In the current renewable energy dominated power system, as power production is becoming more and more unpredictable, it would be important to act at two levels: integrating relevant power/energy capacity of energy storage and making demand more controllable. At this purpose, acting on industrial energy demand via integration of energy storage and electrification of local processes, could provide a significant contribution. At the same time, waste heat recovery (WHR) is quite a consolidated industrial practise. Nevertheless, WH valorisation is usually performed via bottoming cycles, such as steam, ORC or supercritical CO2 (sCO2) power cycles. The development of thermo-mechanical storages to be installed at industrial level, can contribute in this direction through the use of traditional technologies (rotating machinery) employed in power plants as well as in Waste-heat-to-power (WH2P) plants.

This paper presents a thermo-economic analysis of Pumped Thermal Energy Storages (PTES) for sCO2 cycles, comparing market available thermal energy storage materials for different temperature range of operation. The proposed system is purposefully designed to exploit the waste heat sources for the temperature ranges of 150–400°C, difficult to exploit for WH2P solutions and rarely addressed in literature so far. The use of sCO2 enhances the techno-economic features of these systems, the independent charging and discharging system proposed in this study can also provide a keen sense of flexibility especially for the upscaling of a PTES plant to reach an equal grid flexibility power for charging and discharging. At the same time, the valorisation of low temperature waste heat enables industries to enhance their energy efficiency, limit their operational costs and environmental impact, whilst becoming an active part in the regulation of the grid. At this purpose optimal system configurations and dispatch strategies are identified based on typical load curves of specific EU markets.

Starting from an identified reference case (a cement production plant with WH temperature to be valorized around 330°C), different PTES cycle layouts and TES technological solutions are compared on a techno-economic basis. The waste heat integration to the PTES system has been found to add satisfactory value in terms of RTE. On the other hand, it proves to be an optimal use case of waste heat valorisation than traditional waste heat to power cycles when compared in terms of exergy, capital cost and dispatchability in ever increasing RES penetration scenarios. The identification of the most optimal TES however is driven by economic factors too as presented in CAPEX and dispatchability analysis.

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