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The award-winning Phase Change Matters blog tracks the latest news and research on phase change materials and thermal energy storage. E-mail tips and comments to Ben Welter, communications director at Entropy Solutions. Follow the blog on Twitter at @PureTemp. Subscribe to the weekly PCM newsletter. Or join the discussion on LinkedIn.




PCM briefing: Ph.D. opening at University of Twente; Denver thermal conference moves online

Ben Welter - Monday, May 11, 2020

• The University of Twente, Netherlands, has an opening for a four-year Ph.D. position in phase change materials for heat storage. "This research project will try to introduce a smart composite material which can store the heat for both short and long-term storage time," according to the posting. "This smart material will be based on inorganic salt hydrates having controllable discharging speed which is very advantageous for future smart heat batteries." The starting salary is 2,325 euros per month, plus an annual 8.3% year-end bonus.

• Because of uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Advancements in Thermal Management conference, scheduled for Aug. 6-7 in Denver, will be held as a virtual event on the same dates. According to the conference website: "Thermal 2020 presentations will be webcast with live slide presentations, audio, and real-time Q&A. Attendees may revisit these presentations after the event via recordings delivered directly to them. Exhibit booths feature rich, virtual profiles. Networking is done all-day via video conference rooms and though scheduled 1x1 meetings." A full conference pass costs $295 through June 12.

Peli BioThermal says air ambulance crews in Europe are transporting blood products via the company's Credo ProMed transport bags. The temperature-controlled bags are designed to protect blood products needed for transfusions at emergency scenes.

 • Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory are working to integrate a new thermal energy storage technology within CHP systems from Capstone Turbine Corp. to boost heat recovery. In the Argonne system, high-temperature PCMs are embedded within highly thermally conductive foam. The foam is then sealed with inert gas inside a module, preventing moisture or oxygen from getting inside and degrading the components.

Research roundup: Polythioether-based PCMS; alginate encapsulation; temperature stresses in concrete pavement; more

Ben Welter - Friday, May 08, 2020

From European Polymer Journal:

Extremely fast synthesis of polythioether based phase change materials (PCMs) for thermal energy storage

From Journal of Building Engineering:

Thermal behavior analysis of hollow bricks filled with phase-change material (PCM)

From Energies:

FEM Applied to Building Physics: Modeling Solar Radiation and Heat Transfer of PCM Enhanced Test Cells

From Iranian Polymer Journal:

Encapsulation of phase change materials with alginate modified by nanostructured sodium carbonate and silicate

From Energy & Fuels:

Aluminium ammonium sulfate dodecahydrate with multiple additives as composite phase change materials for thermal energy storage

From Materials Today: Proceedings:

Evaluation and reduction of temperature stresses in concrete pavement by using phase changing material
Optimization of Heat Energy Based on Phase Change Materials used in Solar Collector using Taguchi Method
Experimental and Theoretical Investigations on Thermal Conductivity of the Paraffin Wax using CuO Nanoparticles

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Novel synthesis of silica coated palmitic acid nanocapsules for thermal energy storage
Recent progress in phase change materials storage containers: Geometries, design considerations and heat transfer improvement methods
Effect of phase separation and supercooling on the storage capacity in a commercial latent heat thermal energy storage: Experimental cycling of a salt hydrate PCM
Energy efficiency optimization of the waste heat recovery system with embedded phase change materials in greenhouses: A thermo-economic-environmental study
Characterization of innovative mortars with direct incorporation of phase change materials

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

A trade study of a phase change system in a stratospheric airship based on a triple gasbag concept
Experimental evaluation of structural insulated panels outfitted with phase change materials
Lattice Boltzmann simulation of melting heat transfer in a composite phase change material

From Geothermics:

Parametric modeling and simulation of low temperature energy storage for cold-climate multi-family residences using a geothermal heat pump system with integrated phase change material storage tank

From Energy:

Multi-level uncertainty optimisation on phase change materials integrated renewable systems with hybrid ventilations and active cooling
A novel solar thermal system combining with active phase-change material heat storage wall (STS-APHSW): Dynamic model, validation and thermal performance

From Advances in Energy Research:

Theoretical Modeling of Phase Change Material-Based Space Heating Using Solar Energy

From Chemical Engineering Journal:

High latent heat and recyclable form-stable phase change materials prepared via a facile self-template method

From Composites Part B: Engineering:

In situ one-step construction of monolithic silica aerogel-based composite phase change materials for thermal protection

From Solar Energy:

Effects of external insulation component on thermal performance of a Trombe wall with phase change materials

From Journal of Architectural Engineering:

Experimental and Numerical Thermal Properties Investigation of Cement-Based Materials Modified with PCM for Building Construction Use

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Experimental and numerical study on the thermal performance of ventilated roof composed with multiple phase change material (VR-MPCM)

From Construction and Building Materials:

Multi-scale analysis on thermal properties of cement-based materials containing micro-encapsulated phase change materials

From Applied Energy:

D-mannitol@silica/graphene oxide nanoencapsulated phase change material with high phase change properties and thermal reliability
Novel bio-based phase change materials with high enthalpy for thermal energy storage

From Materials Today Energy:

A detailed review on heat transfer rate, supercooling, thermal stability and reliability of nanoparticle dispersed organic phase change material for low-temperature applications

From International Journal of Thermal Sciences:

Experimental study and assessment of high-tech thermal energy storing radiant floor heating system with latent heat storage materials

From Advanced Powder Technology:

Paraffin core-polymer shell micro-encapsulated phase change materials and expanded graphite particles as an enhanced energy storage medium in heat exchangers

Patent application: Thermal energy storage apparatus

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 24, 2020

TES patent drawingU.S. patent application 20200088473 (applicant Climate Change Technologies Pty. Ltd., Wayville, Australia):

"A thermal energy storage apparatus, including: a block of a heat-absorbing material, the block defining at least one receptacle and being a contiguous block of compressed sintered graphite; and a phase change material stored in the or each receptacle, the phase change material being one that expands as it cools, wherein separation of side walls of the or each receptacle progressively increases as they extend upwardly from the base, whereby as the phase change material solidifies and expands it is urged upwardly to reduce pressure applied to the heat-absorbing material."

PCM briefing: EnergyNest is finalist for startup award; Croda website offers live chat

Ben Welter - Tuesday, March 24, 2020

EnergyNest is one of 15 start-ups nominated as finalists of the Start Up Energy Transition Award 2020. EnergyNest's thermal battery consists of steel cassettes with pipes encased in a special type of concrete. The Norwegian company announced earlier this year that an EnergyNest battery with a capacity of 6-8 MWh would be installed at a brick manufacturing plant in Austria.

• "T-History Simplified: Combining a Universal Standard with an IoT Strategy," presented by Madison Hammerberg, product development engineering manager at CAVU Group, will be among the presentations at the Advancements in Thermal Management conference in Denver, Aug. 6-7, 2020.

Croda now offers live chat on its CrodaTherm website, The "Chat with a Croda Expert" feature is designed to provide visitors with "instant support."

Terrafore Technologies of Minneapolis is one of 13 companies to be awarded a Launch Minnesota Innovation Grant from the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development. The grants total $344,000; the amounts of individual grants were not disclosed. Terrafore is developing thermal energy storage to provide dispatchable solar power generation to the grid.

RayGen Resources Pty. Ltd. of Australia has been awarded $3 million AUD toward a feasibility study for a 4 MW “solar hydro” power plant in Victoria. The money will come from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. RayGen's system extracts heat from solar panels and stores it in a water reservoir acting as a heat store. The hot reservoir is paired with cold reservoir chilled by electricity from the solar panels and the grid. The temperature difference powers an Organic Rankine Cycle engine to generate electricity with a round-trip efficiency of 70%.

• The Swedish thermal energy storage company Azelio has completed the installation of "a system that will store solar energy from what is claimed to be the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant project," Energy Storage Journal reports. "The complex [in Morocco] is 2,500 hectares in size, and solar panels cover 1,000 square metres — which means it could potentially harvest a total of 2.6GW a year." The system uses recycled aluminum as the heat storage material.

Sunamp Ltd. of Edinburgh, Scotland, has signed a memo of understanding with Ripple Energy, a company that enables customers to part-own large-scale wind farms to power their homes. Under the agreement, Ripple will offer its customers Sunamp heat batteries, which use a specially formulated phase change material to store large amounts of energy from renewable and other sources and release it as heat to deliver hot water and space heating as needed.

Research roundup: Corn oil PCM in frozen food cooling machine; portable solar box cooker; expanded graphite/1-octadecanol composite; more

Ben Welter - Saturday, March 21, 2020

From Journal of Physics:

Corn oil phase change material (PCM) in frozen food cooling machine to improve energy efficiency

From Materials Today: Proceedings:

Investigating thermal properties of Nanoparticle Dispersed Paraffin (NDP) as phase change material for thermal energy storage

From Energy:

Effects of fluctuating thermal sources on a shell-and-tube latent thermal energy storage during charging process

From Solar Energy:

Design, realization, and tests of a portable solar box cooker coupled with an erythritol-based PCM thermal energy storage
Diversiform microstructure silicon carbides stabilized stearic acid as composite phase change materials

From International Journal of Thermofluids:

Investigating the performance of a thermal energy storage unit with paraffin as phase change material, targeting buildings’ cooling needs: an experimental approach

From Journal of Cleaner Production:

Energy and exergy analysis of wind farm integrated with compressed air energy storage using multi-stage phase change material

From Powder Technology:

Effect of nano-SiC on thermal properties of expanded graphite/1-octadecanol composite materials for thermal energy storage

From Journal of Energy Storage:

A multi-objective optimal design method for thermal energy storage systems with PCM: A case study for outdoor swimming pool heating application
Reducing PV module temperature with radiation based PV module incorporating composite phase change material
Numerical investigation on the effect of fin design on the melting of phase change material in a horizontal shell and tube thermal energy storage

From Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry:

Characterization of form-stable phase-change material for solar photovoltaic cooling

From International Journal of Thermophysics:

Thermophysical Properties of a Novel Nanoencapsulated Phase Change Material

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Lattice Boltzmann simulation of forced convection melting of a composite phase change material with heat dissipation through an open-ended channel
High power density thermal energy storage using additively manufactured heat exchangers and phase change material

From Energies:

Evaluation of the State of Charge of a Solid/Liquid Phase Change Material in a Thermal Energy Storage Tank [pdf]
Novel Simulation Algorithm for Modeling the Hysteresis of Phase Change Materials [pdf]

From Energy & Fuels:

Novel shape-stabilized phase change materials based on paraffin/EPDM@graphene with high thermal conductivity and low leakage rate

From Polymers and Polymer Composites:

Regulating phase-change temperatures of form-stable phase-change ternary composite fibrous membranes consisting of polystyrene nanofibers and fatty acid eutectics via co-electrospinning method

From Applied Energy:

A design protocol for enhanced discharge exergy in phase change material heat battery
Fabrication of heat storage pellets composed of microencapsulated phase change material for high-temperature applications
A high-thermal-conductivity, high-durability phase-change composite using a carbon fibre sheet as a supporting matrix

From Journal of Building Engineering:

Preparation and characterization of metal-organic framework /microencapsulated phase change material composites for indoor hygrothermal control

From Indoor and Built Environment:

Numerical and experimental investigation on dynamic thermal performance of floor heating system with phase change material for thermal storage

From Applied Clay Science:

A triply synergistic method for palygorskite activation to effectively impregnate phase change materials (PCMs) for thermal energy storage

From Chemical Engineering Journal:

Lignin-fatty acid hybrid nanocapsules for scalable thermal energy storage in phase-change materials

From Construction and Building Materials:

Phase change materials for pavement applications: A review

From Carbohydrate Polymers:

Shape-stabilization of polyethylene glycol phase change materials with chitin nanofibers for applications in “smart” windows

PCM briefing: Ice Energy files for bankruptcy; Viking Cold has opening for thermal engineer

Ben Welter - Monday, February 10, 2020

Ice Energy, the Santa Barbara, Calif., company that made and distributed ice-based thermal energy storage systems, has filed for bankruptcy. The company's Ice Bear system makes ice at night when demand for electricity is low and capacity is abundant. During the day, the stored ice is used to provide cooling. Details of the Chapter 7 bankruptcy, filed in December, are sparse. The company's website is no longer active. Over the years, Ice Energy had won several major energy storage and distribution contracts with utilities, and had begun marketing a smaller version of the Ice Bear system aimed at retail customers. 

Viking Cold Solutions has an opening for a chemical/thermal engineer in Houston. The engineer will "conduct research in Thermal Science, Storage/Heat Transfer and Phase Change Materials (PCM) for low temperature applications (<10⁰C)."

Axiom Exergy has secured more than $1 million in orders for the Axiom Cloud, a software platform that helps manage energy consumption in supermarkets and cold storage facilities that use the company's PCM-powered thermal storage systems.

• The 2020 Advancements in Thermal Management conference, to be held Aug. 6-7 in Denver, has issued a call for presentations. Topics include thermal materials, thermal modeling and characterization and measurement of thermal materials. Abstracts are due Feb. 12.

EnergyNest will install a large thermal energy storage battery at a Senftenbacher brick factory in Austria. The system will temporarily store excess energy in the form of hot air from a tunnel furnace. The stored heat be converted to steam and later reused in production.

Devan Chemicals, the Belgium-based developer of finishing technologies for textiles, introduced its Tones of Cool Bio technology at the Heimtextil trade show in Frankfurt, Germany, last month. The technology "stimulates the textile to dissipate redundant heat from the body and to instantly reduce the body temperature," the company says. The phase change materials "are derived from sustainable, natural sources.

Registration is open for the 23rd Microencapsulation Industrial Convention to be held June 8-11 in Rotterdam, Netherlands.

Research roundup: Carbonized waste tires; cetyl palmitate/nickel foam; hydrated salt corrosion assessment; more

Ben Welter - Tuesday, January 14, 2020

From Waste Management:

Evaluation of carbonized waste tire for development of novel shape stabilized composite phase change material for thermal energy storage

From Journal of Energy Storage:

Development of polyurethane foam incorporating phase change material for thermal energy storage
Facile synthesis and thermal performance of cetyl palmitate/nickel foam composite phase change materials for thermal energy storage
Optimal sizing design and operation of electrical and thermal energy storage systems in smart buildings

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Numerical investigation of the effects of the nano-enhanced phase change materials on the thermal and electrical performance of hybrid PV/thermal systems
Thermal storage and thermal management properties of a novel ventilated mortar block integrated with phase change material for floor heating: an experimental study

From Applied Energy:

Wood-based composite phase change materials with self-cleaning superhydrophobic surface for thermal energy storage

From Renewable Energy:

Corrosion assessment of promising hydrated salts as sorption materials for thermal energy storage systems
Experimental study on latent thermal energy storage system with gradient porosity copper foam for mid-temperature solar energy application
Selection of a phase change material and its thickness for application in walls of buildings for solar-assisted steam curing of precast concrete
Experimental assessment of Phase Change Material (PCM) embedded bricks for passive conditioning in buildings

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Analysis of energy retrofit system using latent heat storage materials applied to residential buildings considering climate impacts
Experimental and numerical simulation of phase change process for paraffin/expanded graphite/ethylene-vinyl acetate ternary composite
An experimental investigation on the evaporation of polystyrene encapsulated phase change composite material based nanofluids

From Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells:

Lightweight mesoporous carbon fibers with interconnected graphitic walls for supports of form-stable phase change materials with enhanced thermal conductivity

From Energies:

The Effects of Fin Parameters on the Solidification of PCMs in a Fin-Enhanced Thermal Energy Storage System

From Journal of Materials Science:

Graphene aerogel-based phase changing composites for thermal energy storage systems

From Journal of Mechanical Science and Technology:

A study on development of the thermal storage type plate heat exchanger including PCM layer

From Journal of Power Sources:

Delayed liquid cooling strategy with phase change material to achieve high temperature uniformity of Li-ion battery under high-rate discharge

From Scientific Reports:

Modification of asphalt mixtures for cold regions using microencapsulated phase change materials

From ASES National Solar Conference:

A Study on the Thermal Energy Storage System Using Multiple PCMs [pdf]

From Molecules:

Assessment of Thermal Performance of Textile Materials Modified with PCM Microcapsules Using Combination of DSC and Infrared Thermography Methods

From Energy and Buildings:

Experimental study on thermal performance of a mobilized thermal energy storage system: A case study of hydrated salt latent heat storage

From Chemical Engineering Journal:

Shape-stabilized hydrated salt/paraffin composite phase change materials for advanced thermal energy storage and management

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

A conjugate heat transfer model for unconstrained melting of macroencapsulated phase change materials subjected to external convection

Sunamp's UniQ heat storage product earns RAL certification

Ben Welter - Monday, December 16, 2019

The RAL Quality Association PCM has awarded the RAL Quality Mark to Sunamp Ltd. for its UniQ line of thermal batteries.

RAL quality markThe product, which has been installed in thousands of homes across Europe, uses a specially formulated phase change material to store large amounts of energy from renewable and other sources and release it as heat to deliver hot water and space heating as needed. The PCM is sodium acetate trihydrate-based with a patented formulation giving a melt point of 58 degrees Celsius. 

In independent testing conducted by ZAE Bayern, the PCM was successfully melted and solidified in a UniQ heat battery for 10,000 cycles. At the end of the test, no significant differences in stored thermal energy capacity were found between the cycled samples and an uncycled sample of the PCM. The product, which also passed leak testing, earned the association's highest level of certification, Grade A. 

Over 3,000 UniQ units are now in service, with Sunamp projecting a tenfold growth in sales next year. The quality mark will be featured on Sunamp’s website and in other marketing materials, UniQ manuals and product labels.

“We are delighted that our thermally charged UniQ product range of heat batteries has been awarded a globally recognized mark of quality,” said Kate Fisher, Ph.D., a materials integration scientist at Sunamp, which is based in Edinburgh, Scotland. “RAL certification is a huge accolade and cements Sunamp’s position as world leaders at the forefront of the technology.”

Sunamp UniQ heat batteriesThe RAL Quality Association PCM was established in 2004 to develop standards for the PCM industry. Members include Axiotherm, Microtek Laboratories, Rubitherm, Croda Europe, va-Q-tec, PCM Technology, Global-Systems Europe, Sasol, Sunamp, Pluss Advanced Technologies and PureTemp LLC.

Members and non-members alike can submit their products to the association for independent testing and earn the RAL Quality Mark. To qualify for the mark, products and materials must meet standards for energy storage capacity and phase transition temperature and stability, as defined in RAL-GZ 896.

“I am delighted that more and more products with PCM technology can be awarded the RAL Quality Mark as meaningful and transparent proof of quality and longevity,” said Stefan Thomann, the association’s managing director. “The great thing about Sunamp´s UniQ heat batteries is that they can be installed and used in homes very easily and save a lot of energy costs and carbon emissions immediately. The fact that they passed more than 10,000 cycles make sure that users will be able to profit from these benefits for decades.”

Patent application: Latent-heat storage body microcapsules

Ben Welter - Monday, October 14, 2019

U.S. patent application 20190300770 (applicant National University Corp., Hokkaido University, Hokkaido, Japan):

Hokkaido microcapsule patent drawing"In the present invention, after a primary coating film is formed by boehmite treatment of the surface of a core particle in a solution comprising Al ions, a secondary coating film is formed by cooling the solution to the supersaturation temperature of the Al ions to cause deposition of a hydroxide of aluminum on the surface of the primary coating film, and an Al oxide film is formed on the surface of the core particle by heat treating the secondary coating film in an oxidizing atmosphere. Consequently, the shell is thickened by the amount of secondary coating film formed, so that the cyclic strength of the capsule can be secured and the composition change of the PCM in the production process is remarkably suppressed."

Research roundup: Passive cooling in buildings; honeycomb carbon fibers; leak-free aggregates; more

Ben Welter - Monday, October 14, 2019

From Applied Energy:

Passive cooling through phase change materials in buildings. A critical study of implementation alternatives

From Applied Thermal Engineering:

Honeycomb carbon fibers strengthened composite phase change materials for superior thermal energy storage

From e-Polymers:

Fabrication and characterization of conductive microcapsule containing phase change material

From Construction and Building Materials:

Preparation and characterization of nano-SiO2/paraffin/PE wax composite shell microcapsules containing TDI for self-healing of cementitious materials
Development of leak-free phase change material aggregates
Behavior of cementitious mortars with direct incorporation of non-encapsulated phase change material after severe temperature exposure

From Advanced Functional Materials:

Engineering the Thermal Conductivity of Functional Phase‐Change Materials for Heat Energy Conversion, Storage, and Utilization

From Journal of Energy Storage:

A numerical investigation of the effects of metal foam characteristics and heating/cooling conditions on the phase change kinetic of phase change materials embedded in metal foam
Applications of combined/hybrid use of heat pipe and phase change materials in energy storage and cooling systems: A recent review
Innovative composite sorbent for thermal energy storage based on a SrBr2·6H2O filled silicone composite foam

From ACS Applied Nano Materials:

Concentrated Ag Nanoparticles in Dodecane as Phase Change Materials for Thermal Energy Storage

From Materials Research Express:

Preparation of 1-dodecanol microcapsules with cellulose nanofibers-modified melamine-formaldehyde resin as a potential phase change material

From IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science:

Optimisation of Parameters in Thermal Energy Storage System by Enhancing Heat Transfer in Phase Change Material

From International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer:

Thermal transport properties at interface of fatty acid esters enhanced with carbon-based nanoadditives

From Journal of Solar Energy Engineering:

Using a Novel Phase Change Material-Based Cooling Tower for a Photovoltaic Module Cooling

From Solar Energy:

Experimental investigation on micro-scale phase change material based on sodium acetate trihydrate for thermal storage

From RSC Advances:

A novel forced separation method for the preparation of paraffin with excellent phase changes

From Energy Conversion and Management:

Experimental characterisation of a novel thermal energy storage based on open-cell copper foams immersed in organic phase change material