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Energies 2016, 9(9), 758; doi:10.3390/en9090758

Experimental and Numerical Research Activity on a Packed Bed TES System

Department of Mechanical, Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Cagliari, Via Marengo, 2, Cagliari 09123, Italy
Solar Concentration Technologies and Hydrogen from RES Laboratory, Sardegna Ricerche—Z.I. Macchiareddu, Uta (CA) 09010, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Francesco Asdrubali
Received: 11 July 2016 / Revised: 6 September 2016 / Accepted: 8 September 2016 / Published: 20 September 2016
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This paper presents the results of experimental and numerical research activities on a packed bed sensible thermal energy storage (TES) system. The TES consists of a cylindrical steel tank filled with small alumina beads and crossed by air used as the heat transfer fluid. Experimental tests were carried out while varying some operating parameters such as the mass flow rate, the inlet–outlet temperature thresholds and the aspect ratio (length over diameter). Numerical simulations were carried out using a one-dimensional model, specifically developed in the Matlab-Simulink environment and a 2D axisymmetric model based on the ANSYS-Fluent platform. Both models are based on a two-equation transient approach to calculate fluid and solid phase temperatures. Thermodynamic properties were considered to be temperature-dependent and, in the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model, variable porosity of the bed in the radial direction, thermal losses and the effective conductivity of the alumina beads were also considered. The simulation results of both models were compared to the experimental ones, showing good agreement. The one-dimensional model has the advantage of predicting the axial temperature distribution with a very low computational cost, but it does not allow calculation of the correct energy stored when the temperature distribution is strongly influenced by the wall. To overcome this problem a 2D CFD model was used in this work. View Full-Text
Keywords: thermal energy storage; packed beds; porous media; thermocline; Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD); numerical simulation thermal energy storage; packed beds; porous media; thermocline; Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD); numerical simulation

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Cascetta, M.; Serra, F.; Arena, S.; Casti, E.; Cau, G.; Puddu, P. Experimental and Numerical Research Activity on a Packed Bed TES System. Energies 2016, 9, 758.

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