Leakage-proof microencapsulation of phase change materials by emulsification with acetylated cellulose nanofibrils

We use acetylated cellulose nanofibrils (AcCNF) to stabilize transient emulsions with paraffin that becomes shape-stable and encapsulated phase change material (PCM) upon cooling. Rheology measurements confirm the gel behavior and colloidal stability of the solid suspensions. We study the effect of nanofiber content on PCM leakage upon melting and compare the results to those from unmodified CNF. The nanostructured cellulose promotes paraffin phase transition, which improves the efficiency of thermal energy exchange. The leakage-proof microcapsules display high energy absorption capacity at high PCM loading (up to 80 wt%), while effectively controlling the extent of supercooling. An excellent thermal stability is observed during at least 100 heating/cooling cycles. Degradation takes place at 291 °C, indicating good thermal stability. The high energy density and the effective shape and thermal stabilization of the AcCNF-encapsulated paraffin points to a sustainable solution for thermal energy storage and conversion.