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PhaseChange Matters Newsletter July 10 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,


Renewable industry jobs up 18% last year, IRENA reports

The renewable energy industry employed more than 7.7 million around the world in 2014, the International Renewable Energy Agency reports. That’s an 18 percent increase from the previous year’s figure of 6.5 million.

The five countries with the largest renewable energy employment were China, Brazil, the United States, India and Germany. Employment in the United States increased by 16 percent, reaching 724,000 jobs.

The IRENA report, Renewable Energy and Jobs — Annual Review 2015, also provides a first estimate of employment related to large hydro power, an estimated 1.5 million jobs worldwide. That figure is not included in IRENA’s overall jobs total for 2014.


NRG, Ice Energy team up on behind-the-meter storage in California

Ice Bear unitNRG Energy and Ice Energy have announced a partnership to help reduce California’s peak energy demand. The two companies will work together on 16 previously announced contracts to provide 25.6 megawatts of behind-the-meter energy storage for Southern California Edison.

Subject to final approval from the California Public Utilities Commission, about 1,800 Ice Bear units will be installed in Orange County starting early next year. The Ice Bears, attached to standard rooftop commercial AC units, freeze ice at night when power demand is low and capacity abundant. The ice is then stored to provide cooling during the day, when power demand is high and capacity limited.

“Aligning with NRG makes perfect sense as both companies share a common goal of helping California utilities and their customers, as well as businesses build a sustainable future with clean, affordable and reliable energy,” said Mike Hopkins, CEO of Ice Energy. “Energy storage, particularly the distributed and efficient storage capacity provided by our Ice Bears, reduces reliance on fossil fuels and helps better integrate renewable energy sources into a smarter electric grid.”


IRENA introduces ‘largest collection’ of renewable energy standards, patents

The International Renewable Energy Agency has launched what it calls “the world’s largest collection of global renewable energy standards and patents.”

The International Standards and Patents in Renewable Energy platform, also known as INSPIRE, allows users to search and analyze 400 international standards and more than 2 million patents for renewable energy technology.

IRENA collaborated with the European Patent Office and the International Electrotechnical Commission to develop the platform.

“The INSPIRE platform provides a strategic window into the innovation and growth taking place in the renewable energy sector,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Amin. “It consolidates vast collections of renewable energy patents and standards, which can foster collaboration between innovators, spur improvement through product comparison and help identify partners by matching domestic energy needs to innovative energy solutions.”


Modular prosthetic sockets with PCM-enhanced struts

LIM Innovations patent applicatonU.S. patent application 20150190252 (Assignee LIM Innovations, San Francisco):

“The invention relates to a prosthetic socket for a residual limb of the lower extremity or upper extremity of an individual person. … The prosthetic socket is an assembly of components from groups of components that include (a) struts arranged longitudinally with respect to the residual limb, (b) proximal brim members arranged proximally to the struts and connected thereto; and (c) distal socket members disposed at the distal base of the prosthetic socket. The socket components within these groups may be modular in that they can vary with respect to dimensions and/or contours, and yet have common connecting features that permit assembly of the components together to form the prosthetic socket. … 

“[A] strut may be adjustable by changes that occur in phase change materials incorporated in the strut.”

Thermally insulated package with PCM panels

U.S. application 20150166244 (Assignee Peli BioThermal Limited, Great Britain):

“Thermally insulating package comprises an outer shell formed from a foam insulating material, a plurality of vacuum insulated panels removably received on the walls of the outer shell and a plurality of phase change material panels arranged within the vacuum insulated panels to define a payload space. …

“The present invention seeks to provide a temperature sensitive package which provides good temperature control, but which is compact, robust and potentially less expensive than existing comparable products.”


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

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Encapsulation techniques for organic phase change materials as thermal energy storage medium: A review
Properties of granular materials as heat transfer and storage medium in CSP application
Shape-stabilized phase change materials based on poly(ethylene-graft-maleic anhydride)-g-alkyl alcohol comb-like polymers

From Journal of Thermal Biology:

A novel personal cooling system (PCS) incorporated with phase change materials (PCMs) and ventilation fans: An investigation on its cooling efficiency

From Multidiscipline Modeling in Materials and Structures:

Development and stress behaviour of an innovative refrigerated container with PCM for fresh and frozen goods

From Renewable Energy:

In situ thermal and acoustic performance and environmental impact of the introduction of a shape-stabilized PCM layer for building applications

From Applied Energy:

Thermal performance evaluation of bischofite at pilot plant scale

From Energy and Buildings:

PCM thermal storage system for ‘free’ heating and cooling of buildings

From International Journal of Clothing Science and Technology:

Modeling the performance of a PCM cooling vest considering its side effects


Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

More than 200 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 Robin Campbell, technical director at Frigesco Ltd.Dietrich Schwarz, CEO of Dietrich Schwarz Architekten AG and professor of sustainable design at Liechtenstein University; and Maria Browne, a Ph.D. candidate at Trinity College Dublin.


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.