Thermodynamic Optimization of Phase-Change Energy Storage Using Two or More Materials

[+] Author and Article Information
J. S. Lim, A. Bejan

Department of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science, Duke University, Durham, NC 27706

J. H. Kim

Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, CA 94303

J. Energy Resour. Technol 114(1), 84-90 (Mar 01, 1992) (7 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2905925 History: Received March 05, 1991; Revised August 26, 1991; Online April 16, 2008


This paper documents the relative merits of using more than one type of phase-change material for energy storage. In the case of two phase-change systems in series, which are melted by the same stream of hot fluid, there exists an optimal melting point for each of the two materials. The first (upstream) system has the higher of the two melting points. The second part of the paper addresses the theoretical limit in which the melting point can vary continuously along the source stream, i.e., when an infinite number of different (and small) phase-change systems are being heated in series. It is shown that the performance of this scheme is equivalent to that which uses an optimum single phase-change material, in which the hot stream remains unmixed during the melting process. The time dependence, finite thickness and longitudinal variation of the melt layer caused by an unmixed stream are considered in the third part of the paper. It is shown that these features have a negligible effect on the optimal melting temperature, which is slightly higher than (T∞ T e )1/2 .

Copyright © 1992 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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