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Phase Change Matters Newsletter March 13 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,


Ice Energy wins thermal energy storage contract with Riverside utility

Ice Energy unitIce Energy of Glendale, Calif., has been awarded a contract with Riverside Public Utilities to provide 5 megawatts of behind-the-meter thermal energy storage using Ice Energy’s Ice Bear system.

The Ice Bear is a smart-grid-enabled technology that will help the California city better integrate its increasing reliance on renewable energy resources like wind, solar and geothermal systems to maintain low energy costs for its customers.

The Ice Bear system makes ice at night, when electricity is cheaper, and uses it to cool buildings during the day. The company will provide the city with 40 Ice Bear units at a cost of $702,000. If energy-efficiency targets are met, the one-year pilot project could be extended by up to four more years.

Chicago startup NETenergy advances in 2 energy challenges

Chicago startup NETenergy, an energy storage and management service provider, has advanced to Phase II of the New Venture Challenge and is a finalist in the 2015 Clean Energy Challenge.

“It’s been a busy three months for the Internet of Things (IoT) startup, which powers its intelligent energy management software with thermal storage hardware,” writes ChicagoInno’s Alice Zhang. “Using phase change composites, these storage units distribute and store cold energy in the form of latent heat when needed, allowing customers to shift their A/C consumption to cheap and efficient off-peak hours, while saving 30 percent or more on overall energy consumption.”


Biopharma firms urged to get ahead of the multi-use packaging curve

Stephen Healy, global sales director at DGP Intelsius, weighs in on the future of reusable packaging in the temperature-control supply chain. He concludes that widespread use of such systems appears to be inevitable and that biopharma companies would be wise to adopt them now:

“In an economy where patient safety, increased legislation and the pressure to use reusable and recyclable materials are rising, turning a consumable ‘single use’ item into a ‘multi-use’ logistics asset would reduce spend, as well as create a more sustainable solution.”


Outlast promises ‘more transparency’ on range of PCM applications

Matrix infusion coating Outlast Technologies is seeding interest in its appearance at Techtextil, still two months away, with a flurry of Web reports promising “more transparency” at the big trade show in Frankfurt, Germany. The company, best known for its use of phase change materials in bedding and sportswear, says it will present “the complete PCM spectrum” at the May 4-7 show, showcasing its work on fibers, fillers, compounds, coatings and “matrix infusion coating,” right.


Encapsys net sales up 18.1% in 2014

Wisconsin papermaker Appvion reported full-year net sales of $61.8 million for its Encapsys encapsulation unit, an 18.1 percent increase over the previous year.

Mark Richards, Appvion’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said expanded opportunities with Encapsys’ largest customer, the launch of Encapsys’ EnFinit microencapsulated phase change product and the addition of new customers helped to increase sales to the company’s external customers by nearly 30 percent and shipments 11 percent compared to 2013.

Overall, Appvion reported an operating loss of $40.7 million for 2014. The employee-owned company had an operating income of $132.8 million in 2013. Full-year net sales were up a fraction to $809.8 million.

In a statement, the employee-owned company attributed the results to “unfavorable product mix and pricing, especially for thermal receipt paper,” higher operating costs and changes in pension and retirement benefits.


Patent application 20150060017Cooling apparatus using solid-liquid PCMs

Patent application 20150060017: “The cooling apparatus includes a pipeline, a housing enclosing the pipeline, and the solid-liquid PCM filling in an interior of the pipeline and a space between the pipeline and the housing. The solid-liquid PCM can contact a heat source and absorb the heat generated by the heat source, so as to transform from solid state to liquid state. The solid-liquid PCM in the liquid state can circulate inside the pipeline and the space between the pipeline and the housing. Thus, the heat is dissipated by the means of thermal convection. Meanwhile, the heat also can be dissipated through the housing.”


Thermal storage and management using phase change material

Advanced Cooling Technologies of Lancaster, Pa., will present a webinar on March 25 on the use of phase change material in heat sink design. The speakers will be ACT’s Jens Weyant, lead product development engineer, and Bryan Muzyka, sales manager.


Coffee Joulies creator talks about production challenges

Coffee JouliesIn an interview with online tech magazine SolidSmack, Dave Petrillo discusses some of the hurdles he and partner Dave Jackson faced in the creation of Coffee Joulies, a product that uses phase change material to regulate the temperature of hot beverages.

“The phase change material was actually not that difficult to find,” Petrillo said. “One of the hardest parts to making this project was getting the manufacturing of the rest of the stainless steel shell made in the USA. Forming and joining and sealing these beans shut so that they last a long time is definitely a difficult task. Much harder than we anticipated.” .


From Solar Energy:

Experimental and computational study of thermal energy storage with encapsulated NaNO3 for high temperature applications

Micro/nano encapsulated n-tetracosane and n-octadecane eutectic mixture with polystyrene shell for low-temperature latent heat thermal energy storage applications

From Scientific Reports:

Controllable Thermal Rectification Realized in Binary Phase Change Composites

From Energy:

Assessing the economics of large Energy Storage Plants with an optimisation methodology

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Model Predictive Control of Hybrid Thermal Energy Systems in Transport Refrigeration

Overview of direct air free cooling and thermal energy storage potential energy savings in data centres

From Renewable Energy:

Use of encapsulated zinc particles in a eutectic chloride salt to enhance thermal energy storage capacity for concentrated solar power

From Carbon:

Enhanced comprehensive performance of polyethylene glycol based phase change material with hybrid graphene nanomaterials for thermal energy storage

From Energy and Buildings:

Review of phase change emulsions (PCMEs) and their applications in HVAC systems

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Novel stearic acid/graphene core–shell composite microcapsule as a phase change material exhibiting high shape stability and performance

A novel thermal-insulating film incorporating microencapsulated phase-change materials for temperature regulation and nano-TiO2 for UV-blocking

From Applied Mechanics and Materials:

Research on Expanded Graphite/Nitrate High-Temperature Composite Phase Change Materials

From International Journal of Sustainable Energy:

Performance analysis of phase-change material storage unit for both heating and cooling of buildings

From Science and Technology for the Built Environment:

Effect of PCM on compressor on-off cycling of a household refrigerator

From Proceedings of Engineering and Technology:

Preparation and thermal characterization of paraffin/red brick composite as a novel form-stable phase change material for thermal energy storage [pdf]

From International Journal of Green Energy:

Dynamic Characteristics of Cool Thermal Energy Storage Systems — A Review

From International Conference on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems:

Bidirectional thermoelectric energy generator based on a phase-change lens for concentrating solar power

From Open Journal of Fluid Dynamics:

Numerical Investigation of Effective Heat Conductivity of Fluid in Charging Process of Thermal Storage Tank [pdf]

From ISIJ International:

Improvement on Heat Release Performance of Direct-contact Heat Exchanger Using Phase Change Material for Recovery of Low-Temperature Exhaust Heat


Dr. Mohammed Farid Got a question about PCMs or TES? Ask our expert

Dr. Mohammed Farid, an Entropy Solutions advisor and professor of chemical and materials engineering at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, has agreed 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.