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PhaseChange Matters Newsletter Feb 12 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,


Global PCM market projected to reach $2.37 billion by 2022

The global market for phase change materials, valued at $687 million in 2015, is expected to reach $2.37 billion by 2022, according to a new report from Stratistics MRC. That’s a compound annual growth rate of 19.3 percent during the forecast period.

The report cites demand for decreased operating costs and improved comfort as key factors driving the market growth. Lack of government subsidies and high cost of these materials are cited as barriers to growth.


RPI team wins seed funding to develop modular micro climate system

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, one of nine research teams to join the NEXUS-NY seed accelerator this year, is developing a modular indoor micro-climate control technology.

The RPI team is testing PureTemp phase change material and other innovative technologies in the building panel system, which is designed to provide on-demand, localized radiant heating or cooling where and when needed. The goal is to reduce energy use and increase occupant comfort.

Over the next 10 months, the research teams will work to transform their clean-technology innovations into companies that can take the products to market. Participants are eligible to receive an average of $70,000 in direct financial support. Teams also receive mentoring help and make connections with industry participants and investors.Berardo Matalucci

The first step is to begin defining their customers, business problems and solutions. By this summer, the teams will dive into developing prototypes.

“The NEXUS-NY program is a unique opportunity to bring the academic research into the marketplace for clean building technologies,” said Berardo Matalucci, the team’s entrepreneurial lead and Ph.D. candidate at RPI’s Center of Architecture Science and Ecology. “That is an exciting and rewarding chance, especially for a doctoral student, to contribute to advancing building technologies and interdisciplinary studies between RPI’s Nanoscale Thermophysics and Energy Conversion Laboratory and CASE.”

As part of its initial research, the RPI team plans to interview architects, mechanical engineers and HVAC experts to gain a full understanding of the needs of potential customers. If you are interested in participating in an interview, contact Matalucci at


Thermal storage is in the mix for Texas utility seeking big increase in solar

A Texas utility is adopting energy storage and software tools to pave the way for a big increase in solar power. Utility Dive reports that Austin Energy is developing a plan for distribution-connected local storage of at least 10 MW complemented by as much as 20 MW of thermal storage. The test program, part of the utility’s effort to reach a goal of deriving 55 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025, is being implemented under a $4.3 million award from the Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative.


Battery pack with phase change material

U.S. patent application 20160043453 (applicant Milwaukee Tool Corp., Brookfield, Wis.): 

“A battery pack may include a housing; at least one battery cell supported in the housing; a phase change material; and a bladder containing the phase change material, the bladder defining a channel having an opening, the bladder being in a heat transfer relationship with the at least one battery cell. The phase change material in the bladder may also surround a portion of the channel. The phase change material may include a paraffin wax.”

Apparatus for preparing hot beverages with auto-power-down mechanism

Philips patent drawing

U.S. patent application 20160029835 (applicant Koninklijke Philips NV, Netherlands):

“An apparatus (1) for preparing hot beverages, comprising: —an electric heater (16); —a latent heat storage provision (30) that is in thermal contact with the heater (16), and that contains, or is configured to contain, a phase-change material (38); and —an electric circuit (40) for powering the electric heater (16), comprising a switch assembly (44) that is configured cut power to the heater (16) when a temperature of the latent heat storage provision (30) fulfills a predetermined auto-power-down condition.”

Compression device in combination with lower limb protection

U.S. patent application 20160000630 (inventors William Purdy and Robert Purdy, New York):

“The present invention relates to a support for a body part including a compression device in combination with a lower leg protection system. The compression device can be integral with the outer support at a position received over the lower leg. One or more valves can extend from a compression bladder for attachment to a pneumatic device. Inflation of the compression bladder positioner adjacent the lower leg also displaces air in the outer support toward the foot which causes simultaneous massaging of the foot. The pneumatic device can be adjusted to provide either sequential or intermittent therapies. The outer support can include a rigid outer shell for providing support. …

“The inner positioner or outer support can include a fluidized thermal regulating medium. In one embodiment, a phase change material can be used for adjusting the temperature of the system.”


Qatar University Centre for Advanced Materials is developing polyolefin-based phase change material to reduce energy consumption, carbon emissions and plastic waste. The research team is developing special PCM foams and compact composite sheets based on polyethylene, paraffin wax and graphite. 

Swiss away jersey by PumaPelican BioThermal has launched a new pallet shipper system, Crēdo Cargo. The reusable bulk shipper uses phase change material cooling panels to maintain temperature ranges +2C to +8C and +15C to +25C. 

The Swiss national soccer team will wear PCM-infused away uniforms at the European Championships 2016 in France. The jersey features Puma‘s ACTV Thermo-R technology. Strategically placed tape containing microencapsulated phase change material absorbs excess heat and releases it back to the body when needed. The uniforms will be worn for the first time in an international friendly against the Republic of Ireland on March 25. Other national teams sporting the new kits are Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Italy.

President Obama is vowing to push ahead with efforts to curtail greenhouse gas emissions after the U.S. Supreme Court put his Clean Power Plan on hold until legal challenges are resolved.

• A team from Georgia Tech is one of 16 chosen to participate in the U.S. Energy Department’s 2017 Solar Decathlon. The team will explore concepts such as heat recovery systems, phase change materials, solar technology and direct current microgrids. Northwestern, Rice and Syracuse universities are among the other schools selected. 

Sustainable Energy and Agriculture Technology LLC is looking to outsource the operations of a “Near Zero Carbon” solar greenhouse in Sahuarita, Ariz. Phase change material will be used to control temperature in the 1,160-square-meter greenhouse.

EnergyNest reports that its concrete thermal energy storage system at the Masdar Institute‘s solar plant in Abu Dhabi is performing as well as or better than simulations suggested it would.

• A growing number of researchers are contacting reporters directly to alert them to upcoming papers, The Scientist magazine reports.

• The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has obtained a U.S. patent for a method that rapidly characterizes specialized materials during the manufacturing process.

Big news in physics: The fleeting sound of two black holes colliding a billion light-years away fulfills the last prediction of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.


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

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

A review of underground building towards thermal energy efficiency and sustainable development
Hybrid ground coupled heat exchanger systems for space heating/cooling applications: A review

From Infrared Physics & Technology:

Simultaneous microscopic measurements of thermal and spectroscopic fields of a phase change material

From Applied Energy:

Bio-inspired effective and regenerable building cooling using tough hydrogels
Characterisation of thermal properties and charging performance of semi-clathrate hydrates for cold storage applications

From Energy:

Conjugated heat and mass transfer during flow melting of a phase change material slurry in pipes

From Energy and Buildings:

Thermal performance evaluation of macro-packed phase change materials (PCMs) using heat transfer analysis device

From Powder Technology:

Preparation and characterization of polyurea microencapsulated phase change material by interfacial polycondensation method

From Carbon:

Hybrid graphene aerogels/phase change material composites: Thermal conductivity, shape-stabilization and light-to-thermal energy storage

From International Journal of Energy Research:

Review on use of phase change materials in battery thermal management for electric and hybrid electric vehicles

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Experimental study on the thermal performance of a new type of thermal energy storage based on flat micro-heat pipe array

From Heat and Mass Transfer:

Melting and solidification characteristics of a mixture of two types of latent heat storage material in a vessel


Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

More than 600 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 include Dr. Theodorian Borca-Tasciuc, a professor in RPI’s Mechanical, Aerospace and Nuclear Engineering Department; Xiaoxiao Han, postdoctoral research associate at Loughborough University, United Kingdom; César Muñoz de Diego, technologist at Repsol S.A., Spain; and Dr. Jan Beringer, head of R&D, Function and Care, Hohenstein Institute, Germany.


Got a question about PCMs or TES? Ask our experts

Two Entropy Solutions advisors, Dr. Mohammed Farid of the University of Auckland and Lucas B. Hyman of Goss Engineering, are ready to answer your questions about phase change material and thermal energy storage. We’ll select the best questions sent to and post the answers here each Friday.