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PhaseChange Matters Newsletter June 5 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,


Rendering of Nexus Haus

Solar Decathlon entry uses rainwater to shift cooling to off-peak hours

Builder Online takes an in-depth look at NexusHaus, one of 20 entries in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon 2015. Net zero energy use and water conservation are integral to the house, a co-production of a team of students from the University of Texas, Austin, and Technische Universitat Munchen, Germany. One goal is to reduce peak energy consumption by 80 percent through thermal energy storage. In summer, a rainwater-collecting tank will serve as a thermal storage unit for a system that will shift cooling to off-peak hours. 

More on how the house will collect, store and use rainwater:

“The home will capture enough rainwater to supply all of its potable water needs, although it will be connected to the municipal water supply for backup during long dry spells,” Builder Online reports. “Rainwater will hit the 2,000-square-foot canopy between the home’s two modules and flow down a system of gutters into under-deck bladder tanks that can hold up to 5,000 gallons. Before being used in the house for drinking, bathing, and clothes and dish washing, the rainwater will be run through a two-state filtration system: a carbon filter for particulates and a UV light filter to treat it to the National Sanitation Foundation’s Standard 61 for potable water.”

The Solar Decathlon will take place Oct. 8-18 in Irvine, Calif. Entries will be judged on energy efficiency, design, affordability and consumer appeal.

Massachusetts launches $10 million energy storage initiative

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie BakerMassachusetts’ new energy storage initiative includes $10 million in investments and could lead to policy and regulatory changes. Some of the money will fund studies to analyze market opportunities and supply state policymakers with cost-benefit analysis and policy recommendations.

Gov. Charlie Baker says he wants Massachusetts to be an energy storage leader.

“The Commonwealth’s plans for energy storage will allow the state to move toward establishing a mature local market for these technologies that will, in turn, benefit ratepayers and the local economy,” Baker said. “Massachusetts has an exciting opportunity to provide a comprehensive approach to support a growing energy storage industry with this initiative’s analysis, policy and program development.”


Little Lotus raises $130,000 to help bring baby blankets, swaddles to market

Little Lotus sleeping bagLittle Lotus, Embrace Innovations‘ line of PCM-powered baby blankets, sleeping bags and swaddles, has completed its fund-raising campaign on Kickstarter, gathering more than $130,000 in pledges from 676 backers. Embrace Innovations is the for-profit social-enterprise arm of Embrace Global, a nonprofit whose low-cost infant warmer has helped more than 150,000 at-risk infants in India, Afghanistan and other developing nations.

Little Lotus and the Embrace warmer both use phase change material to regulate body temperature. The Kickstarter campaign, undertaken to raise money to help bring the Little Lotus to market, tied the two products together: For every Little Lotus purchase over $100, Embrace Innovations pledged to donate $25 toward an infant warmer for a baby in a developing country. The swaddles ($150 a pair) and sleeping bags ($150 a pair) are available in limited quantities at

The Little Lotus line uses PCM embedded in a layer of fabric. Through a public relations representative, Embrace Innovations declined to discuss the PCM or the company’s manufacturing plans. The Embrace warmer includes a pouch containing PureTemp 37 phase change material.


Halotechnics urges development of scalable storage-only technology for CSP 

The development of scalable storage-only technology, using electricity to heat molten salts, would help reduce costs for concentrating solar power projects, Justin Raade, CEO of energy storage systems supplier Halotechnics, tells CSP Today.

“If we can build more projects that use thermal energy storage technology for this electrical storage application then people will get more familiar with it. Those designs will improve, the costs will come down, and that will benefit future CSP plants with molten salt storage,” Raade said. 


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

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Numerical study on ground source heat pump integrated with phase change material cooling storage system in office building
Numerical investigation of heat transfer mechanism in a vertical shell and tube latent heat energy storage system

From Energy and Buildings:

Thermal enhancement of concrete by adding bio-based fatty acids as phase change materials
Control strategies for integration of thermal energy storage into buildings: State-of-the-art review
Integration of PCM in Domestic Hot Water Tanks: Optimization for Shifting Peak Demand

From Thermochimica Acta:

Study on preparation and thermal properties of sodium nitrate/silica composite as shape-stabilized phase change material
Effect of Barium-based Phase Change Material to Control the Heat of Hydration on the Mechanical Properties of Mass Concrete

From Energy:

Theoretical investigation of the energy performance of a novel MPCM (Microencapsulated Phase Change Material) slurry based PV/T module

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

Review on the methodology used in thermal stability characterization of phase change materials

From Solar Energy:

Fabrication and characterization of capric–lauric–palmitic acid/electrospun SiO2 nanofibers composite as form-stable phase change material for thermal energy storage/retrieval

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Hydrated salts/expanded graphite composite with high thermal conductivity as a shape-stabilized phase change material for thermal energy storage


Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

Nearly 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. A discussion of how best to cool a 98,000-square-foot building in Texas continues to draw comments. Maurizio Zaglio, European business development manager at Sunamp, writes:

“The combination of storage, chillers and, why not, a solar PV array on the roof can be ideal, depending on building, cost of electricity in that location, and many other parameters.

“Chillers and PV array could be sized to deliver average cooling requirements, with storage taking care of peak demands (I am talking about active storage in contact with the heat transfer fluid, not PCM inserted in the wall) to keep capital cost low, or a large storage that can be loaded during the day and deliver cool partially or completely overnight.

“If PV array or any other intermittent renewables are not an option, substitute it in the text before with cheap electricity at night, or ideal ambient conditions for chillers to increase COP. As PCM, water-ice is really good but probably too low temperature to run the chillers efficiently, something melting-freezing between 5 and 10º Celsius might be ideal.”


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.