Alkenones as renewable phase change materials

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Highlights for

Alkenones display competitive properties to other bio- and petroleum-based phase change materials.

Latent heat and mp for alkenones from two commercial Isochrysis algae were similar despite having different profiles.

Controlling alkenone crystallinity may provide a means to tune the enthalpy of fusion.


Unique algal lipids known as alkenones were evaluated as potential phase change materials (PCMs). Alkenones were isolated and purified from commercial Isochrysis algal biomass and their thermal properties evaluated by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA). Alkenone crystallinity appears to impact latent heat of fusion (ΔHfus), however both the ΔHfus and melting temperature (∼65 °C) of two different alkenone compositions obtained from separate commercial Isochrysis suppliers were nearly identical. Compared to a synthetic bis-fatty acid PCM, alkenones showed improved thermal stability by TGA and comparable ΔHfus (up to 275 J/g) by DSC. Overall the results demonstrate competitive properties for alkenones to other renewable and non-renewable PCMs such that alkenones represent a promising and potentially superior alternative for various ‘green’ PCM technologies.



Phase change materials


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