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Phase Change Matters newsletter | September 2022

IN BRIEF

Expanded U.S. tax credit covers thermal energy storage projects

• The U.S. Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, signed into law this summer, expands the scope of the investment tax credit for green energy technologies, including thermal energy storage.

The new law expands eligibility to claim the full energy investment tax credit described in Section 48 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended, to projects that previously only qualified for a reduced tax credit or did not qualify at all, including combined heat and power systems; equipment that uses the ground or groundwater as a thermal energy source to heat a structure or as a thermal energy sink to cool a structure; and a newly added category of “energy storage technology.”

More information on the new law is available on the International District Energy Association‘s website.

University of Barcelona logo
• Registration is open until Oct. 14 for IMPRES 2022, the Sixth International Symposium on Innovative Materials and Processes in Energy Systems. The symposium, to be held Oct. 26-28 at the University of Barcelona, is designed to foster networking and to share new concepts and new ideas for the innovative materials and processes in energy systems. The fee for full access is 900 euros (for students, 550 euros).

• The open access journal Materials is planning a special issue on phase change materials and storage applications. The guest editors, Jose I. Prado and M. Elena Navarro Rivero, are seeking original research articles (experimental or numerical) and reviews on topics such as heating and cooling, air conditioning, thermal management, solar collectors, waste heat recovery, domestic hot water, buildings and cold chain. The deadline for submitting a manuscript is May 20, 2023.

Azelio is partnering with Elum Energy of France to combine Azelios’ thermal energy storage system with Elum’s monitoring and control technology. The Swedish company’s TES.POD system stores energy as heat in recycled aluminum. One key application for the partnership is off-grid agriculture, where long-duration storage of renewable energy is needed to replace diesel generators.

Sunamp Ltd. of Edinburgh, Scotland, has signed an agreement with a Polish company to distribute Sunamp thermal batteries in Central and Eastern Europe. The first order under the deal has been confirmed, Sunamp says, with sales projected to reach up to 10 million pounds in three years. Faradise Energy, a subsidiary of Poznan-based Compremum S.A., will distribute Sunamp’s Thermino range of heat batteries for hot water in the Polish market, focusing on heat pump and solar PV compatible models. The distribution agreement is a first step toward creating a joint venture to manufacture thermal batteries using phase change materials in Poland under the Sunamp brand.

Sunamp brochure in Chinese
Sunamp, meanwhile, has redesigned its website. Content is now available in six languages, with pages and documents tuned specifically for customers in China, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United States and the United Kingdom. No sign yet of Polish content.

Brenmiller Energy of Israel has signed a memo of understanding with Green Enesys and Viridi RE to explore the integration of Brenmiller’s thermal energy storage technology in the production of hydrogen and methanol. Brenmiller’s bGen system enables the use of renewable energy and waste heat to heat crushed rocks to very high temperatures. The system stores the heat until it is needed for industrial and power-generation processes. Green Enesys and Viridi RE are developing three green hydrogen projects in Spain, with the goal of decarbonizing the European Union’s industrial, power generation and transportation sectors.

The Institute for Advanced Energy Technologies (CNR ITAE) of Messina, Italy, is looking for early stage and post-doc researchers. “Right now, we are collecting some expressions of interest,” according to a LinkedIn job post. “We will open some positions by the end of the year. Please send your CV and cover letter to valeria.palomba@itae.cnr.it or andrea.frazzica@itae.cnr.it and we will contact you back with more information about the vacancies.”

• The National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, is seeking to hire a postdoc researcher specializing in renewable thermal energy systems. Research areas may include solar thermal collectors, geothermal technologies and renewable thermal hybrid energy systems.

• The University of Birmingham‘s School of Chemical Engineering in Birmingham, England, is seeking to fill an assistant professorship in thermal energy storage and conversion. The successful candidate will be expected “to initiate and conduct international-quality research in thermal energy conversion and storage, and to bring originality and new research directions. It is expected that the candidate will bring in significant research funding from RCUK, Innovate UK, industry and international funding organisations.”

PATENTS

Blood pump impeller

U.S. patent application 20220280769 (applicant HeartWare Inc., Miami Lakes, Florida):

“An implantable blood pump including an impeller, at least a portion of the impeller being composed of a metal alloy that is a solid at normal body temperature and is configured to phase change to a liquid between a predetermined temperature above normal body temperature and about 40 degrees Celsius.”

Non-invasive brain temperature-regulating devices for enhancing sleep

Sleepme patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20220280748 (applicant Sleepme Inc., Mooresville, N.C.):

“Methods, systems and devices for enhancing sleep, including enhancing the quality of sleep, reducing sleep onset time, increasing total sleep time, treating insomnia, and/or treating other neurological disorders by non-invasive temperature regulation of the frontal cortex prior to and/or during sleep. Described herein are thermal applicators that include phase change materials and/or evaporative cooling, as well as headgear for securing the applicators comfortably against the appropriate region of the user’s head.”

Reversible water-absorbing construct

U.S. patent application 20220290877 (applicant Palo Alto Research Center Inc., Palo Alto, California):

“Water removal from humidified air and other water-laden gases may be complicated due to the need for large and expensive capital equipment or use of powder-form desiccants that may lead to pressure drops, poor throughput and energy-intensive recovery of water. Reversible water-absorbing constructs may alleviate these difficulties and comprise: a phase change polymer exhibiting a reversible hydrophilic-hydrophobic phase transition, and at least one additional material in contact with the phase change polymer, such as a water-sorptive material. The phase change polymer and the at least one additional material are formed as a plurality of filaments. Filaments formed from the phase change polymer may be generated through an electrospinning process, which may be arranged in various higher level constructs, such as in fibers, fabrics and non-woven filament mats capable of absorbing water from humidified air or other water-laden gases.”

Antibacterial internal components

U.S. patent application 20220296742 (applicant GM Global Technology Operations LLC, Detroit, Michigan):

“An antibacterial interior component, such as a door handle component, is provided in a vehicle that includes at least one touch surface in a confined space having a shadowed region. A light source includes a light emitting diode (LED) that generates light having a wavelength of ≥about 375 nm to ≤about 425 nm directed towards the at least one touch surface for killing bacteria. A thermally conductive component in heat transfer relationship with the light source to transfer heat to a heat sink either in or adjacent to the antibacterial interior component. Methods of operating the self-sanitizing antibacterial interior component are also provided.”

More U.S. patent applications:

Box-in-a-box shipper (Cryoport Inc., Brentwood, Tennessee) | Battery cooling device with fire protection material (Volocopter GmbH, Bruchsal, Germany) | Shipping system for storing and/or transporting temperature-sensitive materials (Cold Chain Technologies LLC, Franklin, Massachusetts) | Phase change composite apparatus for battery packs (Beam Global, San Diego, California) | Battery pack and battery rack and energy storage system (LG Energy Solution Ltd., Seoul, South Korea) | Battery system (Genovation Cars Inc., Rockville, Maryland) | Multifunction reservoir for climate control system (Ford Global Technologies LLC, Dearborn, Michigan) | Composite container (Proprietect LP and Rapid Aid Corp., Canada) | Improvements in or relating to temperature control packages (Softbox Systems Ltd., Long Crendon, Great Britain) | Grid interactive micro-distributed refrigerated display case (Alliance for Sustainable Energy LLC, Golden, Colorado) | Cooling system providing cooling to an infrastructure having a plurality of heat-generating units (OVH, Roubaix, France)

RESEARCH ROUNDUP

From International Journal of Thermal Sciences:

Incorporation of phase change materials in fire protective clothing considering the presence of water

From Energies:

A Critical Review on the Control Strategies Applied to PCM-Enhanced Buildings

From Chemistry of Nanomaterials for Energy, Biology and More:

Nanofibrous Membranes in Multilayer Fabrics to Avoid PCM Leakages

From Chemical Engineering Transactions:

Production of Fatty Esters from F Palm Oil By-Products for use as Phase Change Materials

From Journal of Energy Storage:

The effect of multi-walled carbon nanotubes on the thermo-physical properties of shape stabilised phase change materials for buildings based on high density polyethylene and paraffin wax
Charging and discharging characterization of a novel combined sensible-latent heat thermal energy storage system by experimental investigations for medium temperature applications
Preparation and characteristics optimization of octadecanoic acid/octadecanol/expanded graphite based composite phase change materials for energy storage
Performance improvement of photovoltaic/Trombe wall by using phase change material: Experimental assessment
Development of core-shell type microencapsulated phase change material with Zn-30 mass% Al alloy and its shell formation mechanism

From Journal of Cleaner Production:

Multiphysics study on cement-based composites incorporating green biobased shape-stabilized phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From Materials Today:

Current developments in composite phase change materials for thermal energy storage application: A review
Electrospraying poly(lactic acid) microcapsules loaded with n-hexadecane for thermal energy storage systems
Design, development, and analysis of modified concrete block integrated with thermal energy storage material for regulating indoor temperature
Thermo-regulating performance of concrete slab loaded with shape stabilized phase change material in tropical climate

From Energy:

Experimental study on photovoltaic panels integrated with metal matrix sheets and bio-based phase change materials

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Preparation and characterization of paraffin/expanded graphite composite phase change materials with high thermal conductivity

From Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology:

Phase change materials-based platforms for biomedicine

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Influence of phase change materials on thermal comfort, greenhouse gas emissions, and potential indoor air quality issues across different climatic regions: A critical review

From Energy and Buildings:

A novel approach of day-ahead cooling load prediction and optimal control for ice-based thermal energy storage (TES) system in commercial buildings
Peak cooling load shift capability of a thermal energy storage system integrated with an active insulation system in US climate zones

From Materials Letters:

Engineered Leathers for Extreme Cold Weather Application

From Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects:

An intelligent icephobic coating based on encapsulated phase change materials (PCM)

From Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry:

FDU-12 cubic mesoporous silica as matrix for phase change materials using bismuth or stearic acid

From International Journal of Civil Engineering:

Performance Review of C18 Paraffin Phase Changing Building Materials in Different Climate Zones

From International Journal of Biological Macromolecules:

Sodium alginate and Chitosan aided design of form-stable Polyrotaxane based phase change materials with ultra-high latent heat

From Solar Energy:

Tetradecyl octadecanoate phase change microcapsules incorporated with hydroxylated boron nitrides for reliable and durable heat energy storage

From Construction and Building Materials:

Mechanical and thermophysical properties of cement mortars including bio-based microencapsulated phase change materials

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 Randy Lane, former chief strategy officer at American Thermal Instruments Inc., Dayton, Ohio; Pallavi Madakasira, vice president for strategy marketing and corporate development at Phase Change Solutions Inc., Asheboro, N.C.; Syed Noman, research scholar at BS Abdur Rahman University of Science and Technology, Chennai, India; and Emily Goddard, materials research chemist at Sunamp Ltd.,
Edinburgh, Scotland.

What’s new: Group member Ray Arjomand posted an offer to sell or license his invention, a patented “window or through-wall Fridge-AC Combo” that uses phase change material frozen at night to keep the small refrigerator and air conditioner functioning efficiently during the day.

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 International Plc. | 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