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 www.puretemp.com/subscribe. For more frequent updates, follow @puretemp on Twitter or visit the Phase Change Matters blog, www.puretemp.com/pcmatters.
Products that tap the power of phase change material have appeared on network television before, taking star turns on “Shark Tank” and “Superstore.” But until this week, a thermal-management product had never generated howls of appreciation from an audience.
The Ember temperature-control coffee mug was among the high-end products given to cheering audience members on Thursday’s episode of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” The $150 mug, introduced last fall, is sold online and in select Starbucks stores in the United States. It uses phase change material and a microprocessor-controlled heating system to maintain hot beverages at temperatures set by the user.
Axiom Exergy system installed at Whole Foods in California
Axiom Exergy has completed the first installation of its thermal storage system at a Whole Foods Market store in Los Altos, Calif.
In just three years, notes Greentech Media, Axiom has transitioned from a garage startup to a revenue-generating company with a major supermarket customer.
Axiom’s “Refrigeration Battery” system is designed to reduce a supermarket’s peak power use by up to 40 percent and provide backup cooling during power outages. It uses the excess capacity of a customer’s existing refrigeration system to “store cooling” at night by freezing tanks of salt water. The frozen tanks supply refrigeration to the building during periods of peak demand, reducing the need to run energy-intensive compressors and condensers.
The “passive retrofit” at Whole Foods did not require modification of the store’s existing refrigeration system. The thermal storage tanks were placed in the loading dock area behind the store, and Axiom’s system integrator was installed next to the compressor racks in the mechanical room. Axiom says the system has successfully charged and discharged 1040 kWh of load for up to 10 hours a day over the course of several months.
“We are proud to be leading our industry by being the first to use such an innovative technology to shift our large refrigeration-based energy loads to off-peak hours,” said Tristam Coffin, director of sustainability and facilities at Whole Foods.
U.S. patent application 20170115046 (applicant Packaging Technology Group Inc., Fall River, Mass.):
“A method of packing a temperature sensitive product utilizes a temperature controlled product shipper that includes a phase change material bladder which can be filled at the point of packaging. The temperature sensitive product is contained within a product box or master case, which is in turn packed inside an insulated liner and an outer box. The PCM bladder fits between the master case and the insulated liner and is filled with a preconditioned flowable PCM at the point of packing just before closing the box for shipment.”
U.S. patent application 20170113868 (applicant Sonoco Development Inc., Hartsville, S.C.):
“A packaging system for a temperature sensitive payload is provided. The system includes side panels and end panels forming a product compartment. Cooling layers within the product compartment are located below and above the products. Channel members located between the side panels and the payload and between the end panels and the payload create vertical channels having rectangular cross sectional areas for convective air movement. … In a refinement each of the bottom cooling layers comprises multiple refrigerant components arranged edge to edge to form a layer within the packaging system. Each refrigerant component may comprise a phase change material (such as water) and a protective outer container.”
U.S. patent application 20170113200 (applicant Encapsys LLC, Appleton, Wis.):
“An improved process of making a benefit agent delivery particle and an improved microcapsule made by such process are disclosed. The process comprises the steps of providing a first composition of water phase 1, water phase 2 and water phase 3. Water phase 1 comprises water and an initiator; water phase 2 comprises water, a water-soluble or dispersible amine(meth)acrylate or hydroxyl(meth)acrylate and a multifunctional (meth)acrylate. Water phase 3 comprises water, and carboxyalkyl(meth)acrylate and a base or quarternary ammonium acrylate.”
• Paragon Space Development and partner SunDanzer of Tucson, Ariz., recently were awarded a research contract worth about $150,000 by the U.S. Special Operations Command to design a portable refrigerator to store blood and medications safely in the field. Components will include advanced compressors and phase change material.
• New York State‘s “Reforming the Energy Vision” program is offering $15.5 million in funding for the research and demonstration of energy storage projects that support renewable energy, ease peak power grid demand and help customers save money. The REV initiative is an effort to pave the way for utilities, homeowners and businesses to adopt renewable energy technology more easily.
• A coalition of more than 300 businesses and organizations in Europe, including property firms CBRE and Colliers International, is calling for ambitious “national renovation strategies” that set out clear targets on transforming existing buildings in order to meet the targets laid out in the Paris Agreement.
• Chemical Watch is offering a five-day REACH training course in four cities this year: London, Cambridge, Chicago and Vienna. The main focus of the course is to give participants a practical overview of the key tasks imposed by REACH, including strategies for meeting the registration deadline in 2018.
• CHEMTREC is among the exhibitors at next week’s Council on Safe Transportation of Hazardous Articles conference and expo in Scottsdale, Ariz.
• The American Chemistry Council‘s Chemistry Activity Barometer has posted strong year-over-year gains since Jan. 1, suggesting continued growth through the end of the year. “This index has been a good coincident [and] at times leading indicator of both industrial production and overall economic growth,” writes industry observer Scott Grannis, “and it continues to point to rising industrial production and continued growth of the U.S. economy.”
• Thermal risk expert EkkoSense‘s survey of 128 U.K. data centers found that 66 percent of installed cooling equipment “is not actually delivering any active cooling benefits.” EkkoSense cited poor airflow management and a failure to actively monitor and report rack temperatures.
• AkzoNobel has selected 20 finalists for its Imagine Chemistry initiative, launched earlier this year to help solve real-life chemistry-related challenges and to uncover sustainable opportunities for the company’s specialty chemicals business. The finalists will participate in a three-day event starting June 1 at AkzoNobel’s research facility in Deventer, Netherlands, where they will be supported by technical and business development experts to further develop their concepts.
For our full list of recent academic research, see puretemp.com/academic. Here are highlights from the past week:From Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry:
• Preparation and thermal cycling of expanded graphite/adipic acid composite phase change materials
From RSC Advances:
• Phase change materials of fatty amine-modified silicate clays of nano layered structures
• Myristic acid-hybridized diatomite composite as a shape-stabilized phase change material for thermal energy storage
From 4th Sustainable Thermal Energy Management International Conference:
• Domestic thermal storage requirements for heat demand flexibility
From Smart Materials and Nondestructive Evaluation for Energy Systems:
• Novel dynamic thermal characterization of multifunctional concretes with microencapsulated phase change materials
From Digest Journal of Nanomaterials and Biostructures:
• Nanomagnetite Enhanced Paraffin for Thermal Energy Storage Applications [pdf]
From Energy Procedia:
• Solar Thermal Energy with Molten-salt Storage for Residential Heating Application
From Solar Energy:
• Performance study and analysis of an inclined concentrated photovoltaic-phase change material system
• Preparation, thermal properties and thermal reliability of a novel mid-temperature composite phase change material for energy conservation
From Applied Thermal Engineering:
• Investigation on the thermal performance of a high-temperature latent heat storage system
From Cement and Concrete Composites:
• Numerical simulations to quantify the influence of Phase Change Materials (PCMs) on the early- and later-age thermal response of concrete pavements
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.
You are invited to join the group and connect with PCM and TES experts from around the world. New members include Mohamed Fadl, postdoctoral research assistant in computational fluid dynamics at University of Oxford, United Kingdom.