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Phase Change Matters newsletter | May 2022

IN BRIEF

Rubitherm unveils new HVAC product

PhaseDrum by RubithermRubitherm Technologies GmbH introduced its new PhaseDrum heat recovery system at the IFH/Intherm HVAC trade show in Nuremberg, Germany, in April. The heat recovery system employs salt hydrates with different melting temperatures and overall storage capacity of 170 kJ. “The innovative integration of a phase change material permits ventilation of interior spaces with a significantly improved switchover time of the fans,” the company says. “The use of the PCM storage keeps the supply air temperature constant for an extended time period. This enables an increase of switching times of the fans to up to 30 minutes.”

• The Eindhoven Institute for Renewable Energy Systems is hosting a free online lecture by Luisa F. Cabeza and Emiliano Borri of the GREiA Research Group at the University of Lleida. The lecture will be from noon to 1 p.m. CET on Friday, June 3. The topic: “Recent trends and future perspectives on the use of phase change materials for thermal energy storage.”

A liquid air energy storage system featuring phase change materials is now a live Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator demonstrator project at Aggregate Industries’ Cauldon cement works in Staffordshire, England. The PRISMA system (Peak Reduction by Integrated Storage and Management of Air) uses a cold storage tank filled with a phase change material to store thermal energy. Along with several off-the-shelf components, this forms a system designed to increase the efficiency of the cement work’s existing compressed-air network and reduce energy use by up to 25 percent.

• Since January, Hofpfisterei München has been using va-Q-tec‘s va-Q-trays to safely transport frozen dough. Va-Q-tec says the passive thermal boxes are saving the German bakery approximately 320 kilowatt hours of energy per day. In addition, the reusable boxes are expected to save about 50 tons of packaging waste annually. The boxes are designed to transport temperature-sensitive foods at a constant temperature for up to several hours without the need for external energy. Va-Q-tec says its vacuum insulation panels insulate around five times better than conventional insulation boxes. Optional use of phase change materials can extend the temperature holding time.

Andrew McCahey, thermal systems engineer at Sunamp Ltd., posted a brief but stimulating look at the origins of refrigeration on LinkedIn this month.

• Researchers at Texas State University have won a grant from the American Concrete Institute Foundation to develop a PCM-based heat-absorbing covering to prevent excessive temperature rise in concrete pavements and bridge decks during curing in hot weather. The project was among 10 proposals awarded up to $50,000 each to cover direct costs.

• The International Energy Agency’s Energy Storage Technology Collaboration Program is organizing an Enerstock Online conference to be held Feb. 14-15, 2023. The conference will focus on developments “in the science, politics, and practical implementation of energy storage technology.” Send your suggestions and contributions to ESTCPSecretariat@zae-bayern.de before July 1.

Walter van KampenWalter van Kampen, technical commercial adviser at Orange Climate – Autarkis for nearly a decade, is leaving the Dutch company. He announced the change on LinkedIn [translated from Dutch]: “It’s been a decade+ of innovative years. Heat storage in phase transition (PCM) for use in utility, technical rooms and homes. Many ideas and theories were there in the beginning, but now there are many successful applications. … What is the next phase? Well that’s going to be quite a transition. Together with my Danielle we emigrate about 8000 km away to Bonaire, where I will work as a manager for the Caribbean Netherlands Agency.”

Thermal Custom Packaging, a Florida company specializing in transportation solutions for temperature-sensitive health care and military cargo, is bringing its packaging to the front lines of law enforcement with its new PC-21 case, designed to preserve the integrity of evidence. The company says the lightweight insulated case is capable of holding DNA samples at -21º C for many hours.

• Registration is open for Latent Thermal Energy Storage Summer School 2022, to be held Sept. 5-9 at the Lucerne School of Engineering and Architecture in Switzerland. The five-day program is an opportunity for young scientists and engineers both from academia and industry to learn from leading international experts about advances in latent thermal energy storage systems. This edition will be focused on “Materials for Smart LTES.” The in-person fee is 650 Swiss francs, with attendance limited to 20 people. An online-only option is available. The registration deadline is Aug. 19.

Monodraught Ltd., a U.K.-based HVAC manufacturer whose product line includes PCM-equipped ventilation and cooling systems, is seeking to hire an internal sales coordinator.

CIC energiGUNE, a research center in Spain’s Basque region, is seeking to hire a postdoc researcher in high-temperature phase change materials development and coatings.

PATENTS

Actively heated or cooled garments or footwear

U.S. patent application 20220154389 (applicant Ember Technologies Inc., Westlake Village, Calif.):

Ember patent drawing

“Garments or footwear with active temperature control include one or more heating or cooling elements, one or more batteries, and one or more power receivers. Circuitry of the garment of footwear is configured to control the delivery of power to the one or more heating or cooling elements to heat or cool one or more portions of the garment associated with the one or more heating or cooling elements. … The garment of claim 23, wherein the batteries [440] are enclosed in a phase change material, allowing the batteries to remain in the garment during washing and drying of the garment.”

Nested freezers for storage and transportation of COVID vaccine

U.S. patent application 20220163242 (applicant Sheetak Inc., Austin, Texas):

“The present disclosure is related to nested cooling and heating systems. The cooling system includes an outer cooling assembly with an inner cooling assembly inserted within the outer cooling system. The inner cooling assembly includes thermoelectric coolers, and the outer cooling assembly may [be] thermoelectric or vapor compression driven. Additional intermediate cooling assemblies may be nested together with the inner and outer cooling assemblies to increase the cooling effect in the innermost cooling assembly. Similarly, the heating system uses nested thermoelectric heating assemblies, and hot temperatures can be increased by adding intermediate nested heating assemblies. … One or more of the thermally conducting layers may include a phase change material (PCM). The PCM may be embedded within one or more of the thermally conducting layers and stabilize the temperature of the cavity 399, especially when the thermoelectric heater is unpowered or has an uneven power supply.”

Thermal energy storage systems

U.S. patent application 20220146210 (applicant Phase Change Energy Solutions Inc., Greensboro, N.C.):

Ember patent drawing

“In one aspect, thermal energy storage systems are described herein. In some embodiments, such a system comprises a container, a heat exchanger disposed within the container, and a phase change material (PCM) disposed within the container. The heat exchanger comprises an inlet pipe, an outlet pipe; and a number n of plates in fluid communication with the inlet pipe and the outlet pipe, wherein n is at least 2. The inlet pipe, outlet pipe, and plates are arranged and connected such that a fluid flowing from the inlet pipe and to the outlet pipe flows through the plates in between the inlet pipe and the outlet pipe. The PCM disposed within the container is also in thermal contact with the plates.”

Related: Hybrid systems and methods for managing thermal energy

More U.S. patent applications:

Dynamic temperature regulating device (Thermocan Dynamics Inc., London, Ontario, Canada) | Portable thermal insulating apparatus (Blue Dot Rising Inc., Long Beach, Calif.) | Induction cooking device and method (Vestel Elektronik Sanayi ve Ticaret AS, Manisa, Turkey) | Poly acrylate and poly(beta-amino ester) capsules with enhanced degradability (Encapsys LLC, Appleton, Wis.) | Isolation system for transporting and storing fragile objects (Supporting Organization for the Georgia Okeeffe Museum, Santa Fe, N.M.) | Phase change microcapsule (HKUST Fok Ying Tung Research Institute, Guangzhou, China) | Mattress assemblies (Dreamwell Ltd. and Georgia Tech Research Corp., Atlanta, Georgia) | Cold chain barrier wall packaging system (WestRock Shared Services LLC, Atlanta, Georgia)

RESEARCH ROUNDUP

From Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments:

Phase change materials for thermal energy storage applications in greenhouses: A review

From Polymer Science:

Development of Paraffin-Based Shape-Stable Phase Change Material for Thermal Energy Storage

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Investigation on the thermal management of solar photo voltaic cells cooled by phase change material
Optimisation of a portable phase-change material (PCM) storage system for emerging cold-chain delivery applications
Thermal storage achievement of paraffin wax phase change material systems with regard to novolac aerogel/carbon monofilament/zinc borate form stabilization

From International Journal of Biological Macromolecules:

Shape-stabilized phase change material with high phase change enthalpy made of PEG compounded with lignin-based carbon
Bio-films based on alginate/modified clay through spray drying: Mechanical, rheological, morphological, and transport properties for potential use as active food packaging

From Colloid and Polymer Science:

Green preparation and thermal properties of shape-stabilized paraffin/CS/SiO2 composite for phase change energy storage

From Clima 2022:

Enhanced building energy flexibility using passive PCM envelope and HVAC control automation
Experimental and numerical performance evaluation of building integrated photovoltaic with thermoelectric generator and phase change material
Phase change materials in facades of buildings for solar heating and cooling [pdf]
Analysis of heat storage using phase change material
[pdf]

From Energy Conversion and Management: X:

Review on the sustainability of phase-change materials used in buildings

From Case Studies in Construction Materials:

Phase change materials incorporated into geopolymer concrete for enhancing energy efficiency and sustainability of buildings: A review

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Synthesis and characterization of microencapsulated phase change material with phenol-formaldehyde resin shell for thermal energy storage
Novel industrial waste-based shape-stabilized composite phase change materials with high heat storage performance from calcium carbide furnace dust

From Energy:

Optimization of supercooling, thermal conductivity, photothermal conversion, and phase change temperature of sodium acetate trihydrate for thermal energy storage applications
Processing wood into a phase change material with high solar-thermal conversion efficiency by introducing stable polyethylene glycol-based energy storage polymer

From Journal of Industrial Textiles:

Smart coating in protective clothing for firefighters: An overview and recent improvements

From European Polymer Journal:

Shape-stable and smart polyrotaxane-based phase change materials with enhanced flexibility and fire-safety

From Energy and Buildings:

Alternative experimental characterization of phase change material plasterboard using two-step temperature ramping technique
A critical review on phase change materials (PCM) for sustainable and energy efficient building: Design, characteristic, performance and application

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Investigation of a novel bio-based phase change material hemp concrete for passive energy storage in buildings
Enhanced performance of thermoelectric cooler with phase change materials: An experimental study

From Materials Today: Proceedings:

Effects of phase-change materials on concrete pavements

From Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health:

Modeling and Analyzing for Thermal Protection of Firefighters’ Glove by Phase Change Material

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Phase change materials in thermally activated building systems: A comprehensive review

From Journal of Building Engineering:

Preparation and thermal performance of phase change material (PCM) foamed cement used for the roof

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 Graeme Taylor, founder and business development director at Agile Energy Recovery Ltd., Aberdeen, Scotland; Jason Hirschey, Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering and thermal energy storage systems at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta; Christian Hörl, head of PCM R&D at va-Q-tec AG, Würzburg, Germany; Lei (Jolie) Chen, president and co-founder at InnoCap, Hangzhou, China; Kamel Hooman, professor of mechanical engineering at Delft University of Technology, Netherlands; Norbert-Jan van Spijk, project leader at OC Autarkis, Tilburg, Netherlands; Murthy Doddasomayajula, thermal engineer at MaxQ Research, Stillwater, Okla.; Sufyan Rasool, GDP specialist at Abu Dhabi Ports, United Arab Emirates; Pieter Vonk, general manager for product management at KLK Emmerich GmbH, Gouda, Netherlands; and Thomas Dedeck, business manager for fatty alcohols and methyl esters at KLK Emmerich, Hamburg, Germany.

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: Sunamp Ltd. | Edinburgh, Scotland

Sunamp logoSunamp has developed patented thermal storage technologies with its world-leading Plentigrade phase change materials at the core of its products for heating and cooling. These energy-dense heat stores are ideally suited to be coupled with heat pumps and other low-carbon technologies. The company’s new Thermino range of heat batteries for domestic hot water picked up a top innovation award at Futurebuild 2022 in London. To find out more, contact info@sunamp.com.