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Dethleffs GmbH & Co.‘s solar-powered concept camper, introduced last year, is one of four winners in the transportation category of the German Innovation Award 2018. The “e.home” features 334 square feet of thin solar panels and a heating system that uses phase change materials to absorb heat when the outside temperature rises above 79° F. Fully equipped, its driving range on a full charge is just over 100 miles.
Christoph Gawalleck, technical director at Dethleffs, oversaw the two-year development of the e-home. He answered a few question via email:
Q: Describe the phase change material used in the vehicle.
A: “The PCM is Micronal from BASF. But BASF sold this business unit to Microtek Laboratories in May 2017. It is a paraffin. The melting point is 26°C, the solidification takes place at 23° C.”
Q: How is the PCM contained?
A: “The PCM is in aluminum plates that are shaped like corrugated cardboard [right]. So the heat can be passed very quickly to the PCM. The plate contains 4 kilograms of Micronal per square meter.”
Q: How much PCM is used in the camper?
A: “Approximately 35 kilograms.”
Q: Have you collected data on how well the PCM manages temperatures in the camper? Has it met expectations?
A: “The vehicle was at many shows last year, so the tests are still running at the moment.”
Q: What was the development team’s great challenge?
A: “The biggest challenge was to get access to the battery capacity of the vehicle in addition to the solar cells.”
Q: Are there plans to commercialize the e.home camper?
A: “The vehicle was meant to present our ideas to customers and match them with their wishes. Of course, various individual elements, such as connectivity, will be incorporated into production vehicles.”
Q: Are there plans to use PCM technology in other Dethleffs campers?
A: “This is not known until the tests have been completed.”
U.S. patent application 20180183115 (applicant Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd., Ningde, China):
“A battery system, comprising a battery structure, a heating assembly, and the heating control device according to claim 7, wherein the heating control device is electrically connected with the heating assembly and the battery structure to form a control circuit, and the heating assembly is configured to heat the battery structure under control of the heating control device. … Preferably, the heating assembly includes a heater, and a resistance of the heater increases as a temperature of the heater increases. Preferably, the heating assembly further includes a phase change material, the heater contacts with the phase change material, the phase change material is capable of changing phase at a phase change temperature, and heat generated by the heater is conducted to the battery structure via the phase change material.”
U.S. patent application 20180177280 (applicant HCT Group Holdings Ltd., China):
“Cosmetics packaging and applicators including a gel based tip are described. Gel applicators may or may not be provided with a through-hole. In various embodiments, the gel may be a stand-alone gel or may be encapsulated in a membrane. The gel applicator provides a soft feel and may have cooling effect as well. In some embodiments, the applicator is mounted to a platform or a hollow insert and coupled to a container housing the cosmetics product. … The gel may also include phase change materials which are useful in conveying the cooling sensation, since phase change materials, by definition absorb heat energy when changing phases.”
U.S. patent application 20180180221 (applicant Steelhead Composites LLC, Golden, Colo.):
“The present invention provides a lightweight high pressure vessels that are made from a liner or a liner housing that is overwrapped with a composite material. Unlike conventional high pressure vessels, the lightweight high pressure vessel of the invention includes a liner that comprises a plurality of liner sections without using welding or crimping. In particular, the lightweight high pressure vessels of the invention include a plurality of elements that are combined to form a liner housing and a composite overwrap that provides structural and mechanical strength to maintain integrity of the high pressure vessel. In one particular embodiment, the high pressure vessel of the invention is a diaphragm accumulator. … [In some embodiments] interior of said accumulator comprises a phase changing material.”
• Ice Energy, make of the Ice Bear and other ice-based energy storage systems, is getting an infusion of cash from a private equity manager. The California startup will receive $40 million from Argo Infrastructure Partners to finance the delivery of its residential and commercial thermal storage contracts.
• “Chemistry for the Non-Chemist,” a four-part online course offered by Chemical Watch, promises “a solid introduction to chemistry.” The cost: $450.
• ASHRAE Standard 211 is now available for download. The standard “establishes consistent practices for conducting and reporting energy audits for commercial buildings. The standard defines the procedures required to perform Energy Audit Levels 1, 2, and 3; provides a common scope of work for these audit levels for use by building owners and others; c. establishes consistent methodology and minimum rigor of analysis required; and establishes minimum reporting requirements for the results of energy audits.”
• Purchase College of New York will get a free replacement for its aging central heating plant, thanks to a collaborative thermal energy storage project from the New York Power Authority and Brenmiller Energy. The R&D project will investigate sensible thermal energy storage as a way to increase the efficiency of a standard combined heat and power system. The new system could save State University of New York $100,000 a year.
• Fifty-four academic papers were presented at PCM 2018, the 12th IIR International Conference on Phase Change Materials and Slurries for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, held in Orford, Canada, last month. “Investigations on the stability of metallic cans for PCM macro-encapsulation,” “Investigation of compatibility of organic and inorganic PCMs with the materials of containers” and “Life cycle assessment phase changes of materials, component and system concept” are among the papers posted on the International Institute of Refrigeration website.
• Wilmar International said it has ceased sourcing from palm oil suppliers allegedly associated with Gama, a company that was accused by Greenpeace of causing deforestation in Indonesia.
• The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil and Canadian supply chain consultancy Ulula are collaborating to introduce a mobile phone app to report potential workers’ incidents and abuses on palm oil plantations.
For our full list of recent academic research, see puretemp.com/academic. Here are highlights from the past week:From Energy:
• Low-cost, three-dimension, high thermal conductivity, carbonized wood-based composite phase change materials for thermal energy storage
• Coupled Cooling Method for Multiple Latent Heat Thermal Storage Devices Combined with Pre-cooling of Envelope: Model Development and Operation Optimization
• Latent and sensible heat analysis of PCM incorporated in a brick for cold and hot climatic conditions, utilizing computational fluid dynamics
From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:
• Study on a PEG/epoxy shape-stabilized phase change material: Preparation, thermal properties and thermal storage performance
From Journal of Cleaner Production:
• Research on the Application of Phase-change Heat Storage in Centralized Solar Hot Water System
From Applied Thermal Engineering:
• Numerical study of an inclined photovoltaic system coupled with phase change material under various operating conditions
From Solar Energy:
• Effect of MOF derived hierarchical Co3O4/expanded graphite on thermal performance of stearic acid phase change material
• Numerical analysis of a new thermal energy storage system using phase change materials for direct steam parabolic trough solar power plants
From Applied Energy:
• Cyclic performance of cascaded and multi-layered solid-PCM shell-and-tube thermal energy storage systems: A case study of the 19.9 MWe Gemasolar CSP plant
From Journal of Energy Storage:
• Experimental investigation of transient melting and heat transfer behavior of nanoparticle-enriched PCM in a rectangular enclosure
• Theoretical study on the performance of a solar still system integrated with PCM-PV module for sustainable water and power generation
From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:
• Graphene Aerogels Enhanced Phase Change Materials prepared by one-pot method with high thermal conductivity and large latent energy storage
• Facile approach to improve solar thermal energy storage efficiency using encapsulated sugar alcohol based phase change material
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You are invited to join the group and connect with PCM and TES experts from around the world. This week we welcome Lilian Ortiz, project manager at Kraton Corp., Houston, Texas; Geoffrey Cohen, mechanical engineer at SPEX SamplePrep LLC, Metuchen, N.J.; Ben Marshall, mechanical/thermal engineer, Soraa, Richmond, Calif.; and Howard Yoo, manager at Youone International LLC, Valencia, Calif.