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The Polar Bear, developed at Ice Energy’s IdeaLAB in Riverside, is designed to reduce energy costs in supermarkets and other commercial refrigeration systems. Like the company’s flagship Ice Bear product, the Polar Bear makes ice during off-peak hours for use in cooling during periods of peak energy demand.
“Wilson Creek Winery [was] an early adopter of Ice Bears to cut their utility bill, and a first adopter of Polar Bears to help them cool their wine-making fermentation process,” said Ice Energy CEO Mike Hopkins. “During the peak hours of the day, the Polar Bears come online and automatically augment the amount of cooling that is provided by the chiller or allow the chiller to either remain on standby/run at part-load, vastly increasing the operating efficiency of the plant.”
Hopkins estimated the cost of installing the system in a typical 40,000-square-foot supermarket in Southern California at $40,000, “which would pay for two Polar Bears, fully installed.”
Two competitors in the cold storage market, Axiom Exergy of Richmond, Calif., and Viking Cold Solutions of Houston, say their saltwater- and salt-hydrate-based thermal storage systems can reduce a customer’s energy costs by up to 40 percent. How does the Polar Bear compare?
“The Polar Bear is uniquely cost effective in reducing peak demand,” Hopkins said. “Based on currently utility rates, the Polar Bear has a payback of less than one year in California and about two years in New Jersey, Hawaii and Connecticut. I am not aware of any energy storage including Axiom or Viking Cold that has paybacks close to ours.”
Commercial rollout of the Polar Bear is planned for the fourth quarter of this year. IdeaLAB, meanwhile, is working on a larger-capacity Ice Bear, and the company is developing expansion plans.
“We will be entering markets outside the U.S. through distribution partners this year,” Hopkins said. “We are planning to raise capital this summer to support our growth plans.”
U.S. patent application 20180131036 (applicant Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp., Brookfield, Wis.):
“The present invention provides a system and method for battery protection. In one construction and in some aspects, the invention provides a system and method for monitoring the temperature of a battery. In another construction and in some aspects, the invention provides a system and method for transferring heat within a battery pack. In another construction and in some aspects, the invention provides a system and method for transferring heat within a battery pack via a phase change material .”
U.S. patent application 20180126857 (applicant: Capacitor Sciences Inc., Menlo Park, Calif.):
“The invention relates to a capacitor based energy storage module and an electric vehicle using the same. For providing an electric vehicle which can meet the requirements of long distance running and rapid acceleration at the same time, the electric vehicle of present invention comprising: An electric control unit controlling all operations of the electric vehicle; An energy storage unit having one or more energy devices based on meta-capacitor which provides needed electric energy of the electric vehicle; A DC-DC converter receiving control signal from said electric control unit to convert the energy from said energy storage unit then provide to motor; A motor converting the electric energy into mechanical energy to drive the wheels; Wheels are driven by the motor to make the electric vehicle run. … [The] capacitive energy storage module may include a cooling mechanism in thermal contact with the capacitive energy storage device and/or the DC-voltage converter. Such a cooling mechanism may be, e.g., a passive cooling mechanism, an active cooling system using air, water, ethylene glycol as a coolant; phase-change material, or any combination thereof.”
• Chemical & Engineering News reports that the top 50 U.S. chemical producers generated $285.4 billion in chemical revenues in 2017, a 9.4 percent increase over 2016.
• Under its new CEO, Martin Brüdermüller, BASF is planning to pour $2.2 billion into research and development, making BASF the second-highest investor in innovation in the chemicals sector after DuPont.
• Warmilu LLC founder Grace Hsia, right, is on Crain’s 20 in Their 20s list honoring Michigan’s rising young leaders. Warmilu makes a PCM-equipped infant warming blanket.
• Axiom Exergy of Richmond, Calif., has raised $7.6 million in Series A funding, for a total of $12.5 million raised to date. The round was co-led by GXP Investments and Shell Ventures. Axiom’s PCM-based “refrigeration battery” is designed to reduce energy supermarket energy costs.
• Sunamp Ltd. is applauding the Scottish government’s decision to include heat batteries to its Home Energy Scotland Loan program. Homeowners and private landlords are now eligible to apply for an interest-free loan of up to 6,000 pounds to install Sunamp’s PCM-based heat battery systems.
• Albuquerque-based SAVSU Technologies is launching two new high-performance shipping containers branded as Evo Extreme. The containers are designed for the 2-8C and -80C temperature ranges.
• Georg Rodriguez, managing director at MUTZ Engineering mbH, will present a free lecture, presumably in German, on “phase change materials for temperature management and energy storage in buildings” on Tuesday, May 15, at the KEBAB lecture room in Berlin.
For our full list of recent academic research, see puretemp.com/academic. Here are highlights from the past week:From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:
• Thermal and electrical management of photovoltaic panels using phase change materials – A review
From Energy Conversion and Management:
• Thermal performance and shape-stabilization of comb-like polymeric phase change materials enhanced by octadecylamine-functionalized graphene oxide
• Front tracking in modelling of latent heat thermal energy storage: Assessment of accuracy and efficiency, benchmarking and GPU-based acceleration
From Construction and Building Materials:
• Mechanical behavior, energy-storing properties and thermal reliability of phase-changing energy-storing concrete
From Journal of Cleaner Production:
• Building-integrated solar thermal system with/without phase change material: Life cycle assessment based on ReCiPe, USEtox and ecological footprint
From Case Studies in Thermal Engineering:
• Magnetically stirring enhanced thermal performance of phase change material
From Applied Thermal Engineering:
• Numerical comparison between single PCM and multi-stage PCM based high temperature thermal energy storage for CSP tower plants
From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:
• A novel CNT encapsulated phase change material with enhanced thermal conductivity and photo-thermal conversion performance
From Energy and Buildings:
• Parametric Analysis of Using PCM Walls for Heating Loads Reduction
From Solar Energy:
• A novel experimental-numerical method for studying the thermal behaviors of phase change material in a porous cavity
More than 1,250 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 Tarun Vaish, business development manager at Pluss Advanced Technologies Pvt. Ltd., Gurgaon, India; Christian Hug, owner, Graphite Technology, Shanghai, China; John Lerch, sales director at Axiom Exergy, Richmond, Calif.; Kelvin Kwok, Ph.D. candidate at National University of Singapore; and Alexis Sevault, research scientist at SINTEF Energy Research, Trondheim, Norway.