20 Q&A to Know Phase Change Material Thermal Energy Storage in 2021

By Boca Editorial, 13 August 2021

In this article you will get a quick understanding of the facts about Phase Change Material (PCM) and its innovative applications especially in energy efficient chiller system. These intimate knowledge is in highly condensed words to give you the easy concept of this new green material.


(1) What is phase change?

The physical process when material absorbs heat to turn into the state of liquid from solid or releases heat to turn into state of solid from liquid.

(2) What is Phase Change Material (PCM)?

In strict sense, a specially prescribed compound which performs phase change at a specific temperature point.

(3) Do all substances in the world perform phase change?

Yes, broadly speaking all substances perform phase change at some temperature points but PCM generally refers to the materials which perform phase change at a special temperature point for specific kind of thermal function.

(4) What is latent heat?

Unlike sensible heat which you my feel, latent heat refers to the heat energy generated during a phase change.

(5) How does Phase Change Material function?

During the process of phase change, Phase Change Material absorbs to store heat or releases latent heat to “store coolth” for thermal application purpose at a later stage.

(6) Is Phase Change Material a new invention?

No, it was discovered for over a century but not ready for practical application because of some technical issues until breakthrough in recent decades.

(7) Is Phase Change Material a patented product?

Some PCMs, like BocaPCM, are patented, while others may not necessarily carry patents because certain kinds of PCM has been widely recognized and used globally.


(8) What is Thermal Energy Storage (TES)?

Imagine the mechanism of a cell battery but TES stores thermal energy instead of electrical energy.

(9) What is PCM-TES?

It refers to Phase Change Material Thermal Energy Storage, which involves PCM as the major medium for the TES to take place.

(10) What is a PCM panel?

A HDPE panel-shape container for PCM.

(11) What is a PCM-TES tank?

A large thermal container to accommodate a lot of PCM panels stacked together to let taking place the process of TES.

energy saving chiller system with PCM-TES tank and PCM panels.jpg
A typical PCM-TES system includes a thermal tank and PCM panels.


(12) What is the temperature range of Phase Change Material?

The phase change temperature range of a PCM series could be as wide as from -100℃ to 1100℃.

(13) What is 8℃ Phase Change Material?

It means that this phase change material will turn into solid (frozen) from liquid state (solution) at a specified freezing temperature of 8℃, technically this is very difficult to produce, specially for the use in a chiller plant system.

(14) What is a PCM-TES Chiller System?

Integrating PCM-TES tanks into a chiller plant system so that extra “coolth” can be stored in the frozen PCM panels and released for use in peak load hours or whenever needed.

(15) How can PCM-TES Chiller System help save energy?

The chilled water in a chiller plant system is suffice to freeze the 8℃ Phase Change Material into solid state which hence stores a lot of “coolth” without consuming much electricity for the freezing (phase change) process.

(16) How can it save electricity money?

The extra “coolth” from the frozen PCM panels does not require much electricity to produce because they freeze at 8 ℃ by the chilled water so it is nearly FREE, yet the whole phase change process occurred at night when the electricity tariff is usually lower than in the daytime.

(17) What does PCM-TES Chiller System like?

Like equipping with a power-free refrigerator which generates, stores and gives you ice cubs to immediately cool a glass of drink.

(18) How much energy could be saved?

Up to 40-70%, subject to the energy consuming level of the replaced chiller system and the energy efficient effect from an advanced chiller system optimization design.

To learn more of ultra-energy-efficiency PCM-TES chiller system, VISIT HERE >>>


(19) Where else can we apply PCM?

From energy efficient chiller plant system in HVAC, solar energy storage, geothermal energy storage to cold chain or deep freeze, PCM may apply to tons of thermal applications.

(20) Why PCM is so important in terms of environmental protection?

Because the use of clean energy is only one side of the coin, the other side depends on how well we can store various kinds of energy.

For even more details on PCM, please visit this interesting website: www.pcm-tes.com/pcm