Performance Improvement from Single to Multi Latent Thermal Energy Storage System combined Water Heater

In numerous energy systems there are discrepancies between the energy supply and demand. One such system is domestic water heater. The hot water heater is a sensible heat storage where the thermal energy is stored through change in temperature. The sensible heat storage has the disadvantage of high losses and low energy density.

An alternative to the sensible heat storage is the latent heat storage. The latent heat storage stores energy through phase change and exhibits high energy density. This method of storing energy is consequently more compact.

Furthermore the latent heat storage can be charged during off peak hour and discharged when peaks arise at almost constant temperature level. A material that is commonly used in latent heat storages is phase change material (PCM). These have refined properties for the purpose of storing energy at phase changes.

The aim of the study in this report was to present a theoretical solution for a PCM thermal energy storage (TES) combined water heater for domestic water use in single-family households. This was done through a model in COMSOL Multiphysics analysing a PCM TES heat exchanger.

The study moreover aimed to compare and evaluate various authentic PCM TES whit respect to numbers of PCMs and their phase change temperature. The focus laid on comparing single PCM TES to multi PCM TES. A PCM TES was to be suggested for the system defined

A numerical simulation was performed from a previously built model. A user profile of hot water in single-family households was derived from the Swedish Energy Agency. The profile was divided up into two main areas, off peak and on peak. During off peak the PCM TES was melted and thereby charged and during the peak the PCM was solidified, discharged.

Four cases for charging and discharging was studied. Two of each case had the properties of multi PCM TES and two of single PCM TES. Furthermore, two of the cases had PCMs with phase change temperatures in the range of 42-60°C and the other two in the range of 35-55°C.

The result of the study shows that a multi PCM TES with a high phase change temperature was preferable for the application studied. The capacity and power rate performance improvement from single to multi PCM TES during the discharging cycle reached up to 1,44% and 8,62% respectively.
Source: KTH
Author: Lindberg, Fanny

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