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PhaseChange Matters Newsletter July 3 2015

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,


German city refitting coal bunker with TES tanks

A remnant of the coal age is making way for a thermal energy storage project in Münster, Germany.

Renewables International reports that the city is investing $1.9 million to install four hot water tanks in an old coal bunker. The system will use off-peak electricity from the grid to generate and store heat for use during hours of peak demand. Electric heaters reacting to energy price fluctuations will charge the 2-million-liter tanks, which will be linked to the city’s district heating system.

Canadian grad students develop chemical-based heating system for home use

Two grad students at Dalhousie University in Halifax are working on a new type of chemical-based thermal energy storage for use in heating homes.

Louis Desgrosseilliers and Moe Kabbara, whose project won a $50,000 prize in the Innovacorp Smart Energy Demo Challenge in June, recently formed NeoThermal Energy Storage to develop the technology. They plan to create prototypes of a portable device that can capture and store energy while plugged into the grid at low-cost, non-peak hours and then release heat during the day to warm a room.


ShiftSneaker concept

What a concept: Sneakers that change colors with a tap of an app

Rehabstudios, “a creative technology company” with offices in New York, London and Belfast, is developing a sneaker that can change colors with a tap on a smartphone or a click of a heel. In response to electrical impulses, phase change fibers will shift the shape of translucent materials that bend light in different ways. It’s purely a concept at this point, with no prototypes or manufacturing plans. The developer is using the #ShiftSneaker hashtag to spread the word:

“Shift Sneaker users will be able to shift sneaker style and functionality by downloading different ‘packs’ from a Pack Store – a sneaker-specific app store. Styles will range from subtle glows to animated graphics from world leading designers and creatives, and rare limited editions from artists and brands.”


Cheaper way to store solar power undergoing tests in Abu Dhabi

CSP tower in Abu DhabiNEST AS says its energy storage pilot project in Abu Dhabi could drive costs down for the solar sector by 70 percent over the next five years. The Norwegian company is testing a proprietary concrete mixture to store energy at the Masdar Institute’s 1-megawatt concentrated solar power system.

Molten salt, commonly used as a storage medium for CSP, must maintain a temperature above 275°C or it will crystallize. That requires constant use of electricity. Using concrete instead allows that electricity to be sold, reducing operating costs by 50 to 75 percent. And NEST says its concrete mixture costs $80 U.S. per ton, compared to more than $500 a ton for molten salt.

NEST hopes to make the storage technology commercially available after testing is completed in October.


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

From Construction and Building Technology:

Development and verification of an EnergyPlus-based algorithm to predict heat transfer through building walls integrated with phase change materials

From Fibers and Polymers:

Effects of Two Cooling Garments on Post-exercise Thermal Comfort of Female Subjects in the Heat [pdf]

Galactitol / mannitol graphicFrom Energy Conversion and Management:

A eutectic mixture of galactitol and mannitol as a phase change material for latent heat storage

From Journal of Macromolecular Science:

A Novel Solid-Solid Phase Change Material Based on Poly(styrene-co-acrylonitrile) Grafting With Palmitic Acid Copolymers

From Procedia Earth and Planetary Science:

Solar Water Distillation Using Energy Storage Material
A Review on Solar Water Distillation Using Sensible and Latent Heat

From Journal of Medical Engineering & Technology:

Development of thermal energy storage materials for biomedical applications

From Chemistry – A European Journal:

New Polyurethane/Docosane Microcapsules as Phase-Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage

From Energy and Buildings:

Preparation and properties of lauric acid/diatomite composites as novel form-stable phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From Renewable Energy:

• Comparative study of the influences of different water tank shapes on thermal energy storage capacity and thermal stratification


Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

More than 230 of your colleagues have joined a new 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 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 Matthew Cutler-Welsh, building science engineer at Alexander Co. in New Zealand. He writes:

Hi all. I studied engineering, have worked with the New Zealand Green Building Council and now am working as a building survey. My mission is to make healthy, affordable homes and a better place to live. By night, I interview leading green architects from around the world. I’ve also spoken to a few passionate product people including Chris Brookman from Back to Earth who’s doing some good stuff in the UK raising awareness and availability of phase change materials:


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.