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Temperature-Staged Thermal Energy Storage Enabling Low Thermal Exergy Loss Reflux Boiling in Full Spectrum Solar Systems

[+] Author Affiliations
Terry J. Hendricks, Bill J. Nesmith, Jonathan Grandidier

California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA

Paper No. IMECE2016-67013, pp. V06BT08A031; 11 pages
  • ASME 2016 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 6B: Energy
  • Phoenix, Arizona, USA, November 11–17, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5059-6
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME


Hybrid full spectrum solar systems (FSSS) designed to capture and convert the full solar wavelength spectrum use hybrid solar photovoltaic/thermodynamic cycles that require low thermal exergy loss systems capable of transferring high thermal energy rates and fluxes with very low temperature differentials and losses. One approach to achieving this capability are high-heat-flux reflux boiling systems that take advantage of high heat transfer boiling and condensation mechanisms. Advanced solar systems are also intermittent by their nature and their electrical generation is often out-of-phase with electric utility power demand, and their required power system cycling reduces efficiency, performance (dispatchability), lifetime, and reliability. High temperature thermal energy storage (TES) at 300–600°C enables these reflux boiling systems to simultaneously store thermal energy internally to increase the energy dispatchability of the associated solar system, as this can increase the power generation profile by several hours (up to 6–10 hours) per day. Many TES phase change materials (PCM’s) exist including KNO3, NaNO3, LiBr/KBr, MgCl2/NaCl/KCl, Zn/Mg, and CuCl/NaCl, which have various operating melting points and different latent heats of fusion. Common, cost effective TES PCM’s are FeCl2/NaCl/KCl mixtures, whose phase change temperature can be varied and controlled by simple composition adjustments. This paper presents and discusses unique “temperature-staged” thermal energy storage configurations using these TES materials and analysis of such systems integrated into high-heat-flux reflux boiling systems. In this specific application, the TES materials are designed to operate at staged temperatures surrounding an operating design point near 350°C, while providing 18 kW of source heat transfer to operate a thermoacoustic power system during off-sun conditions (e.g., temporary cloud conditions, after sun-down). This work discusses relevant configurations, and critical thermal and entropy models of the TES configurations, which show the inherent minimization of thermal exergy during critical heat transfers within the configurations and systems envisioned.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME



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