Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy
The major challenge associated with renewable-energy systems especially solar, is the supply intermittency. One effective solution is to incorporate thermal energy storage components utilizing phase change materials (PCMs). These materials have the potential to store large amounts of energy in relatively small volumes and within nearly an isothermal storage process. The primary drawback of today’s PCMs is that their low thermal conductivity values critically limit their energy storage applications. Also, this grossly reduces the melting/ solidification rates, thus making the system response time to be too long. So, the application of heat transfer enhancement is very important. To improve the PCM storage performance, an efficient performing containment vessel (triplex-tube) along with applications of various heat transfer enhancement techniques was investigated. The techniques were; (i) dispersion of solid nanoparticles, (ii) incorporation of metal foam with nanoparticle dispersion, and (iii) insertion of longitudinal fins with nanoparticle dispersion. Validated simulation models were developed to examine the effects of implementing these techniques on the PCM phase-change rate during the energy storage and recovery modes. The results are presented with detailed model description, analysis, and conclusions. Results show that the use of nanoparticles with metal foam or fins is more efficient than using nanoparticles alone within the same volume usage. Also, employing metal foam or fins alone results in much better improvement for the same system volume.
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