What are PCMs?


A Phase Change Material (PCM) is anything that releases energy when it changes state; say from liquid to solid or vice versa. PCMs act as latent thermal storage materials. Our Thermal Energy Storage systems use the savE® range of PCMs manufactured by Pluss Advanced Technologies. The PCMs are encapsulated in one of two forms: Crystal T-Paks or Crystal Spheres.

The PCMs we use are encapsulated in HDPE containers in battery format making them suitable for new projects and retrofits without the need for any major disruption of the system design or the need to select low temperature chillers and high glycol content installations.

What are the advantages of PCM Thermal Energy Storage.

Load Shifting

* PCM TES generation works during the off-peak energy periods and takes advantage of electrical utilities companies lower off peak time-of-use rate.

* PCM TES benefits in lower operating costs by saving money on electric bills and avoiding ‘on-peak’ demand charges and standing max demand charges.

* PCM TES benefits on reduced demand for electricity during the peak demand periods.

Lower Capital Outlays

* Capital costs incurred are comparable to conventional air-conditioning system, with cost saved by using lower capacity chiller plant and without the requirement to go to special low temperature chillers. This is applicable for both new construction and system retrofits/expansions.

* A PCM TES system coupled with the plant capacity reduction requires a lower maintenance regime and also reduces the maintenance charges.

Efficiency in Operation

* Conventional air conditioning systems generally only operate at partial operating conditions most of the time due to variable external heat gains combined with fluctuating internal conditions, etc. With a PCM TES system installed the chiller plant operates at full-load or partial conditions for a shorter period of time while the system is being charged. The equipment’s operating efficiency can be maximised in line with the optimum efficiency parameters of the installed plant. The effect of the plant optimisation means the increases. PCM TES system chillers always either run in its full efficiency or not at all. In other words the chiller operation is not dependent on the varying load profile of the building as the PCM TES will provide the trimming or excess capacity required.

* Because the stored cooling equipment typically operates at night when outdoor air temperatures are significantly cooler the chiller plant Energy Efficiency Rating (EER) is greatly enhanced. This results in a significant net decrease in kWh electrical consumption and operating costs.

* PCM TES system provides operational flexibility because the reserved storage capacity ensures enough buffers for varying loads of minimum and maximum demand. Chillers can be stopped during normal working hours for maintenance and service while the coolant stored in the battery style TES during off-peak period supplies the cooling.

Increased Scheme Capacity

* The introduction of a PCM TES as a retrofit to an existing installation will increase the schemes cooling capacity without the need to provide additional cooling plant or additional electrical supplies.

* PCM TES can be centrally or locally located to provide the additional cooling capacity as required.

Sustainable Green Features

* Operating the chiller plant at night time means the Energy Efficiency Rating of the plant is generally above the accepted level for consideration as sustainable energy in terms of energy generation.

* Because the PCM`s are charged within the chilled water system operating temperature range no additional glycol upgrade/ increased capacity is required.

* A Reduced energy demand for a TES scheme reduces the facilities carbon footprint.

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