Menu Close

Phase Change Matters Newsletter Sept 18 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,


Argonne’s novel solar TES project secures scale-up funding

The U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative program has awarded $1.6 million to scale up and demonstrate a novel thermal energy storage system that stores solar energy as heat for later use as electricity. Argonne National Laboratory has partnered with Koppers Inc. and Parker Hannifin Corp. on the project.

Argonne reports:

“A team of researchers at Argonne has developed a composite heat storage material that receives and releases heat very rapidly. This material consists of high-conductivity foams that have been infiltrated with a high-temperature phase-changing material. The awarded scale-up and demonstration project will yield an energy storage system that has three times the capacity of the current lab-scale system.”

Other SunShot developments this week:

• The Department of Energy and Southern Research signed a $3 million agreement to demonstrate a high-temperature solar energy storage system.

SolarReserve received a $2.4 million award to improve its molten salt energy storage capabilities.

Energy storage technologies: Beyond the battery

“All the talk in the electric utility industry these days seems to be about battery storage,” notes Utility Dive’s Herman K. Trabish, “but there are other ways to save generated electricity for later.” He interviewed experts about several options, including pumped hydro, rail, compressed air, fly wheels, molten salt and, of course, ice. Which technology has the most potential?

“At the scale of bulk storage,” explained Lincoln Bleveans of Burbank Water and Power, “you have to be agnostic about technology because the technology has to be driven by site conditions.”


A look at the new GHS standards and how they affect the PCM industry

Manufacturers of phase change material are required to follow the new Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals and must accurately report the hazards associated with their products. The requirements took effect June 1, 2015. A new tech paper from Entropy Solutions provides background on the GHS and a brief look at how it’s affecting the PCM industry.

Cooling vests: An efficient alternative to A/C in a warming climate?

Glacier Tek cooling vestA University of Michigan study has projected that demand for air conditioning in rapidly growing cities in India and other developing nations will dwarf the amount of cooling used in the United States, which is now the world’s heaviest user of air conditioners. In China, sales of air conditioners have nearly doubled over the past five years.

But are air conditioners the only answer? EarthTechling‘s Susan Kraemer suggests that cooling vests, powered by phase change material, would be an efficient way to protect people during periods of extreme heat in places where air conditioning and electricity are rare.


Molten salt thermal storage market projected to reach $2.5 billion by 2023

The global market for molten salt thermal energy storage is projected to reach $2.5 billion by 2023, according to a new report by Transparency Market Research. That’s a compound annual growth rate of 24.7 percent. The report estimated the global market to be $266.2 million in 2014. Abengoa Solar, Acciona, AREVA, BrightSource Energy, Schott and Siemens are among the key market participants profiled in the report.


Sonoco makes Dow Jones sustainability index for 7th straight year

Sonoco, a global provider of packaging products and services, has made the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index for the seventh consecutive year. The honor comes following an in-depth analysis of financial material and economic, environmental and social practices of more than 3,500 invited companies.

“Only three global packaging companies were recognized with listings on DJSI World Index in 2015, and I’m proud to say that Sonoco has the longest consecutive streak of any packaging company currently listed,” said Jack Sanders, Sonoco president and CEO. “This honor recognizes our dedication to reducing the environmental footprint from our global operations, providing a safe and healthy workplace for our employees, developing innovative packaging and recycling solutions to meet our customers’ sustainability goals and contributing to the communities where we operate.”


Registration open for 2016 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit

Registration for the 2016 ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit is now open. The summit, which is aimed at moving transformational energy technologies out of the lab and into the marketplace, will be held Feb. 29-March 2 at the Gaylord Convention Center outside Washington, D.C.

More than 2,100 people attended the 2015 summit. Next year’s showcase participants include Argonne National Laboratory, BASF, the Electric Power Research Institute and the National Renewable Energy Lab.


Electric energy storage system with PCM

Electric energy storage system patent illustrationU.S. patent application 20150256119 (applicant Universidad Politécnica De Madrid):

“The energy storage system includes a vessel made of a refractory material and containing a phase change material, a thermally insulating cover at least partially surrounding the vessel, an emitter, made of a refractory material, having a first side arranged to be heated by the phase change material [1, at right] and a second side intended to radiate thermal power, at least one photovoltaic cell arranged to receive the thermal power emitted by the second side of the emitter, and electric means for heating the phase change material.”

Quasiadiabatic differential scanning calorimeter

U.S. patent application 20150253206 (applicant Waters Technologies Corp., Milford, Mass.):

“A method of operating a differential scanning calorimeter wherein errors in the heat flow rate measurement are reduced by operating the calorimeter in a quasiadiabatic mode and by employing a heat flow rate measurement algorithm that includes the leakage heat flow rate. The temperature of the DSC enclosure is controlled independently of the temperature of the measuring system, which allows the temperature difference between the sample and reference containers and the enclosure to be minimized, thus minimizing leakage heat flow.”


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

From Energy and Buildings:

Thermal performance of a window-based cooling unit using phase change materials combined with night ventilation
Lightweight dense/porous PCM-ceramic tiles for indoor temperature control

From Applied Energy:

Preparation of microencapsulated medium temperature phase change material of Tris(hydroxymethyl)methyl aminomethane@SiO2 with excellent cycling performance

From Energy:

Preparation and characterization of macrocapsules containing microencapsulated PCMs (phase change materials) for thermal energy storage
Experimental investigation of the thermal response of a thermal storage tank partially filled with different PCMs (phase change materials) to a steep demand

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Temperature Stabilisation in Fischer-Tropsch Reactors Using Phase Change Material (PCM)

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Packed bed thermal energy storage: A simplified experimentally validated model
Evaluation of cooling and thermal energy storage tanks in optimization of multi-generation system

From European Polymer Journal:

Optimization of solvents for the encapsulation of a phase change material in polymeric matrices by electro-hydrodynamic processing of interest in temperature buffering food applications

From Mineral Technology:

Antarcticite, a Phase Change Material for Thermal Energy Storage: Experiments and Simulation

From Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews:

District cooling systems: Technology integration, system optimization, challenges and opportunities for applications

From 10th International Conference on Composite Science and Technology:

Effects of Graphene Nanofillers on the Energy Storage Properties of Paraffin-Based Phase Change Materials [pdf]

From NREL:

Domestic Material Content in Molten-Salt Concentrating Solar Power Plants  [pdf]


Connect with PCM experts and industry leaders on LinkedIn

More than 325 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 Kurt Mankell, a Minneapolis-based thermal design consultant; Laurel Loch, communications specialist with Kaeser Compressors; Andrew Calenzo, senior design engineer at Air Innovations; and Zsolt Bako Biro, senior R&D engineer at Monodraught Ltd


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.