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Optimisation of A Phase Change Thermal Storage System

Authors: Nasrul Amri Mohd Amin, Martin Belusko, Frank Bruno


PCMs have always been viewed as a suitable candidate for off peak thermal storage, particularly for refrigeration systems, due to the high latent energy densities of these materials. However, due to the need to have them encapsulated within a container this density is reduced. Furthermore, PCMs have a low thermal conductivity which reduces the useful amount of energy which can be stored. To consider these factors, the true energy storage density of a PCM system was proposed and optimised for PCMs encapsulated in slabs. Using a validated numerical model of the system, a parametric study was undertaken to investigate the impact of the slab thickness, gap between slabs and the mass flow rate. The study showed that, when optimised, a PCM system can deliver a true energy storage density between 53% and 83% of the latent energy density of the PCM.

Keywords: Phase change material, refrigeration, sustainability, thermal energy storage.

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