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Phase Change Matters Newsletter April 14 2017

The Phase Change Matters e-mail newsletter is a weekly summary of the latest news and research on phase change materials and thermal energy storage. To subscribe, visit For more frequent updates, follow @puretemp on Twitter or visit the Phase Change Matters blog,


Maryland legislators approve energy storage tax credit

By wide margins, Maryland legislators have passed a bill that calls for a 30 percent tax credit for the deployment of energy storage technologies, including thermal storage.

The total funding, capped at $750,000 a year for five years, starting in 2018, is relatively modest. But the credit is apparently the first of its kind in the United States, and it could serve as a model for states interested in boosting the storage market without imposing mandates.

The bill, which passed unanimously in the Senate and by a 90-vote margin in the House, is now in the hands of Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. A veto seems unlikely.

The bill defines “energy storage system” as a system designed “to store electrical energy, or mechanical, chemical, or thermal energy that was once electrical energy, for use as electrical energy at a later date or in a process that offsets electricity use at peak times.” Thus the tax credit would apply to a variety of storage technologies, including batteries, flywheels and compressed air, as well as systems based on ice and other phase change materials. 

The Maryland Energy Administration will oversee the program and determine eligibility specifics. Funding is capped at $5,000 for residential and $75,000 for commercial projects and will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

“This is a way to create an economic signal for using storage to provide grid reliability and resiliency, reduce peak capacity needs, and help integrate more renewable resources,” Jason Burwen, policy and advocacy director at the Energy Storage Association, told Greentech Media. “It is also a more conservative approach, executing this policy through the tax code with cost caps. That’s an approach that got bipartisan agreement in Maryland.”


Ice Energy to deploy up to 1,800 ice batteries in Orange County

Ice Energy has partnered with NRG Energy to install up to 1,800 behind-the-meter ice batteries – the world’s largest such deployment – in qualifying commercial and industrial buildings in Orange County, Calif.

Ice Bear 30The Ice Bear 30s will provide a total of up to 25.6 MW of peak storage capacity to Southern California Edison under 20-year power purchase agreements.

“Our distributed ice batteries will solve local grid issues in Orange County while reducing CO2 emissions by up to 200,000 tons over the life of the project,” said Mike Hopkins, CEO of Ice Energy. “Orange County commercial and industrial customers that qualify for the program will get free use of Ice Bears, lowering electric bills and further extending the life of their HVAC systems.”

The first dozen or so Ice Bears will be installed at commercial and industrial sites in Tustin, with completion expected in June.

During off-peak hours, the Ice Bear stores cooling energy by freezing water in an insulated tank. During peak hours, the company says, the stored ice delivers up to four hours of cooling, reducing the typical peak load by 95 percent.

More information on the Ice Bear and how to order through NRG Energy is available at or by calling 1-844-235-3182.


New presentation on PCM calorimetry compares RAL, IEA standards

Dr. Harald Mehling, an expert in thermal energy storage and a RAL Quality Association PCM consultant, has prepared a 37-minute presentation on phase change material calorimetry. It is intended for people starting to work in the field as well as for people who already have experience.

Dr. Harald MehlingThe presentation consists of three parts:

1. Introduction. Historic background and a general introduction to standards.

2. The RAL industry standard. Required data, resolution and accuracy; a survey of common measurement techniques; and results of an internal comparison test.

3. The International Energy Agency standard for research and development using differential scanning calorimetry, which is based on the RAL standard, including its background, the standard and achieved improvements.

The video is available for download at


Whirpool patent drawingU.S. patent application 20170102177 (applicant Whirlpool Corp., Benton Harbor, Mich.):

“A bottom mount refrigerator is provided including a thermal battery or phase change material positioned within the refrigerator or freezer in order to increase energy efficiency and compartment sizes of the refrigerator. The thermal battery [34] can be used with an ice maker to aid in removing heat from the water in the ice maker to produce ice. Furthermore, the phase change material or thermal battery may be used with a thermoelectric cooler to aid in ice production. The phase change material may be tuned to various temperatures according to the desired use of the phase change material, as well as the location of the thermal battery or phase change material. Other embodiments include positioning the phase change material in the liner of the compartments or in thermal storage units in order to further increase the energy efficiency of the refrigerator.”

Composite disc brakes with an integrated heat sink

U.S. patent application 20170102043 (applicant Goodrich Corp., Charlotte, N.C.):

“Brake disks with integrated heat sink are provided. Brake disk includes a fiber-reinforced composite material and an encapsulated heat sink material impregnated into the fiber-reinforced composite material. The encapsulated heat sink material comprises a heat sink material encapsulated within a silicon-containing encapsulation layer. Methods for manufacturing the brake disk with integrated heat sink and methods for producing the encapsulated heat sink material are also provided. … Exemplary heat sink materials (also known as thermal storage materials and phase change materials) may include [eutectic salts and eutectic alloys].”

Solar thermoelectricity via advanced latent heat storage

U.S. patent application 20170102192 (applicant Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colo.):

“An aspect of the present disclosure is a system that includes a thermal valve having a first position and a second position, a heat transfer fluid, and an energy converter where, when in the first position, the thermal valve prevents the transfer of heat from the heat transfer fluid to the energy converter, and when in the second position, the thermal valve allows the transfer of heat from the heat transfer fluid to the energy converter, such that at least a portion of the heat transferred is converted to electricity by the energy converter. … An aspect of the present disclosure is a method that includes receiving thermal energy from an energy source, transferring the thermal energy to a phase change material (PCM), delivering at least a portion of thermal energy from the PCM to a heat transfer fluid, transferring at least a fraction of the portion of thermal energy from the heat transfer fluid to an energy converter, and converting at least a portion of the fraction of the portion of thermal energy to electricity.”


RAL Quality Mark• The RAL Quality Association PCM, established in 2004 to develop standards for the phase change materials industry, has received RAL approval to use a English-language version of its quality mark. The mark signifies that a PCM has met the association’s quality and testing specifications (RAL-GZ 896) for PCM and PCM composites, objects and systems. 

Alexium International has announced plans to work with Benwel Inc. to introduce a fire-retardant undergarment for the auto racing industry. The undergarment will be treated with Alexiflam and Alexicool, Alexium’s PCM-based cooling technology. 

Sonoco ThermoSafe is expanding its line of temperature-controlled pallet solutions with the launch of the LD7 Half PAG pallet shipper. The Half PAG is available for 2-8° C or 15-25° C temperature ranges with durations in excess of five days.

• The inaugural Chemical Watch Expo, REACH into the Future, will be held in Berlin April 25-26. The expo offers workshops on preparation for the REACH 2018 registration deadline.

AkzoNobel, Advanced Biochemical Co. and Ernst & Young are developing a new online tool to track the use of bio-based raw materials in products. The project partners say it will be the first tool to use e-certification to track bio-based content along the value chain. Initially the tool is focused on epoxy-derived products and coatings. AkzoNobel says more products and companies will be added later this year.


For our full list of recent academic research, see Here are highlights from the past week:

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

Micro-encapsulated phase change material (MPCM) slurries: Characterization and building applications

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Dynamic measurement of the thermal conductivity of phase change materials in the liquid phase near the melting point

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Fatty acids and related phase change materials for reliable thermal energy storage at moderate temperatures
A study of a eutectic salt of lithium nitrate and sodium chloride (87–13%) for latent heat storage

From Cement and Concrete Composites:

Integrating phase change materials into concrete through microencapsulation using cenospheres

From Materials:

Design and Preparation of Carbon Based Composite Phase Change Material for Energy Piles

From International Journal of Computer Aided Engineering and Technology:

Testing and performance analysis of micro encapsulated rice bran distilled fatty acid

From Solar Energy:

Performance studies on a forced convection solar dryer integrated with a paraffin wax–based latent heat storage system

From AIP Conference Proceedings:

Thermal performance study of form-stable composite phase change material with polyacrylic


Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

More than a thousand of your peers have joined a LinkedIn group devoted to the discussion of phase change material and thermal energy storage. The Phase Change Matters group is an interactive complement to the award-winning blog and newsletter of the same name.

LinkedIn logoYou are invited to join the group and connect with PCM and TES experts from around the world. New members this week include Marco Mouth, sales and service engineer at Automation Ltd., Milan, Italy; Kieran Normoyle, managing director at Ocean Survivor, Limerick, Ireland; Robin Curtis, technical specialist at GeoScience Ltd., Falmouth, United Kingdom; and Pavel Kopecky, assistant professor at Czech Technical University, Prague, Czech Republic.