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Current TES technologies use sensible or latent heat storage systems. In latent heat based systems typically a phase change material (PCM) is used and the heat is stored during melting of the PCM and recovered during its freezing. Typically, salts with appropriate melting temperatures and high heat of fusion are used as PCMs. One of the drawbacks with the PCM salts is that they are poor thermal conductors, therefore, require extremely long times to completely melt or freeze for grid scale TES systems.
Argonne has developed a latent heat based thermal energy storage (LHTES) system that utilizes high conductivity graphite foam to enhance the thermal performance of the PCM. For laboratory-scale tests, magnesium chloride (MgCl2) PCM was infiltrated into the pores of the graphite foam to form a composite storage media. Using 3D thermal modeling and prototype testing, thermal performance of the LHTES has been demonstrated.
Innovation and Results
- Development of the LHTES system required process innovations such as infiltration of PCM in graphite foam, integration/joining of components, and controls for corrosion mitigation.
- The thermal performance of TES system is 20 times better than that of currently available salt PCM systems. This performance advantage is key to the system’s rapid charging/discharging results.
- Using the laboratory test data prediction of full-scale TES system shows it meets the SunShot Initiative’s performance targets.
- Argonne’s system can realize exergetic and energetic efficiencies greater than 95% with full utilization of the PCM for the target charging/discharging times of 8 hours.
- Argonne’s LHTES system platform can be tuned to any other temperature range of operation by selecting an appropriate PCM. The current system charges/discharges at ~700°C.
- The LHTES system can be used as a single tank or as a modular storage system. Leads to reduction in overall capital costs as compared to current TES systems.
- Modular design of Argonne’s LHTES system means it is easy to service the TES system installation, and individual modules may be replaced/repaired without shutting down the entire storage system.
Publications, Patents, and Awards
- Singh, Dileep, et al. "Development of graphite foam infiltrated with MgCl 2 for a latent heat based thermal energy storage (LHTES) system." Renewable Energy 94 (2016): 660-667. doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2016.03.090
- Kim, Taeil, et al. "An investigation on the effects of phase change material on material components used for high temperature thermal energy storage system." SOLARPACES 2015: International Conference on Concentrating Solar Power and Chemical Energy Systems. Vol. 1734. No. 1. AIP Publishing, 2016. doi: 10.1063/1.4949121
- Singh, Dileep, et al. "Analysis of a graphite foam–NaCl latent heat storage system for supercritical CO2 power cycles for concentrated solar power." Solar Energy 118 (2015): 232-242. doi: 10.1016/j.solener.2015.05.016
- Kim, T., D. Singh, and M. Singh. "Enhancement of oxidation resistance of graphite foams by polymer derived-silicon carbide coating for concentrated solar power applications." Energy Procedia 69 (2015): 900-906. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2015.03.170
- Kim, Taeil, Dileep Singh, and Mrityunjay Singh. "Enhancement of oxidation resistance of graphite foams by SiC coating for concentrated solar power applications." Mechanical Properties and Performance of Engineering Ceramics and Composites IX (2014): 161-175. DOI: 10.1002/9781119031192.ch16
- Kim, Taeil, et al. "Heat transfer analysis of a latent heat thermal energy storage system using graphite foam for concentrated solar power." Solar Energy 103 (2014): 438-447. doi: 10.1016/j.solener.2014.02.038
- Zhao, Weihuan, et al. "Phase change material with graphite foam for applications in high-temperature latent heat storage systems of concentrated solar power plants." Renewable Energy 69 (2014): 134-146. doi: 10.1016/j.renene.2014.03.031
- Gyekenyesi, Andrew, and Adam C. Wroblewski. "Numerical Study of a Thermal Energy Storage Device Utilizing Graphite Foam Infiltrated with a Phase Change Material." Journal of materials engineering and performance23.2 (2014): 378-383. DOI: 10.1007/s11665-013-0773-y