Experimental investigation of cycling behaviour of pilot-scale thermal oil packed-bed thermal storage system


An oil/rock thermocline TES system has been build and experimentally studied.

Multiple repetitive charge/discharge cycles are presented.

Influence of operating parameters on established behaviour is analysed.

Influence of occasional perturbations is investigated.


Extensive experimental study of dual media thermocline thermal energy storage using rock and sand as solid matrix and thermal oil as heat transfer fluid is presented. The work is devoted to the establishing of repeatable behaviours observed with multiple charge/discharge cycles and to the influences of operating parameters. Experimental results show that established behaviours are independent of most of operating parameters, notably tank initial state, mass flow rate and temperature ranges, and mainly depend on thermocline control strategy, i.e. part of the thermal gradient which is pulled out of the tank in charge and discharge. Experimental performances have been determined for a large range of control strategies and show tank utilisation rate ranging from about 10% to more than 80%. Thermocline response to perturbations has been studied and shows that partial charge perturbations lead to performances reduction with rapid return to established behaviours. These results may strongly enhance dual media thermocline understanding and may help design and integration of such TES in a given process.


  • Thermal energy storage;
  • Thermocline;
  • Rock bed;
  • Cyclic behaviour;
  • Perturbation

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