Menu Close

Phase Change Matters Newsletter Sept 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,


TNO seasonal heat battery

Seasonal ‘heat battery’ on display at TNO lab in Netherlands

The Dutch research organization TNO is leading an effort to develop and commercialize a seasonal “heat battery” that will store solar heat generated during summer for use in winter.

Project coordinator Christophe Hoegaerts of TNO and Juliusz Zach, head of R&D projects at Mostostal, will demonstrate the battery as part of a Sept. 28 symposium at TNO’s Lab for Materials, Energy and Construction in Delft.

The storage system, based on salt hydrates, is intended to bridge the gap between supply and demand of renewable heat in existing homes and businesses. The system’s primary goals are affordability, compactness and efficiency. The developers aim to:

• Reduce a building’s net energy consumption by at least 15 percent, with a potential return on investment of less than 10 years.

• Limit the space necessary for the thermochemical material to 2.5 cubic meters.

• Provide long-term, rechargeable thermal storage with no heat loss.

The system stores and releases heat via hydrating and dehydrating salt. A field-tested version, built in Poland, includes eight stainless steel tanks filled with a salt hydrate developed by TNO. The entire system, including test chamber and computer control chamber, is integrated in a 45-foot container on display at TNO’s lab in Delft, where further testing will be done.

Some of the tanks are insulated with a layer of ArmaFLEX. The insulation is used to lower heat losses during charging and discharging. The working temperature range of the system is between 0 and 100 degrees C. The heat transfer fluid is water. Insulation is not needed for long-term storage tanks, since thermochemical storage is a loss-free concept.

The MERITS project and its successor, CREATE, are supported by the European Commission‘s Horizon 2020 program. TNO is overseeing the two projects, coordinating the work of dozens of participants, including:

• Five research institutes (TNO, VITO, Tecnalia, Fraunhofer and Austria’s Institute for Sustainable Technologies)

• Three universities (Ulster University, the University of Lleida and the Eindhoven University of Technology)

• Two experts in renewable energy systems (De Beijer RTB and Zonne-energie Nederland BV)

• Two makers of heating and cooling systems (Vaillant Group of Germany and Glen Dimplex of the United Kingdom)

• Three chemical companies (Tessenderlo Group of Belgium, Dow Wolff Cellulosics of Germany and Caldic of the Netherlands)

• An engineering firm (D’Appolonia S.p.A. of Italy)

• A construction company (Mostostal Warszawa of Poland)

• A French utility (Électricité de France S.A.)

• An expert in metals and heat transfer technology (Luvata, U.K.)

The next step for the team: Development and construction of a full-scale system for a home in Warsaw. Installation is scheduled to take place in 2019. 


Sonoco ThermoSafe acquires Laminar Medica

Sonoco ThermoSafe, a global provider of temperature assurance packaging in the life sciences sector, has acquired the assets and operations of Laminar Medica from Clinimed (Holdings) Ltd., a privately held specialty medical products company based in the United Kingdom. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Laminar Medica ChillTechLaminar Medica, based in the United Kingdom and Czech Republic, specializes in the design, testing, manufacture and qualification of temperature-controlled packaging. Laminar systems are used by the pharmaceutical and biotech industries around the world. The company’s insulated parcel and pallet shipping solutions, which employ paraffin and salt hydrate phase change material, include ChillTherm, FreezeTherm, ClimiTherm, MediPhase, MediPorter, MediSorb and the new ChillTech and AmbiTech product lines.

“By adding Laminar Medica, we are significantly expanding Sonoco ThermoSafe’s global presence and providing our customers local access to the widest range of insulated parcel and pallet solutions,” said Russell Grissett, general manager of Sonoco ThermoSafe. “Laminar’s strong brands, manufacturing, design, testing and qualification capabilities in the United Kingdom and Europe complements ThermoSafe’s current footprint to provide our customers the level of trust, confidence and customer experience they have grown to expect from a global market leader in temperature-assurance solutions.”


Plastic phase change material and articles made therefrom

U.S. patent application 20160272864 (applicant REG Synthetic Fuels, Ames, Iowa):

“The present invention generally relates to a method for manufacturing phase change material (PCM) pellets. The method includes providing a melt composition, including paraffin and a polymer. The paraffin has a melt point of between about 10° C. and about 50° C., and more preferably between about 18° C. and about 28° C. In one embodiment, the melt composition includes various additives, such as a flame retardant. The method further includes forming the melt composition into PCM pellets. The method further may include the step of cooling the melt to increase the melt viscosity before pelletizing. Further, PCM compounds are provided having an organic PCM and a polymer. Methods are provided to convert the PCM compounds into various form-stable PCMs. A method of coating the PCMs is included to provide PCMs with substantially no paraffin seepage and with ignition resistance properties.”

Cellulosic fibers having enhanced reversible thermal properties

U.S. patent application 20160272863 (Outlast Technologies LLC, Golden, Colo.):

“A viscose fiber comprises a fiber body including a regenerated cellulosic material and a plurality of microcapsules dispersed in the regenerated cellulosic material. The regenerated cellulosic material is derived from an organic plant material and the plurality of microcapsules containing a phase change material has a transition temperature in the range of 0° C. to 100° C., the phase change material providing thermal regulation based on at least one of absorption and release of latent heat at the transition temperature.”


• Members of the RAL Quality Association PCM, a European-based organization established in 2004 to develop standards for the phase change material industry, will meet in Dusseldorf, Germany, on Tuesday. The agenda includes an update on the upcoming revision of the European Union‘s energy performance of buildings directive and discussion of a proposal to include PCM in the Building Efficiency Standards section of California’s Code of Regulations. Two companies interested in joining RAL, Sunamp Ltd. and Renewable Energy Group Inc., will attend the meeting as guests.

Ontario has pumped $5.8 million (Canadian) into the University of Guelph‘s new thermal energy cooling system. The $15 million system, completed last year, features a tank that holds 22 million liters of water. In warmer months, the water is chilled at night, when energy costs are lower. The chilled tank water is then circulated through the university’s existing cooling system during the day. Officials say the system has already saved the university $2.5 million in energy costs.

• Bio-based materials and chemicals offer a clear value proposition when compared with their petroleum-based counterparts, but smart business execution is critical to eventual success, Lux Research concludes in a new report, “Hunting for Value and Performance in the Bio-based Materials and Chemicals Space.”

Phase Change Material Products Ltd. of the United Kingdom will be among the hundreds of exhibitors at the Chillventa trade show in Nuremberg, Germany, Oct. 11-13.  

A cold chain packaging class developed by Sonoco ThermoSafe’s ISC Labs will make its debut Monday at the Cold Chain GDP & Temperature Management Logistics Global Forum in Boston. The all-day session will cover the design, development and qualification of temperature-controlled packaging.

Cold Chain IQ, an online resource for temperature-controlled logistics professionals, is now Pharma Logistics IQ. The new site,, includes content on pharma logistics, including clinical supply, supply chain security, regulations and more.


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

From Energy:

Latent heat storage using renewable saturated diesters as phase change materials
Assessing the thermal performance of three cold energy storage materials with low eutectic temperature for food cold chain
Experimental study of evacuated tube collector/storage system containing paraffin as a PCM

From International Journal of Refrigeration:

CFD simulation of melting process of phase change materials (PCMs) in a spherical capsule

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

Review of current state of research on energy storage, toxicity, health hazards and commercialization of phase changing materials

From Thermochimica Acta:

Thermophysical Properties of Multifunctional Glass Fibre Reinforced Polymer Composites Incorporating Phase Change Materials

From Construction and Building Materials:

Use of phase change materials (PCMs) to mitigate early age thermal cracking in concrete: Theoretical considerations

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Nanostructures assisted melting of phase change materials in various cavities

From RSC Advances:

Preparation and thermal properties of phase change materials based on paraffin with expanded graphite and carbon foams prepared from sucroses

From Journal of Materials Chemistry A:

Nanocapsules Containing Salt Hydrate Phase Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage


Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

More than 900 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 Nikita Gittens, business development manager for life sciences at Progressive Digital Media Group, United Kingdom; Ralph Doevendans, founder of ICS Dry-Ice Express BV, Netherlands; Michael Floros, postdoctoral fellow at Trent University, Canada; and Akshay Dandekar, graduate research assistant, Purdue University.

Shawn Lee, managing director at Shanghai Tempered Entropy, has been a member since March 2015. He’s looking for help with a PCM containment issue:

“One of our customers has a problem that their HDPE panel packaged with PCM5 ( C14 ) becomes sweating after 6 months use. I think it is because C14 have smaller molecule than HDPE material. Thus the PCM5 penetrates outside of the panel. Do you have any similar problems? We have another type of PCM 5 organic PCM with higher molecule than HDPE which can solve our current sweating problem, but the client insists on using C14.

Do you guys can help me out? Is it the HDPE material problem or anyway to enhance the HDPE panel?”