In this paper, a numerical investigation on Latent Heat Thermal Energy Storage System (LHTESS) based on a phase change material (PCM) is accomplished. The geometry of the system under investigation is a vertical shell and tube LHTES made with two concentric aluminum tubes. The internal surface of the hollow cylinder is assumed at a constant temperature above the melting temperature of the PCM to simulate the heat transfer from a hot fluid. The other external surfaces are assumed adiabatic. The phase change of the PCM is modeled with the enthalpy porosity theory while the metal foam is considered as a porous media that obeys to the Darcy-Forchheimer law. The momentum equations are modified by adding of suitable source term which it allows to model the solid phase of PCM and natural convection in the liquid phase of PCM. Both local thermal equilibrium (LTE) and local thermal non-equilibrium (LTNE) models are examined. Results as a function of time for the charging phase are carried out for different porosities and assigned pore per inch (PPI).
The results show that at high porosity the LTE and LTNE models have the same melting time while at low porosity the LTNE has a larger melting time. Moreover, the presence of metal foam improves significantly the heat transfer in the LHTES giving a very faster phase change process with respect to pure PCM, reducing the melting time more than one order of magnitude.