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Phase Change Matters Newsletter Aug 5 2016

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,


CrodaTherm PCMs added to USDA BioPreferred catalog

Croda International has joined Entropy Solutions and RGEES in the U.S. Department of Agriculture‘s BioPreferred catalog. The UK-based chemical manufacturer has registered seven of its phase change materials in the program: CrodaTherm 5, 6.5, 15, 21, 25, 29 and 53.

The USDA defines biobased products as finished or intermediate materials composed in whole or in significant part of agricultural, forestry or marine ingredients. The program’s purpose is to increase the purchase and use of biobased products. Products that meet the USDA BioPreferred program requirements carry a distinctive label for easier identification by the consumer.

Entropy Solutions qualified for the program in 2014, and 23 PureTemp formulations made by Entropy are now designated as 100 percent biobased by the program. They remain the only PCMs in the market to be certified as 100 percent biobased. PureTemp has also been awarded the Federal Procurement Preference, meaning it is preferred by federal agencies and their contractors when making purchasing decisions.


ThermoSafe introduces certification program for cold chain packaging pros

Sonoco ThermoSafe has launched the industry’s first academic offering to train and certify cold chain packaging professionals. The certification program was developed by Sonoco ThermoSafe’s ISC Labs in partnership with the Packaging School; Dr. R. Andrew Hurley, assistant professor of packaging science at Clemson University; and an advisory panel of industry experts.

Cold Chain training illustrationTwo levels of certification courses are available:

• The Fundamentals Course ($295), accessible now, is a self-paced online course that takes a systematic approach to developing a basic understanding of temperature-assurance packaging.

• The Professional Course ($999; bio-pharma manufacturers get a $100 discount) is a one-day session conducted by university professors, lab engineers and industry experts. The live course provides hands-on instruction and interactive activities. It will make its debut Sept. 26 at the Cold Chain GDP & Temperature Management Logistics Global Forum in Boston.

“The TAP program shares decades worth of ISC Labs’ collective knowledge and expertise in design, development and qualification of temperature controlled packaging,” said Vishal Khushalani, director of global marketing and business development at Sonoco ThermoSafe. “The course goes further to cover topics including temperature monitoring, global regulations and distribution considerations of temperature sensitive products.”


Thermal management films containing phase change materials

U.S. patent application 20160223269 (applicant Outlast Technologies, Golden, Colo.):

PCM film patent drawing“A method is provided for manufacturing a polymeric film with thermal management capabilities. The method comprises mixing at least three compounds, wherein a first compound comprises a polymeric phase change material, a second compound comprises an additive, and a third compound comprises a molecule that, in its liquid form, acts as a solvent of the first and second compounds, and which is curable into a solid form as a polymer. Then, the method comprises applying a mixture of the first, second, and third compounds in a liquid form to a substrate, and curing the mixture into a solid state.”

Electrochemical device thermal management

U.S. patent application 20160226114 (applicant Outlast Technologies, Golden, Colo.):

“This disclosure provides casings and materials for the thermal management and protection of an electrochemical cell. The casing may also comprise a composite polymeric material for electrochemical cell thermal management, the composite polymeric material comprising a crosslinked polyether polyol phase change material configured to be in physical contact with at least a portion of an electrochemical cell.”

Battery pack with phase change material

Battery pack patent drawingU.S. patent application 20160226290 (applicant Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp., Milwaukee, Wis.):

“The electrical combination comprises a battery pack configured to be interfaced with a hand held power tool, a control component, and a semiconducting switch. The transfer of power from the battery pack to the hand held power tool is controlled by the control component and the switch based on one of a battery pack state of charge and a respective state of charge of one of a plurality of battery cells.”

Thermoelectric generation apparatus with phase change material

U.S. patent application 20160225974 (applicant Hyundai Motor Co., Seoul, South Korea):

“A thermoelectric generation apparatus includes a heat absorbing surface configured to absorb heat from an internal combustion engine, a heat generating surface bonded to the heat absorbing surface by a semiconductor and configured to discharge the heat to the outside, and a conductive converting part interposed between the heat absorbing surface and the internal combustion engine. The conductive converting part is configured to allow the heat to be conducted from the internal combustion engine to the heat absorbing surface when a temperature of the internal combustion engine is equal to or greater than a specific value.”

Greenhouse roofing having temperature-dependent radiation transparency

U.S. patent application 20160219796 (applicant Tropotherm SL, Retamar, Spain):

Greenhouse roofing patent drawing“In plant cultivation, it is common in many cases to grow certain crops under film covers, in greenhouses, or under other roofings. Depending on the climate zone and crop, this can be used for example to supply heat by retaining the sunlight or by means of additional heating. The invention relates to a plant cultivation roofing made of film material or plate material having temperature-dependent radiation transparency, wherein a plastic layer in or on a plate or at least one film layer having temperature-dependent radiation transparency provides a gradual or a two-step or multi-step transparency reduction for rising temperatures in a temperature range from 20° C.”


• A European Union research project focused on retrofitting old buildings to meet EU efficiency standards is taking a close look at PCMs built into walls. “By using a phase change material which freezes at 18°C and melts at 25°C,” says Dr. Jürgen Frick, project coordinator, “we can regulate the temperature fluctuations of a room. If the temperature falls to 18°C, the PCM freezes and heats the room. When it rises to 25°, the PCM melts, energy is absorbed, and the room is cooled.”

Rally by Diamond Mattress• The latest entry in the bed-in-a-box mattress competition features open-cell foam infused with copper gel and phase change material to regulate temperature. Diamond Mattress of Rancho Dominguez, Calif., says the company’s new Rally line will be sold online and in retail stores.

Eric Buchanan of the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Morris, Minn., has posted an update on his net-zero dairy project. The system’s key components so far include solar thermal panels, a heat pump, three heat exchangers and a 2,000-gallon water tank. Fifty-four kilowatts of solar PV and two 10-kW wind turbines are now being added to the system.

Axiom Exergy has raised $2.5 million from investors to help bring its refrigeration battery to supermarkets and cold storage facilities across the United States. JB Straubel, Tesla‘s chief technology officer, is among the investors. The system uses a salt-based phase change material to reduce peak power usage by up to 40 percent and provide backup cooling during power outages.

• The University of Birmingham’s Birmingham Centre for Energy Storage is setting up a joint lab on energy storage research with Global Energy Interconnection Research Institute Europe, an organization founded by China’s state-run utility. The lab will focus on thermal and cryogenic energy storage systems and their application in energy networks.

• New from Accuray Research: “Global Advanced Phase Change Material (PCM) Market Analysis & Trends – Industry Forecast to 2025”

• A research team at Camosun College in Victoria, British Columbia, has selected Entropy Solutions‘ PureTemp phase change material for use in a study of greenhouse thermal storage systems. “One of the engineering students is focusing on designing racks for the PCM bottles that will be specifically engineered to slow release and speed recharge of the bottles,” writes Becky Mason, an instructor at Camosun who helped organize the research project. “This is intended to optimize use of PCM in off-grid greenhouses where electric fans are not used to circulate air around the PCM.”

Appearing at this week’s Advances in Thermal Management 2016 conference in Denver, Colo.: Mark Hartmann, chief technology officer at Outlast Technologies, discussed the use of thermal materials to manage the heat generated by lithium-ion batteries. Croda International‘s CrodaTherm biobased phase change materials were on display at booth 35. Outlast materials scientist Joe Kelly spoke at the companion conference, Battery Power 2016.

• The U.S. Department of Energy has introduced two new tools designed to help cities make more strategic energy decisions based on actual and estimated data and analysis. The City Energy Profile tool uses robust data science methodologies to derive data on energy use and costs for 23,400 cities. The Local Energy Toolbox allows cities to build a customizable list of actions to help make strategic energy decisions.

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems has begun verification testing of a solar thermal power system at the company’s new facility in Yokohama, Japan. The hybrid system combines a low-temperature Fresnel evaporator, a high-temperature thermal storage system and a tower-type superheater that collects sunlight by heliostats.

• Safety expert John D. Modine is the new chief executive at the American Chemistry Council‘s Chemtrec division.

Ice Energy has installed four Ice Bear 30 thermal storage units at a Cinemark movie theater in North Hollywood, Calif. Ice Energy says the project qualifies for energy efficiency rebates from the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power.


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

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Quality criteria for phase change materials selection

From Energies:

Effectiveness of Using Phase Change Materials on Reducing Summer Overheating Issues in UK Residential Buildings with Identification of Influential Factors

From Journal of Solar Energy:

PCM Heat Storage Charged with a Double-Reflector Solar System

From Proceedings of the 12th REHVA World Congress:

Thermal performance evaluation and optimal design of buildings with integrated air-based photovoltaic thermal collectors and phase change materials using the Hooke-Jeeves pattern search method

From Management of Environmental Quality:

Energy performance of dynamic thermal insulation built in the experimental façade system

From Applied Energy:

The novel use of phase change materials in an open type refrigerated display cabinet: A theoretical investigation
Reducing cell-to-cell spacing for large-format lithium ion battery modules with aluminum or PCM heat sinks under failure conditions
Synthesis and thermal properties of the MA/HDPE composites with nano-additives as form-stable PCM with improved thermal conductivity

From Energy:

An experimental study of thermal management system using copper mesh-enhanced composite phase change materials for power battery pack

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Composite nanofibrous sheets of fatty acids and polymers as thermo-regulating enclosures

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

A volume-shrinkage-based method for quantifying the inward solidification heat transfer of a phase change material filled in spherical capsules


Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

More than 800 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 Laura Solomon, Ph.D. candidate in mechanical engineering at Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pa.; Andy Mulrooney, account manager at Sonoco ThermoSafe, Arlington Heights, Ill.; and Steven Mcguigan, senior mechanical engineer at Cundall, Perth, Australia. Liz Zhang, a product manager at Shanghai Lizoo Commodity Co. who joined earlier this summer, introduced herself in a discussion this week:

Our factory developed microencapsulated phase change materials in 2014. Now we are supplying organic PCM, inorganic PCM and MPCMs with melting temperatures ranging from -40°C to +85°C. You are welcome to visit us at