Currently, concentrated solar power (CSP) plants utilize thermal energy storage (TES) in order to store excess energy so that it can later be dispatched during periods of intermittency or during times of high energy demand. Elemental sulfur is a promising candidate storage fluid for high temperature TES systems due to its high thermal mass, moderate vapor pressure, high thermal stability, and low cost. The objective of this paper is to investigate the behavior of encapsulated sulfur in a shell and tube configuration. An experimentally validated, transient, two-dimensional numerical model of the shell and tube TES system is presented. Initial results from both experimental and numerical analysis show high heat transfer performance of sulfur. The numerical model is then used to analyze the dynamic response of the elemental sulfur based TES system for multiple charging and discharging cycles. A sensitivity analysis is performed to analyze the effect of geometry (system length), cutoff temperature, and heat transfer fluid on the overall utilization of energy stored within this system. Overall, this paper demonstrates a systematic parametric study of a novel low cost, high performance TES system based on elemental sulfur as the storage fluid that can be utilized for different high temperature applications.

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