Intermittency of sustainable energy or waste heat availability calls for energy storage systems such as thermal batteries. Thermo-chemical batteries are particularly appealing for energy storage applications due to their high energy densities and ability to store thermal energy as chemical energy for long periods of time without any energy loss. Thermo-chemical batteries based on a reversible solid-gas (MgCl2 - NH3) reactions and NH3 liquid-gas phase change are of specific interest since the kinetics of absorption are fast and the heat transfer rates for liquid — vapor phase change are high. Thus, a thermo-chemical battery based on reversible reaction between magnesium chloride and ammonia was studied.
Experimental studies were conducted on a reactor in which temperature profiles within the solid matrix and pressure and flow rates of gas were obtained during charging processes. A numerical model based on heat and mass transfer within the salt and salt-gas reactions was developed to simulate the absorption processes within the solid matrix and the results were compared with experimental data. The studies were used to determine dominant heat and mass transfer processes within the salt.
It is shown that for high permeability materials, heat transfer is the dominant factor in determining reaction rates. However increasing thermal conductivity might decrease permeability and reduce reaction rates. The effect of constraining mass flow rate on the temperature and reaction propagation is also studied. These results show that optimized heat and mass transfer within the solid-gas reactor will lead to improved performance for heating and air conditioning applications.