What is BioPCM™
What exactly are phase change materials and how do they react?
Phase change materials, as the name implies, are simply materials that change from one phase to another at a designated set point. One of the most common phase change materials that we all encounter on a daily basis is water. As we all know, at 0°C, water transitions from one phase to another. When water transitions from ice to liquid water, or from water into ice, energy is stored and released in each direction. This energy is in the form of latent heat storage. Water is very efficient in its ability to store latent heat, but the temperature at which it makes its transition is not very friendly to human habitation. Phase Change Energy Solutions has taken this same concept of storing and releasing energy through phase change materials but has moved the transition temperature up the scale from 0°C to around 21°C. Our product adds thermal mass to any structure giving it the ability to hold designated temperatures for much longer lengths of time.In basic physics, we all learned the heat transitions from hot to cold. When we open our front door in the summertime, hot air coming rushing into the house. Transversely, when we open that same door in the wintertime, the exact opposite happens. Our nice comfortable, warm air goes rushing out. This proves simple process proves that our physics teacher was correct. When we place ice into our beverage of choice, the ice immediately starts this same process. The heat inside the liquid is absorbed into the ice. As the heat transitions to the cold, the ice in turn melts resulting in phase change. Any heat above 0°C will be absorbed into the ice until all of the ice is completely transitioned. The same thing happens at a larger scale inside homes and commercial structures.
BioPCM™ is unique in that unlike other phase change materials, it is derived from sustainable, renewable sources. When you combine that with the fact that our products offer in many cases double and sometimes triple the performance of other less earth friendly products, the return on investment is very attractive.
Phase change material in buildings
When the walls and ceilings of a structure are designed to be 23°C, they work to help condition the interior temperature of the structure. When the heat load inside the structure begins to rise during the day, as the temperature gets above 23°C, that added heat will transition or be absorbed into the walls and ceilings which are cooler. This continues to happen throughout the day until the phase change material is completely transitioned (just like the ice in the glass). The heat is captured or stored in the phase change material and is given back as the temperature of the day begins to drop. Since the walls and ceilings are designed to be 23°C, the material will transition back to its designed temperature and will work very hard to maintain that temperature at night, just as it does during the day. If you are using our M51 material, this process is equivalent to having a 51 Btu air conditioner in every square foot of wall and ceiling space during the day and a 51 Btu heater in every square foot of wall and ceiling space during the night time hours.
Example of cool beverage in desert
In the first image we see what happens it you were to go out into the desert in the middle of the day during the summertime and place a nice cool beverage on an asphalt roadway. The temperature of the beverage would skyrocket until it equalised with the temperature of the pavement.
In the second image we add R-value or insulation into the equation. We are in effect creating a thermal envelope around our beverage. This R-value or thermal resistance works to keep outside temperature out and inside temperatures in. With the addition of this material, we are able to slow the transition of heat to cold, therefore keeping our nice cool beverage at a refreshing level for a longer period of time.
In the third image, we add phase change into the equation. We can see that our thermal envelope is working to keep the outside and inside temperatures from reaching each other and now our phase change material (ice in this scenario) can go about its job of capturing any heat that radiates through the structure (cooler). If the temperature inside the structure were to never rise above 0°C, our phase change material would stay perfectly in place forever. But, when the temp does go above 0°C it immediately starts to absorb that heat to try to maintain the desired temperature of 0°C. This process takes place all throughout the day and even by late afternoon, you will still find nice refreshing beverages inside the structure due to the combination of thermal resistance and thermal mass working efficiently together to accomplish the task.
How BioPCM™ Works
BioPCM™ absorbs and releases heat using bio-based phase change materials that melt and solidify at room temperature. When installed in ceiling and wall panels the product works day and night to stabilize indoor temperatures. This elegant approach to saving energy provides greater comfort for building occupants and more efficient heating systems for architects and designers.
Sustainable and cost effective, BioPCM™ provides the most cost effective and simple approach for integrating phase change materials into buildings.
BioPCM™ makes a significant difference in the heating and cooling of a structure. The chart below shows actual test results from unconditioned structures that are in located in Asheboro, NC.
On a September day, the ambient temperature (black coloured line) outside moved 21°C from 9°C at night to 30°C during the daytime.
As you can see, our control structure (rust coloured line) moved 25° inside, from 14°C at night to 28°C during the day, without phase change materials.
By adding our product to an exact structure sitting 50 feet away (green coloured line), we see a temperature swing of only 3°C in the same 24 hour period of time.
Reducing temperature swings from 13°C inside of an unconditioned structure to only 3°C is considered significant in our book. This is accomplished through the ability of the phase change material to absorb and store excess heat during the daytime hours. Which in effect cools the structure, and be able to release that same heat at night to help warm the structure as the temperatures of the day change. As this heat is given off, the phase change material refreezes giving it the ability to absorb heat the following day and repeat the cycle. The phase change material flattens the curve in the process reducing your energy consumption