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Title: Low-Cost Bio-Based Phase Change Materials as an Energy Storage Medium in Building Envelopes

A promising approach to increasing the energy efficiency of buildings is the implementation of phase change material (PCM) in building envelope systems. Several studies have reported the energy saving potential of PCM in building envelopes. However, wide application of PCMs in building applications has been inhibited, in part, by their high cost. This article describes a novel paraffin product made of naturally occurring fatty acids/glycerides trapped into high density polyethylene (HDPE) pellets and its performance in a building envelope application, with the ultimate goal of commercializing a low-cost PCM platform. The low-cost PCM pellets were mixed with cellulose insulation, installed in external walls and field-tested under natural weatherization conditions for a period of several months. In addition, several PCM samples and PCM-cellulose samples were prepared under controlled conditions for laboratory-scale testing. The laboratory tests were performed to determine the phase change properties of PCM-enhanced cellulose insulation both at microscopic and macroscopic levels. This article presents the data and analysis from the exterior test wall and the laboratory-scale test data. PCM behavior is influenced by the weather and interior conditions, PCM phase change temperature and PCM distribution within the wall cavity, among other factors. Under optimal conditions, the field data showedmore » up to 20% reduction in weekly heat transfer through an external wall due to the PCM compared to cellulose-only insulation.« less
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3]
  1. ORNL
  2. Renewable Energy Group, Inc.
  3. Fraunhofer USA, Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE), Boston
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
DOE Contract Number:
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Resource Relation:
Conference: National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) BEST4 Conference, Kansas City, MO, USA, 20150412, 20150415
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Building Technologies Research and Integration Center (BTRIC)
Sponsoring Org:
ORNL work for others
Country of Publication:
United States
phase change materials; low-cost PCM; PCM-cellulose insulation