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Phase Change Matters Newsletter Dec 23 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,


PCM-lined hard hats to keep workers cool at Qatar stadium sites

Solar-powered, PCM-laden hard hatA hard hat equipped with phase change material and a solar-powered fan has been developed for construction workers building stadiums for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

A solar panel atop the helmet powers a fan that sucks in hot air. PCM cools the air, which then passes onto the wearer’s head. The hats are designed to reduce skin temperature by up to 10 degrees.

Dr. Saud Abdul-Aziz Abdul-Ghani, an engineering professor at Qatar University, which developed the technology, said the device can help reduce heatstroke and regulate body temperatures.

“While this technology is developed and designed in Qatar and will be first used on our sites, we believe it can have a legacy which extends to many other parts of the world which have hot summer climates,” he said.

News of this hard hat reminded me that, initially, PCMs were to play an integral role in cooling the stadiums themselves. A 500-seat prototype was built to show how solar power, chillers and phase change material could be combined to chill and store water to cool stadium air and keep temperatures below 27º C on the field.

The international soccer tournament, traditionally held in June-July, has since been moved to November-December 2022. When the move was announced in 2015, organizers said they were going ahead with the cooling technology. Since then, there’s been no mention of PCM in descriptions of cooling technologies being employed in the new stadiums. Over the past two years, I’ve reached out to dozens of people connected with the 2022 World Cup and haven’t been able to pin down whether PCMs are still in the plans. If you know about the fate of this technology, please contact me at


Thermal insulation sheet with phase change material

U.S. patent application 20160369936 (applicant Amogreentech Co. Ltd., Republic of Korea):

“Provided are a heat insulation sheet, a hybrid heat insulation sheet including the heat insulation sheet, and a heat insulation panel having the hybrid heat insulation sheet. The heat insulation sheet includes: an outer shell with a hollow portion therein; and a phase change material (PCM) that is positioned in the hollow portion and that absorbs heat transferred from the outer shell.”

Energy storage system

U.S. patent application 20160370123 (applicant Sunamp Ltd., Edinburgh, Scotland):

“The present invention provides an energy storage system for a use with a boiler. The energy storage system comprises a plurality of thermal energy storage banks. Each thermal energy storage bank comprises phase changeable material having a predetermined phase transformation temperature. The energy storage system also includes an extraction device (configured to recover waste energy from the boiler. The extraction device is operable to extract waste energy from the boiler and feed that energy to at least one of the thermal energy storage banks. A controller is arranged, in use, to activate the extraction device in response to operation of the boiler.”

System for active management of energy in concrete walls and floors

U.S. patent application 20160370018 (applicant CMP-Cimentos Maceira e Pataias SA, Portugal):

“The present invention relates to a system for active management of energy in concrete walls and/or floors, which essentially comprises: printed heating systems which are integrated in concrete parts during the concrete casting process; heating systems which are printed on the surface of concrete parts or cementitious coatings; an electronic system for monitoring and control the environment and the heating circuits, which is integrated in the concrete in order to maintain the comfort temperature; high reflective and phase-change materials to maximize the functionality of the heating systems; concrete wall structure to maximize the utilization of the heat generated by the integrated heating system.”


Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins reports that the first Ice Cub has been installed at a home in Santa Ynez, Calif. The unit makes ice during off-peak hours and stores it in an insulated tank. During peak hours, the stored ice delivers three to four hours of cooling, reducing the typical peak load by 95 percent. “This powerful system,” writes Hopkins, “replaces the traditional outdoor AC condensing unit and the conventional gas/propane furnace, provides 14 kW of the lowest cost most reliable energy storage available for a home, and if you have solar PV, can make ice using 100% solar power.”

Open Energi‘s effort to tap the “thermal inertia” of hot asphalt has been honored by the UK Association for Decentralised Energy. The London-based startup installed a demand response system at 70 Tarmac plants in the United Kingdom this year, using 200-some asphalt tanks as fast-acting batteries for the electric grid. The tanks stay close to the optimum 150° Celsius for long periods without electricity. 

• In an interview with EPMPelican BioThermal‘s Kevin Lawler talks about simplification, reusable packaging, tighter temperature restrictions and other trends in the temperature-controlled packaging industry.

BOCA International Ltd. has signed a project development agreement with Nano and Advanced Materials Institute Ltd. in Hong Kong. The parties plan to work together to develop a new microencapsulated phase change material for thermal energy storage in chiller plants.

• New from Persistence Market Research: “Advanced Phase Change Material (PCM) Market – Global Industry Analysis and Forecast to 2020” 


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

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Effect of volume expansion on the melting process’s thermal behavior

From International High Performance Buildings Conference:

Experimental Study on Thermal Performance Improvement of Envelope Integrated with Phase Change Material in Air-conditioned Room

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Investigation of phase change material based battery thermal management at cold temperature using lattice Boltzmann method

From Solar Energy:

A study on thermal calculation method for a plastic greenhouse with solar energy storage and heating

From Materials Letters:
Assessing the feasibility of integrating form-stable phase change material composites with cementitious composites and prevention of PCM leakage

From ACS Nano:

Microencapsulated Phase Change Materials in Solar-Thermal Conversion Systems: Understanding Geometry-Dependent Heating Efficiency and System Reliability

From International Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Conference:

Integrated Thermal Energy Storage

From Nano Research:

Hierarchical graphene foam-based phase change materials with enhanced thermal conductivity and shape stability for efficient solar-to-thermal energy conversion and storage


Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

More than 985 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 this week include Jia Yin Sze, research fellow at Nanyang Technological University’s Energy Research Institute, Singapore; Richard Bonner, manager of custom products at Advanced Cooling Technologies, Lancaster, Penn.; Dr. Farhan Ahmad, senior innovation scientist at Amcor, Detroit, Mich.; and Ghazal Dehghani, who has a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Arizona and “3+ years of experimental research in phase change energy materials.” Ghazal writes:

“I am a mechanical engineer and thermal analyst. My expertise and experiences mainly include thermal characterization and analysis of phase change materials (specifically, multi-component PCMs) for thermal energy storage and high efficiency energy design applications. I am also interested to job opportunities in those areas.”