Latent Heat Energy Storage (LHES) using Phase Change Materials (PCM) is considered a promising Thermal Energy Storage (TES) approach as it can allow for high levels of compactness, and execution of the charging and discharging processes at defined, constant temperature levels. These inherent characteristics make LHES particularly attractive for applications that profit from high energy density or precise temperature control. Many novel, promising heat exchanger designs and concepts have emerged as a way to circumvent heat transfer limitations of LHES. However, the extensive range of experimental conditions used to characterize these technologies in literature make it difficult to directly compare them as solutions for high thermal power applications. A methodology is presented that aims to enable the comparison of LHES designs with respect to their compactness and heat transfer performance even when largely disparate experimental data are available in literature. Thus, a pair of key performance indicators (KPI),
representing the compactness degree and NHTPC, the normalized heat transfer performance coefficient, are defined, which are minimally influenced by the utilized experimental conditions. The evaluation procedure is presented and applied on various LHES designs. The most promising designs are identified and discussed. The proposed evaluation method is expected to open new paths in the community of LHES research by allowing the leveled-ground contrast of technologies among different studies, and facilitating the evaluation and selection of the most suitable design for a specific application.
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