HEAT STORAGE SYSTEM WITH PHASE CHANGE MATERIALS IN COGENERATION UNITS: STUDY OF PRELIMINARY MODEL
AbstractThe continuous increase in the mechanization of farm activities, the rise in fuel prices and the environmental aspects concerning gas emissions are the main driving forces behind efforts toward more effective use of renewable energy sources and cogeneration systems even in agricultural and cattle farms. Nevertheless these systems are still not very suitable for this purpose because of their little flexibility in following the changing energy demand as opposed to the extremely various farm load curves, both in daytime and during the year. In heat recovery systems, the available thermal energy supply is always linked to power production, thus it does not usually coincide in time with the heat demand. Hence some form of thermal energy storage (TES) is necessary in order to reach the most effective utilization of the energy source. This study deals with the modelling of a packed bed latent heat TES unit, integrating a cogeneration system made up of a reciprocating engine. The TES unit contains phase change materials (PCMs) filled in spherical capsules, which are packed in an insulated cylindrical storage tank. Water is used as heat transfer fluid (HTF) to transfer heat from the tank to the final uses, and exhausts from the engine are used as thermal source. PCMs are considered especially for their large heat storage capacity and their isothermal behaviour during the phase change processes. Despite their high energy storage density, most of them have an unacceptably low thermal conductivity, hence PCMs encapsulation technique is adopted in order to improve heat transfer. The special modular configuration of heat exchange tubes and the possibility of changing water flow through them allow to obtain the right amount of thermal energy from the tank, according to the hourly demand of the day. The model permits to choose the electrical load of the engine, the dimensions of the tank and the spheres, thickness and diameter of heat exchanger and the nature of PCMs. According to the energy loads of the farm, a daily thermal energy balance is obtained and charging and discharging cycles during the day are showed as solid/ liquid percentages of the PCM. As an example, load curves of a milk cattle farm (100 heads of cattle), were considered in two different conditions, such as in summer and winter seasons, and model functioning was detected in both of the cases. Different PCMs were investigated for this application and TES unit dimensions were consequently changed in order to achieve optimal operating conditions. Results are presented and technical and economical issues are discussed.
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Copyright (c) 2008 Claudio Caprara, Giovanni Stoppiello
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