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The Phase Change Matters e-mail newsletter, a first-place winner in the 2015 Digital PR Awards, delivers the latest news and research on phase change material and thermal energy storage every Friday. See the sample below or browse back issues.
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' 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, 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 www.littlelotusbaby.com/shop.
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.
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 puretemp.com/academic. Here are highlights from the past week:From Applied Thermal Engineering:
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."
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