Numerical analysis of latent heat thermal energy storage using encapsulated phase change material for solar thermal power plant

Highlights

Numerical study on packed bed LHTES consisting of spherical shaped encapsulated PCMs.

Ability of LHTES in storing and releasing energy is improved by increasing mass flow rate and inlet charging temperature.

Transient variation in HTF temperature can be reduced by decreasing porosity and encapsulation diameter.

Increasing storage diameter reduces the ability in removing fluctuations in HTF temperature.

Abstract

Thermal energy storage improves the load stability and efficiency of solar thermal power plants by reducing fluctuations and intermittency inherent to solar radiation. This paper presents a numerical study on the transient response of packed bed latent heat thermal energy storage system in removing fluctuations in the heat transfer fluid (HTF) temperature during the charging and discharging period. The packed bed consisting of spherical shaped encapsulated phase change materials (PCMs) is integrated in an organic Rankine cycle-based solar thermal power plant for electricity generation. A comprehensive numerical model is developed using flow equations for HTF and two-temperature non-equilibrium energy equation for heat transfer, coupled with enthalpy method to account for phase change in PCM. Systematic parametric studies are performed to understand the effect of mass flow rate, inlet charging system, storage system dimension and encapsulation of the shell diameter on the dynamic behaviour of the storage system. The overall effectiveness and transient temperature difference in HTF temperature in a cycle are computed for different geometrical and operational parameters to evaluate the system performance. It is found that the ability of the latent heat thermal energy storage system to store and release energy is significantly improved by increasing mass flow rate and inlet charging temperature. The transient variation in the HTF temperature can be effectively reduced by decreasing porosity.

Keywords

  • Phase change material;
  • Encapsulation;
  • Organic rankine cycle (ORC)-based solar thermal power plant;
  • Temperature fluctuations

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