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Influence of the storage period between charge and discharge in a latent heat thermal energy storage system working under partial load operating conditions

Gasia, Jaume, de Gracia, Alvaro, Zsembinszki, Gabriel, Cabeza, Luisa F.
Applied energy 2019 v.235 pp. 1389-1399
heat exchangers, heat transfer, homogenization, industrial wastes, latent heat, melting, polyethylene, solar energy, solidification, storage time, temperature, thermal energy
The supply intermittency of energy sources like solar energy or industrial waste heat should be properly addressed when studying latent heat thermal energy storage (TES) systems, since it might cause an incomplete melting/solidification of phase change materials (PCM). In the present paper, and experimental study was performed to analyse the storage period (also known as stand-by period) in a latent heat TES system working under partial load operating conditions and the effect of its duration on the subsequent discharging process. In the experimental set-up, 99.5 kg of high density polyethylene (HDPE) was used as PCM in a 0.154 m3 storage tank based on the shell-and-tube heat exchanger concept. Four different percentages of charge were evaluated: 58%, 73%, 83% (partial charge), and 97% (full charge). Each charging level was followed by three different periods of storage: 25 min, 60 min, and 120 min. The fact of working at different levels of charge caused that in some regions of the TES system the PCM was not completely melted. Thus, at the end of the charging process different levels of thermal homogenisation were observed. However, during the storage period, the PCM temperature showed a tendency to homogenisation, which was influenced by the energy distribution within the PCM, the heat losses, and the duration of the storage period. Focusing on the discharging period, it was observed that the duration of the storage period slightly affected the temperature and heat transfer profiles, causing the main differences of performance during the first 30 min of process.