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Thermal Stratification in Spherical Tanks

[+] Author Affiliations
Fahad Khan, Brian J. Savilonis

Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA

Paper No. ES2014-6429, pp. V001T02A017; 10 pages
  • ASME 2014 8th International Conference on Energy Sustainability collocated with the ASME 2014 12th International Conference on Fuel Cell Science, Engineering and Technology
  • Volume 1: Combined Energy Cycles, CHP, CCHP, and Smart Grids; Concentrating Solar Power, Solar Thermochemistry and Thermal Energy Storage; Geothermal, Ocean, and Emerging Energy Technologies; Hydrogen Energy Technologies; Low/Zero Emission Power Plants and Carbon Sequestration; Photovoltaics; Wind Energy Systems and Technologies
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA, June 30–July 2, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Advanced Energy Systems Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4586-8
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


Spherical tanks have the potential for cost reduction in sensible thermal energy storage (TES) systems, by using less tank building material and insulation.

The current CFD study compares the Thermal Efficiency (TE) of a thermocline storage system in a spherical tank to a cylindrical tank of the same volume. A parametric study is then performed on a spherical tank during the discharge process to determine the flow parameters that govern the thermocline formation and entrainment. The following parameters are used: tank diameter to inlet diameter ratio D/d = 10, inlet velocity (0.02–0.1 m/s), and ΔT (10–70° C), leading to an inlet Froude number (0.4–3), inlet Reynolds number (500–7500), and tank Richardson number (2–100).

The results show a significant correlation between the inlet Reynolds and inlet Froude numbers, and the tank TE, in addition to a weak correlation between the tank Richardson number, based on the tank diameter, and the tank TE. The parametric study also shows a maximum tank TE at a Froude number equal to 0.5, and a proportional decrease of TE as the Reynolds number increases.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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