Recovery Act - Shape-Stable and Highly Conductive Nano-Phase Change Materials
Department of Energy
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Small Business Information
3927 Dobie Road, Okemos, MI, 48864
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractAir conditioning of building accounts for a major fraction of the U.S. primary energy consumption. Air conditioning is also a major contributor to electric utility peak loads, which incur high generation costs and generally use inefficient and polluting generation turbines. Peak loads are also a major factor in poor grid reliability. The proposed project focuses on shifting of thermal loads to lower the high utility peak loads, and also on enhancing the passive use of solar energy. Thermal load shifting will be realized through development of an innovative phase change material (nano-PCM), which is highly conductive for enhanced thermal storage and energy distribution, and is shape-stable for convenient incorporation into lightweight building components. This approach intimately associates the phase change material molecules with the large and compatibly functionalized surface area of exfoliated graphite nanoplatelets. Binding of the phase change molecules upon the nanoplatelet surfaces mitigates bulk liquefaction of nano-PCM upon phase change (providing for shape-stability). The percolated network of highly conductive graphite nanoplatelets provides nano-PCM with high thermal conductivity. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The technology enables effective, convenient and economical use of latent heat thermal energy storage in buildings for achieving the following advantages: (i) the ability to narrow the gap between the peak and off-peak loads of electricity demand; (ii) the ability to save operative fees by shifting the electrical consumption from peak periods to off-peak periods since the cost of electricity at night is 1/3-1/5 of that during the day; (iii) the ability to utilize solar energy continuously, storing solar energy during the day, and releasing it at night, particularly for space heating in winter by reducing diurnal temperature fluctuations thus improving the degree of thermal comfort; (iv) the ability to store the natural cooling by ventilation at night in summer and to release it to decrease the room temperature during the day, thus reducing the cooling load of air conditioning.
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