Large-scale solar power generation becomes feasible using concentrated solar power plants, as the received heat is collected at high temperatures compatible with power cycle operations. The main drawback of solar power generation is the intermittent nature of available solar irradiation, which results in a mismatch between collected heat and electrical demand. Thermal energy storage (TES) systems are the options to resolve this problem by storing excess heat during high solar irradiance and releasing at off-sun conditions. Thermochemical energy storage (TCES) systems have the potential to store the solar energy at high temperatures suitable for CSP plants’ operations because of the higher energy density of the TCES materials than those used for sensible and latent heat storage options. In TCES, the heat is stored in the form of thermo-chemical energy using an endothermic reaction and is released by carrying out the reverse exothermic reaction. TCES using cobalt oxide redox (reduction/oxidation) reaction is selected for this study because of its unique features suitable for high temperature thermal energy storage. A reactor with the cylindrical fixed bed is considered, in which air flows through the bed during charging and discharging modes. Air is used as heat transfer fluid (HTF) and as the reactant gas supplying oxygen. Transient mass and energy transport equations are solved along with reaction kinetics equations using finite element method. Charging and discharging processes are investigated. The effect of geometrical and operational parameters including the material properties on overall storage and retrieval process has been studied. It was shown that the bed porosity plays a dominant role in the reactor performance. The increase in the bed porosity improves the reactor performance for both charging and discharging mode.

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