Entropy Solutions has been producing PureTemp, the world’s first 100% renewable phase change material, since 2007. These patented PCMs, developed in three years of research sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are used in a wide variety of temperature-control applications, from cooling vests and warming blankets to refrigerators and thermal energy storage tanks.
Glacier Tek LLC of Minneapolis has incorporated flexible PCM microspheres in the cooling packs used in its Flex Vest line of cooling vests.
The cooling packs, redesigned for improved comfort and performance, feature a soft, durable nylon shell. They reach a flexible state more quickly and feel colder than the previous packs.
The Flex Vest is designed to maintain a comfortable microclimate of 18 degrees C for up to 2.5 hours. The new packs can be recharged in about 30 minutes in ice water or two hours in a refrigerator. But they are most effective when fully solidified in a freezer, which takes about an hour. The cooling packs weigh about 164 grams each and fit into 12 pockets inside the vest.
The novel cooling material, developed by PureTemp LLC of Minneapolis, is composed of a biobased phased change material. It is similar to the material used in the Glacier Tek therapy cooling packs introduced at the American College of Sports Medicine trade show in Orlando in May.
"PureTemp is excited to bring this shape-stabilized PCM format to the market," said Chris Servais, vice president of operations at PureTemp. "Glacier Tek has capitalized on its unique and improved characteristics.”
U.S. patent application 20190211171 (assignees Dow Global Technologies LLC, Midland, Mich., and Rohm and Haas Co., Collegeville, Penn.):
"A coated viscoelastic polyurethane foam includes a viscoelastic polyurethane foam having the coating thereon, the viscoelastic polyurethane foam having a resiliency of less than or equal to 20% as measured according to ASTM D3574, and a coating material on and embedded within the viscoelastic polyurethane foam, the coating material including an aqueous polymer emulsion and an encapsulated phase change material."
• ESDA-Axiotherm GmbH won two awards in this year's INNOspace Masters ideas competition. The competition, sponsored by the Space Administration of the German Aerospace Center, honors innovative ideas that address the challenges faced by the space industry. The winners were announced this week in Berlin. ESDA-Axiotherm won the overall prize for the development of a PCM polymer compound for the thermal stabilization of components and systems. The German company also won the OHB Challenge, which honors ready-to-use solutions.
• Noor Abu Dhabi, the world’s largest single-site solar power project with an installed capacity of 1,177 MW, has been successfully commissioned. The project is a joint venture between the government of Abu Dhabi and a consortium comprising Marubeni Corp., Japan, and Jinko Solar Holding, China. Abu Dhabi says the project's 3.2 million solar panels provide enough power for 90,000 people.
• The Swedish power producer Vattenfall has commissioned an industrial-scale, 0.5 MW/10 MWh, pilot test facility at its Reuter power plant, employing thermal energy storage technology developed by SaltX of Sweden. The technology uses nano-coated salts to store thermal energy.
• Croda International Plcposted a product announcement on its LinkedIn page this week: "CrodaTherm can be incorporated into wearable and non-wearable textile fibres to improve temperature regulation." There's more information on crodatherm.com. According to the website, Croda has encapsulated its bio-based phase change material "in a durable acrylic polymer shell, so that when the bio-based core changes phase, the particle remains solid." I hope to have more details on the technology in time for next week's newsletter.
U.S. patent application 20190191589 (applicant Google LLC, Mountain View, Calif.):
"This document describes techniques for implementing phase-change cooling in a three-dimensional structure. A three-dimensional structure having three-dimensional curvatures is fabricated to include a phase-change chamber with a fluid in a saturated thermodynamic state. As part of fabrication, specific mechanisms may be included that create a thermo-mechanical network that improves thermal performance of the phase-change chamber and also provides structural integrity to the three-dimensional structure. ... Structures housing heat-producing components, such as a virtual reality headset, a personal assistant/smart speaker, a smartphone, or gaming controller, are often shaped with complex, three-dimensional curvatures. As part of manufacturing such a structure and using specific techniques, phase-change mechanisms using a phase-change material (PCM) may be integrated as part of the structure, improving thermal control over the electronic system that might otherwise rely on convection or conduction based mechanisms."
U.S. patent application 20190186844 (applicant Tohoku University, Sendai-shi, Japan):
"A latent heat storage device includes: a heat transfer cylindrical body allowing a flow of a heat medium inside thereof and being rotatable about a longitudinal axis as a center of rotation; a fixed blade being adjacent to or in a slidable contact with an outer peripheral surface of the heat transfer cylindrical body; and a latent heat storage material disposed around the heat transfer cylindrical body, wherein by rotation of the heat transfer cylindrical body, the fixed blade scrapes a solidified body of the latent heat storage material adhering to the outer peripheral surface of the heat transfer cylindrical body off the outer peripheral surface of the heat transfer cylindrical body, and creates circulation of the latent heat storage material."
U.S. patent application 20190184673 (applicant VF Jeanswear LP, Greensboro, N.C.):
"Provided are garments that comprise thermally-conductive materials, the materials comprising a heat-collecting coating disposed on a fibrous base material having a thermally-conductive additive dispersed within. ... The disclosed garments can include a PCM disposed on and/or in a portion of the garment. Such a PCM can provide an improved moisture management or thermal management benefit to the overall garment."
U.S. patent application 20190189882 (applicant Boeing Co., Chicago, Ill.):
"An energy harvesting apparatus may include a thermoelectric device, a heat exchanger coupled to the thermoelectric device, a thermal capacitor container, and a thermal capacitor generation device. The thermal capacitor generation device may be configured to generate a thermal capacitor fluid, to be contained in the thermal capacitor container. An electrical energy storage device may be electrically connected to the thermoelectric device, to store electricity generated by the thermoelectric device."
• Christoph Rathgeber of ZAE Bayern and Michael Andretzky of the University of Duisburg-Essen are among the speakers at next week's Thermal Energy Storage Forum in Dusseldorf, Germany. The forum will focus on the use of thermal storage in industrial processes. Rathgeber's topic is "Economy of thermal energy storage." Andretzky's topic: "PCM in buffer tank for CHPs."
• Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy has launched an electric thermal energy storage system designed to store large quantities of energy cost-effectively. The pilot plant in Hamburg can store up to 130 MWh of thermal energy for a week. It uses a steam turbine to convert stored energy into electricity.
• CIC Energigune, a thermal energy storage research center in Spain's Basque Country, has joined the ALISTORE-ERI network. The European network brings together 20 research centers and 12 companies engaged in advanced energy storage research.
• Viking Cold Solutions of Houston has made Food Logistics' list of Top Green Providers 2019. Viking was honored in two categories, refrigeration and alternative fuels & energy. The company says its PCM-based thermal storage system, designed for use in cold storage facilities, can reduce energy consumption by more than 25 percent.
• Cryopak, a maker of insulated shipping containers, gel packs and phase change materials, says it is taking steps toward reducing its carbon footprint with the launch of a new line of shipping solutions. The company, based in Edison, N.J. says its R3 Service Program "minimizes the need for insulation materials, phase change solutions, bottles and their necessary disposal by handling the coordination of container delivery, reverse logistics and required refurbishment."