Phase Change Materials (PCM) technologies will be critical to the cold transport and storage of new COVID-19 vaccines. Two vaccines, developed by Pfizer and Moderna, are slated to be rolled out under emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration in the next several weeks.
PCMs are materials which have a low melting point and can change their phase by absorbing latent heat from a system – a refrigeration system, for example – in order to maintain the temperature.
Research by Kristen Parrish, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Arizona State University, has focused on the cooling technology used in industrial freezer facilities by incorporating phase-change materials.
In a Q & A for ASU Now, Parrish addresses the energy requirements of transporting and storing vaccines, how these materials can expand vaccination location options and the skilled technicians required to keep the freezers operational during vaccine distribution:
Interviews with Dr. Parrish can be scheduled upon request.