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Phase Change Matters Newsletter Nov 6 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,


Oak Ridge National Lab seeks to jump-start water heater innovation

Oak Ridge National Laboratory‘s JUMP program, which connects technology innovators with industry partners, is offering $5,000 for the best idea to improve the efficiency of residential water heaters. The challenge is to use phase change material or other innovative materials or methods to increase the first hour rating by 15 to 30 percent, without increasing water storage temperature.

Proposed solutions must:
  • stay within the existing dimensional footprint of a 50-gallon unit
  • not reduce the service life of the water heater
  • not negatively affect the safety aspects of the water heater
  • not increase the manufacturing cost by more than $150 at high volume

A.O. Smith logoThe cash award is sponsored by A.O. Smith, which manufactures water heaters and boilers. Oak Ridge National Laboratory may provide the winner with in-kind technical support of up to $20,000 for prototype development, testing, third-party validation or other defined needs. The deadline for entries in Jan. 15, 2016.

Want to learn more about the water heater challenge? Sign up for a one-hour webinar scheduled for 3 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Nov. 18. Stephen Memory of A.O. Smith and Kyle Gluesenkamp of Oak Ridge National Laboratory will discuss the technical challenge and take questions.

JUMP is also seeking ideas for a low-cost, low-temperature system to safely remove ice from a household refrigerator’s evaporator (a $3,000 award sponsored by General Electric) and a low-cost BTU sensor (a $5,000 award sponsored by United Technologies Research Center).


Registration open for PCM 2016 in Karlsruhe, Germany

Registration is open for PCM 2016, the International Institute of Refrigeration‘s 11th conference on phase change materials and slurries for refrigeration and air conditioning. The conference will take place May 18-20, 2016, in Karlsruhe, Germany.

Themes include the thermophysical properties of PCMs and slurries, transport phenomena (mass, momentum and heat transfer); time-dependent behavior; applications and systems; and direct contact heat exchange.

The registration fee is 500 euros (400 euros for speakers and IIR members; 200 euros for students).

Registration open for Bio-Based and Sustainable Products Summit

Registration has opened for the 7th annual Bio-Based and Sustainable Products Summit, which will be held Jan. 13-14, 2016, in San Diego, Calif.

The summit brings together manufacturers, retailers, financiers and policymakers with experts in the biochemical, biofuel, bioplastic, petrochemical and oleochemical fields to “learn, network and respond to growing consumer demand for safer and greener products.”

Panel discussion topics include biobased and sustainable feedstocks; crude oil price projections and their impact on the renewable chemical industry; what to look for in strategic partners; how to attract private equity; and joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions as paths to commercialization.

The deadline for a refundable “early bird” rate of $1,495 is Dec. 4, 2015.


PureTemp 7 is latest addition to line of biobased phase change materials

Entropy Solutions has added PureTemp 7 to its lineup of more than two dozen biobased, renewable phase change materials. With a melt point of 7º Celsius and a heat storage capacity of 185 joules per gram, PureTemp 7 is designed to fully solidify in a refrigerator, making it suitable for use in settings where freezers are not available. Potential applications include shipping, cold storage and air conditioning. PureTemp 7 will be available beginning in December 2015.


System for controlling air flow rate into vehicle engine compartment

U.S. patent application 20150315955 (applicant Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea):

“A system for controlling a flow rate of air into a vehicle engine compartment may include a radiator cooling coolant, a coolant inflow tank provided to one side of the radiator and temporarily storing coolant that cools an engine, a coolant exhaust tank provided to the other side of the radiator and temporarily storing coolant circulating past a cooling fin of the radiator from the coolant inflow tank, Phase Change Material (PCM) tanks provided to an exterior side of the coolant inflow tank and coolant exhaust tank and storing a phase change material heat-exchanging with the coolant stored in the coolant inflow tank and the coolant exhaust tank and a conversion device converting a phase of the phase change material.”

Method and system for charging a transport refrigeration system

U.S. patent application 20150316301 (applicant Thermo King Corp., Minneapolis, Minn.):

“A method for charging a phase change material (PCM) of a thermal accumulator provided in a refrigerated transport unit is provided. The refrigerated transport unit includes a prime mover to move the refrigerated transport unit, a transport refrigeration system (TRS) that includes a heat transfer fluid circuit. The heat transfer fluid circuit has a compressor, a heat exchanger, an expansion device and a PCM heat exchanger. The method requires monitoring for, via a controller, a braking signal from a braking sensor of the refrigerated transport unit. Also, the method includes directing energy generated by the prime mover for moving the refrigerated transport unit to the TRS when the controller receives a braking signal from the braking sensor. Further, the method includes the TRS charging the PCM of the thermal accumulator via the heat transfer fluid circuit when the energy generated by the prime mover is directed to the TRS.”

Passive temperature modulation systems and devices employing solid PCMs

U.S. patent application 20150316327 (applicant Battelle Memorial Institute, Richland, Wash.):

“A heating or cooling system based on solid materials capable of absorbing or releasing heat during a phase change is provided. The system comprises solid members that absorb or release heat during a phase change, locking members to mechanically lock in a desired phase, and a heat exchange medium.”


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

From Progress in Clean Energy:

Microcapsulation and Macrocapsulation of Phase Change Materials by Emulsion Co-polymerization Method
The Energy Conservation Potential of Using Phase-Change Materials as Thermal Mass Material for Air Source Heat Pump-Driven Underfloor Heating System in a Building

From Carbon:

Cellulose/graphene aerogel supported phase change composites with high thermal conductivity and good shape stability for thermal energy storage

From U.S. Army Corps of Engineers:

Simulated Aging and Characterization of Phase Change Materials for Thermal Management of Building Envelopes [pdf]

From Science of Advanced Materials:

Synthesis and Performance of Thermoplastic Polyurethane-Based Solid–Solid Phase-Change Materials for Energy Storage

From Materials and Technology:

Micro-Encapsulated Phase-Change Materials for Latent-Heat Storage: Thermal Characteristics [pdf]

From Journal of Composite Materials:

Improvement of thermal conductivity of paraffin by adding expanded graphite

From International Journal of Research in Engineering and Technology:

Review on Latent Heat Storage and Problems Associated With Phase Change Materials [pdf]


Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

More than 420 of your peers 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 Mark Chaffee, vice president of governmental relations and sustainability at Taco Inc.; Ian Moriarty, business development at American Aerogel; Kristen Victor, CEO of Sustainability Matters; and Shona O’Dea, building performance analyst at DLR Group.

Member Stephen Hamstra of Greensleeves LLC started a discussion on heat storage capacity. He asks:

“What level of energy density (BTU’s stored per cubic foot) are people seeing with PCM’s? Have we reached or exceeded the thermal storage density of water undergoing a phase change (liquid to solid)?”


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.