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Steam-based charging-discharging of a PCM heat storage

Asfafaw H. Tesfay
Mulu B. Kahsay
Ole J. Nydal


Latent heat storage and efficient heat transport technology helps to utilize the intermittent solar energy for continuous and near isothermal  applications. However, many latent heat storages face challenges of storage charging, heat retaining, and discharging the stored heat. This paper tries to address the challenges of heat transportation and storage charging-discharging issues. The heat transportation from the receiver over some distance, from outside to the kitchen, is carried out with a stainless pipeline and water as heat transfer fluids. However, the  charging-discharging process is carried by conduction method with the help of fins. In addition, the stored heat is retained for about one-two days by using aerogel insulation. The latent heat is stored in a phase change material (PCM), nitrate salt (mixture of 60% NaNO3 and 40% KNO3), which melts at 222ºC and has 109 J/g specific heat of fusion. The storage has the capacity of storing up to 250ºC heat and supply this heat isothermally during baking in the liquid-solid phase transition. However, the sensible heat stored in the solid and liquid form of the PCM is used to perform additional applications that do not require uniform heat which includes bread baking, kita (large pancake) baking and water boiling. The low thermal conductivity of PCM is enhanced by using extended aluminum fins that are attached to the baking plate and extruded inward to the storage. In this paper, two-phase loop thermosyphon of steam is used to manage the long distance heat transportation required between the receiver (outside) and the storage (inside a house). The steam in the thermosyphon flow has restricted to a maximum working temperature of 250ºC. Steam is selected for its highest heat capacity, availability and stable nature. It carries heat from the collector focus point and condenses in a coiled pipe imbedded in aluminum plate placed on top of the storage. Many fins are solidly attached to this plate to conduct the heat down to the PCM inside the storage during charging. This design configuration avoids pressure development inside the PCM storage and the charging-discharging temperature is recorded in three zones (top, middle and bottom) of the storage. The experimental and numerical results show that the heat transportation, retention and charging-discharging methods are effective.

Keywords: Solar energy, PCM storage, Latent heat storage, Two-phase thermosyphon.

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eISSN: 2220-184X
print ISSN: 2073-073X