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Phase Change Matters Newsletter July 13 2018

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,


Dr. Robert BrookinsAlexium International has appointed Dr. Robert Brookins as chief executive officer and managing director of the company. Brookins, formerly executive vice president of research and development, was appointed interim CEO in May, replacing Dirk Van Hyning, who resigned for personal reasons. Alexium, based in Greer, S.C., and Perth, Australia, makes flame-retardant and PCM-enhanced fabric treatments.

Palmitic acid, stearic acid and their salts and esters are on a list of more than 6,000 items on which the United States may impose additional import tariffs in its escalating trade war with China.

Two top executives at Wilmar International have stepped down after Greenpeace published a report linking the world’s largest palm oil trading company to a supplier accused of deforestation.

Active Energy Systems, a clean-tech startup in Tennessee, is developing an electro-thermal energy storage system that will use waste heat generated by data centers, industrial complexes, institutions and power plants to store and distribute energy more efficiently and cheaply than systems using conventional batteries. “Using power from the grid at off-peak times,” Venture Nashville Connections reports, “the process transforms water into ice — spraying it through an oil layer, which allows the water to freeze but not stick to a submerged heat exchanger. Instead, it forms pellets resembling Dippin’ Dots ice cream, [co-founder Mitch] Ishmael said. Then the cycle operates in reverse, using waste heat to melt the ice and generate electricity back to the grid.”

• New from Research Mentor:” Global Phase Change Material (PCM) Market will be Worth USD 770.1 Million by 2023

• New from Questale: “Global Eutectic Phase Change Material Market Research Report 2018

• “What are some new trends in solar energy research and development in 2018?” a Quora member asked recently. Three answers were posted. The one provided by Yogi Goswami, director of the University of South Florida‘s Clean Energy Research Center, got more than 120 “upvotes” and was picked up by Forbes magazine. Goswami discussed the strengths and weaknesses of two competing technologies: photovoltaics and concentrating solar power. He expressed confidence that CSP will eventually become commercially competitive because it has two big advantages over PV: “It uses the same thermal power conversion as the conventional thermal power (fossil fuel or nuclear based) and can therefore be integrated with the existing power infra-structure easily” and it “uses thermal energy storage which is about one-tenth the cost of battery storage.”

Temperature-regulating apparatus for liquids

Pronto patent drawingU.S. patent application 20180195795 (applicant Pronto Concepts Inc., San Francisco, Calif.):

“A temperature-regulating apparatus which can rapidly chill a beverage by exposing it to a large surface area of the device interior which has a cooling gel embedded within its walls. The user pours their liquid into the device and monitors the projected temperature dropping until they reach an optimal temperature. Once optimal temperature is reached, the users will pour the liquid out of the device to end the cooling processes. Thus a superior liquid cooling solution is provided that can rapidly chill a beverage to an optimal temperature. … The temperature-regulating material may be a cooling gel that consists of one or more of water, phase change material (PCMs), sodium chloride, propylene glycol, or the like.”

Energy storage systems

U.S. patent application 20180195741 (applicant Sunamp Ltd., Tranent, Scotland):

“There is herein described energy storage systems. More particularly, there is herein described thermal energy storage systems and use of energy storable material such as phase change material in the provision of heating and/or cooling systems in, for example, domestic dwellings.”

Modular mobile lab for the detection and analysis of infectious diseases

Field lab drawingU.S. patent application 20180193843 (applicant MRIGlobal, Kansas City, Missouri):

“A mobile field-deployable laboratory to more conveniently enable the detecting, sequencing and analyzing of biological agents at the point-of-need. This device enables field operators to go from sample to actionable information in the field without the need for an internet connection or grid-based power. … The present system uses customized phase-changed cooling solutions to achieve proper storage temperatures for critical reagents and consumables for up to 72 hours during field deployment, without the need for an external power source.”

Rigid sensor stopper for use in drug delivery devices 

U.S. patent application 20180193567 (applicant Verily Life Sciences LLC, Mountain View, Calif.):

“A stopper for a drug delivery device, comprising: a transducer coupled to emit ultrasonic signals along the length of, and through a fluid in, the drug delivery device when the stopper is positioned in the drug delivery device, wherein the ultrasonic signals are reflected back toward the stopper by a dispensing end of the drug delivery device; a power source disposed in the stopper and coupled to the transducer to supply power to the transducer; a phase-change material having a chemical structure to change phase at a temperature lower than a degradation temperature of the power source, wherein the power source is disposed within the phase change material; and a controller coupled to the transducer and the power source, wherein the controller includes logic that when executed by the controller causes the stopper to perform operations including: calculating a time of flight for the ultrasonic signals to travel from the transducer and return to the stopper.”


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

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

A Novel Graphite-PCM Composite Sphere With Enhanced Thermo-Physical Properties
Fatty acids based eutectic phase change system for thermal energy storage applications

From Applied Energy:

Mathematical modeling and sensitivity analysis of solar photovoltaic panel integrated with phase change material
Compact liquid cooling strategy with phase change materials for Li-ion batteries optimized using response surface methodology
Multi-parameter optimization design of thermoelectric harvester based on phase change material for space generation

From Solar Energy:

Experimental study on the performance of a novel solar water heating system with and without PCM
Latent thermal energy storage for solar process heat applications at medium-high temperatures – A review
Carbon based material included-shaped stabilized phase change materials for sunlight-driven energy conversion and storage: An extensive review

From Construction and Building Materials:

Application of a PCM-rich concrete overlay to control thermal induced curling stresses in concrete pavements

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Energy investigation of glazed windows containing Nano-PCM in different seasons
Transforming a passive house into a net-zero energy house: a case study in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.


Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

More than 1,300 people 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. This week we welcome Diego Moreira, applications scientist at Croda, Campinas, Brazil; Anu Hasan, director at AH Positive, London; Vikas Agarwal, manager at Pluss Advanced Technologies, Gurgaon, India; Håkon Selvnes, Ph.D. candidate at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway; and Paul Young, senior technologist at Interfloor, Heywood, United Kingdom. Lilian Ortiz, project manager at Kraton Corp., Houston, Texas, started a discussion titled “Looking for your perspective on global market growth projections for PCMs“:

“I have come across different reports and I would like to understand the drivers for bio-based PCM growth. It seems they account for less than 8% the overall PCM market volume, and this number does not seem to go much above 10% in the future projections. Literature indicates bio-based PCMs have a better ROI, performance stability, non-toxic, and reduced carbon footprint benefits. Nevertheless, its adoption seems slower. Why? What is your experience in adoption of bio-based PCMs? Thanks for sharing your insights.”