Research Papers

Numerical Modeling of a Novel Thermocline Thermal Storage for Concentrated Solar Power

[+] Author and Article Information
M. Capocelli

Faculty of Engineering,
University Campus Bio-Medico,
Via Alvaro del Portillo, 21,
00128 Roma, Italy
e-mail: m.capocelli@unicampus.it

G. Caputo

Department of Energy Technologies,
ENEA Casaccia Research Centre,
Via Anguillarese 301, 00123 Rome, Italy
e-mail: giampaolo.caputo@enea.it

M. De Falco

Faculty of Engineering,
University Campus Bio-Medico,
Via Alvaro del Portillo, 21,
00128 Roma, Italy
e-mail: m.defalco@unicampus.it

I. Balog

Department of Energy Technologies,
ENEA Casaccia Research Centre,
Via Anguillarese 301, 00123 Rome, Italy
e-mail: irena.balog@enea.it

V. Piemonte

Faculty of Engineering,
University Campus Bio-Medico,
Via Alvaro del Portillo, 21,
00128 Roma, Italy
e-mail: v.piemonte@unicampus.it

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Solar Energy Division of ASME for publication in the Journal of Solar Energy Engineering. Manuscript received September 7, 2018; final manuscript received February 11, 2019; published online March 19, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Robert F. Boehm.

J. Sol. Energy Eng 141(5), 051001 (Mar 19, 2019) (8 pages) Paper No: SOL-18-1421; doi: 10.1115/1.4043082 History: Received September 07, 2018; Accepted February 18, 2019

This paper presents the modeling theory and results of an innovative thermal energy storage (TES) facility, ideated, realized, and tested by ENEA (Italy). This prototype enabled the thermocline storage with molten salts in a novel geometry ideated for small-medium scale decentralized solutions, which includes two vertical channels to force the circulation through two heat exchangers, respectively, and realized for charging and discharging phases (in a single tank). A thermophysical model was built and tested properly for this particular geometry in order to analyze the temperature distribution along the radius. The numerical results well reproduced the experimental values. Furthermore, the analytical solution provided a short-cut methodology able to evaluate the thermocline distribution (along the vertical axis) depending on both the time and the radius values. Hence, the influence of the radial position (r) on the thermocline degradation was studied finding that, at the edges (r → 1), the thermocline remains unchanged for longer (around ten times more) than at the center of the tank (r → 0). The obtained numerical modeling and the analytical correlation can be useful for the process analysis to scale-up the thermal storage system and to evaluate the system reliability for industrial plants.

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IEA-ETSAP and IRENA © Technology Brief E10— Jan. 2013, www.etsap.org www.irena.orgIrena
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Fig. 1

CSP plant configuration with a molten salt thermocline storage system object of the STS MED [31]

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Fig. 2

(a) Photography of the pilot plant apparatus, (b) schematic with MS circulation and stratification inside the TES, and (c) picture of the spiral heat exchangers

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Fig. 3

P&I of the discharging circuit of the experimental apparatus. Prototype realized by ENEA.

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Fig. 4

Schematic of the computational domain: discharge phase application

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Fig. 5

Comparison of the modeling results with the average experimental tests during the discharge phase (experimental conditions: Pet = 1000, α = 0.069)

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Fig. 6

2D plot of the thermocline temperature profile versus radius (r/R) and vertical axis (z/L) at different nondimensional times: (a) τ = 0.2, (b) τ = 0.4, (c) τ = 0.6, (d) τ = 1. Pet = 1000, α = 0.069.

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Fig. 7

S values versus r/R and z/L. Pet = 1000, α = 0.069.

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Fig. 8

S versus zc. Pet = 1000, α = 0.069.



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