CSE’s Kosny Explains Phase Change Materials in ‘New Scientist’

In the January 7 issue of New Scientist, writer Phil McKenna describes advances being made in phase change materials for regulating temperatures of buildings, clothing, refrigeration, and solar power.

Fraunhofer CSE’s Jan Kosny, a phase change materials research expert, spoke with McKenna about the principles behind PCMs and their potential applications:

PCMs are attractive energy-savers because of their ability to absorb or release massive amounts of energy while maintaining a near-constant temperature. “To melt ice takes the same amount of energy as would be required to warm an equal volume of water by 82 °C,” says Jan Kosny of the Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who began to explore the potential of PCMs three decades ago by looking at beeswax as a way to store heat from the sun. The reason PCMs are so useful is because energy is needed to break the molecular bonds between atoms when a substance melts, and is released when bonds are formed as it solidifies. – “Buildings and clothes could melt to save energy,” New Scientist

Kosny and others at Fraunhofer CSE are currently researching PCMs for various applications in the built environment as part of CSE’s building energy efficiency research.

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I previously managed Fraunhofer CSE's communications efforts, including creation and launch of CleanTech Notes.
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