PCM fluids double the energy density

Heating and cooling with improved heat transfer media

Until now water has usually been used as the heat transfer medium for transporting heat and supplying cooling ceilings with cooling energy. However, competition is now growing in particular application areas. Researchers have developed new heat transfer fluids (PCS – phase change slurries) that have at least double the energy density. The new BINE-Projektinfo brochure “Phase change stores heat” (16/2012) presents the fluids. Phase change materials such as paraffin, which are finely distributed in water, store heat when they melt and release it again when they solidify.

The new fluids offer interesting prospects for dealing more efficiently with energy: they can help to balance out peaks in demand and output fluctuations. In future the refrigeration can be shifted to the cooler night-time hours and cooling networks can be designed on a smaller scale. It is particularly worthwhile storing surplus energy with systems with high investment requirements but low operational costs such as heat pumps and absorption chillers. The fluids are incorporated in the transport liquids as an emulsion or as microencapsulated particles.

Substances that utilise the phase change between their solid and liquid states in order to store energy are known as PCMs (phase change materials). Up to now, the materials have been predominately used in construction components such as walls and ceilings, as well as in building services systems such as panel storage systems and air conditioning devices. PCMs can be tailored for use in different temperature ranges and application areas. The aim of the research is to further reduce the investment costs in order to facilitate access to the market.

A cold storage unit using the new fluids is being operated as a pilot system in Hamburg’s Hafencity. The storage system contains a 30 percent by weight solution of microencapsulated paraffin. The BINE Projektinfo brochure “Phase change stores heat” (16/2012), which can be obtained free of charge from the BINE Information Service at FIZ Karlsruhe, is available online at www.bine.info or by calling +49 (0)228 92379-0.



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Heating and cooling with improved heat transfer media

Das Cover des BINE-Projektinfo „Phasenübergang speichert Wärme“ (16/2012)

(300 dpi, tiff, 2.9 MB)