generate awareness of sustainable cooling/heating within agricultural, cold chain and health care sectors. Pluss will also be active in putting together a carefully curated curriculum focused on thermal energy storage. The center will allow the students to be at the forefront of the deployment of these technologies in India.