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Growing demand for PCM in building and construction
The global market for microencapsulated phase change material in building and construction will
reach $111.4 million in 2018, according to Frost & Sullivan. That’s nearly double the size
of the market in 2013 and reflects a compound annual growth rate of 14.8 percent.
“MPCMs can provide thermal mass in buildings on a smaller scale of material mass and weight while regulating temperature comfort, making them suitable in compact and lightweight building structures,” said Frost & Sullivan analyst Raghu Tantry. “Focus on green buildings has also increased the range of applications for construction products incorporating MPCM.”
Cloud-based data centers generate a lot of excess heat. Can it be harnessed to
heat homes? New York inventor Lawrence Orsini, right, thinks so. He has proposed installing
distributed supercomputers in homes and offices to reduce heating bills and energy consumption.
Orsini’s Project Exergy seeks to raise $100,000 on Kickstarter.
A prototype of the heat storage system uses a water tank. A future version will use phase change material to store the heat.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Electric Power Research Institute have launched the
Clean Energy Incubator Network. Through its website, www.incubatenergy.org,
the federally funded program will assist business incubators, connect industry and energy sector
partners, and boost clean energy technologies emerging from universities and government labs.
“This website of resources and tools for incubators and entrepreneurs will serve as a focal point of the network,” said Matt Ringer, NREL’s project manager. “With our past experience building databases for a variety of related energy resources, NREL is well positioned to develop this type of resource for the clean tech industry.”
ARPA-E is accepting applications for technology-to-market scholars and fellows. During their 8- to 12-week tenure, scholars will conduct analysis and research to support the commercialization of ARPA-E’s energy technology projects and programs. During their two-year tenure, ARPA-E fellows will focus on identifying breakthrough energy technologies.
An inspiring story from Oandp.com, a website that covers the prosthetics and orthotics community:
Thirty-six years ago, Kevin Johnson lost his right leg below the knee in a combine accident on his family’s farm in Ohio. As a teen, he avoided “painful” prosthetics and used crutches to get around. But he knew that was not a good long-term solution. He eventually found a prosthetic leg that worked well enough to support an active life. Johnson’s work involves operating bulldozers and piloting helicopters, and he also races motorcycles and ropes cattle. When the prosthetic broke, as it did often, he used a welding torch and duct tape to fix it.
By the end of 2007, the prosthetic leg was broken beyond repair. Johnson got in touch with WillowWood, a prosthetics company in Ohio that was looking for amputees to test technology being developed for military veterans: a prosthetic system that features vacuum pressure, intelligent controls and phase change material. He was the perfect test patient, offering developers valuable feedback and pushing the leg to its limits.
The result: A high-performance prosthetic leg that fits better and is far more comfortable than its predecessors, thanks to the PCM-infused liner that absorbs heat and reduces perspiration and skin irritation.
magazine, “the business journal for the sleep products industry,” offers a fine 2,000-word
primer on the challenge of regulating temperatures in today’s all-foam and hybrid mattresses.
“Companies are becoming more innovative with the applications they use PCMs in — from fabrics to foams to gels and fill,” said Joe Wehrle, director of sales for Microtek Laboratories Inc. “The mattress marketplace is experiencing the cooling/warming effects that PCM technology provides, helping to create the ‘perfect sleep experience’ that end users value. Every day, new and inventive products are being introduced in the bedding segment which capitalize on the thermal benefits of phase change materials.”
Phase change material in thermal packaging: Not just a phase
In the latest issue of Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and Packing Sourcer, design engineer Richard Harrop notes that, not so long ago, water was the filler material of choice for most cooling packs. The initial response to using phase change materials was, well, a bit chilly. They were thought to be costly and unnecessary. But now, Harrop writes, “the benefits of size, weight and cost saving are apparent. It is becoming clear that the growing inclusion of PCMs is not just a phase, but rather something that we can be excited to see much more of.”