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A Spanish university has developed new biobased phase-change materials with enhanced thermal properties that can be applied for waste heat recovery in industrial processes.These materials can be produced from natural sources as fats and oils usually considered by-products in the agro-food industry and can be recycled. They are looking for industrial partners interested in a technical cooperation or a license agreement.
The improvement of industrial processes in terms of energy efficiency and greenhouse reduction is a ‘must' worldwide. The industrial sector accounts for 1/3 of the total energy being consumed in society. Due to inefficiency, around 20 to 50% of this energy eventually becomes exhaust heat that could have been usefully reused for "clean" power generation employing waste heat recovery systems.
The university team has developed a new technlogy based on new PCMs (Phase Change Materials) that is especially useful for applications in high energy saving processes and/or waste heat recovery procedures in the industrial sector. The main innovation relays on the nature of the compounds and their extraordinary thermal storage capacity - some display more than 200 KJ/Kg enthalpy of solidification - , when compared to commercial available products with similar properties (paraffin and salts).
These compounds can also be produced from affordable natural sources like fats and oils from animal by-products not intended for human consumption and consequently, could be considered as biological PCMs (bio-PCMs). This type of compounds are environmentally friendly, recyclable and their production process reduces the CO2 foodprint.
The PCMs market can be segmented by three major product categories: paraffin (45%), hydrated salts (33%) and Bio PCM and fatty acids (22%). Even paraffin and hydrated salts are the most common PCMs. However, they show several disadvantages. The increasing awareness about environment friendly technology and energy saving is driving the organic PCM market. The properties due to which these materials are gaining wide acceptance are non-corrosive, chemically stable, non-toxic, high latent heat of fusion and almost negligible super cooling.
The demand for waste heat recovery is continuously growing under the rising commitment of the industry to reduce energy consumption, operational costs and carbon emissions. According to thermal properties, the new technology fits very well for high energy saving or heat recovery procedures in the industrial sector, in particular for the reuse of heat generated in industrial processes operating between 100-500 °C. Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) is a technology ideally suited for industrial process heat recovery where these new PCMs could have positive impact.
However, many applications exist for PCM in a broad range of industrial applications. Used as construction materials, these compounds enhance comfort, reduce energy consumption and reduce air conditioning/cooling dependence; in the health sector are useful for safe transportation of temperature-sensitive pharmaceuticals, biologics and blood products; in the textile industry, advanced clothes or sport shoes to assure regular temperature; for green energy, to store energy in solar panels.
Industrial partners working in the organic chemicals or phase-change materials industry with experience and resources to industrialize and commercialize this technology are sought. The cooperation may succed via a license agreement or a technical cooperation agreement, when a further develepment to adapt the technology to client specific needs or to test for new applications is required.
• Some of these compounds display up to 4,5-fold higher capacity for thermal energy storage, when compared to other inorganic or organic marketed PCM.
• Environmentally friendly and renewable, as these compounds could be produced from low-cost natural sources and/or industrial by-products (fats, oils, glycerol).
• This technology allows valorisation of industrial by-products of the agrodood industry.
Spanish patent application. PCT application planned
The Spanish university is looking for industrial partners working in the production organic compounds/materials in general and producres of PCM materials in particular, interested in the production and commercialization of these new PCM materials.
The collaboration should succed by means of a licence agreement wehre the partner sought should take care of regulatory development as well as the industrialization and commercialization of these materials.
The cooperation could also succed via a technical cooperation agreement when further development to adapt the PCM materials to specific needs of the client is required.