Inaugural US-EU-China Thermophysics Conference-Renewable Energy 2009 (UECTC 2009 Proceedings)
41 Optimization of Film Condensation Driven Thermal Energy Storage Containers
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This paper focuses on the thermal transport phenomena in renewable thermal energy systems as in solar and geothermal based systems. The key focus is on numerically analyzing the coupled problem of vapor condensing on phase change material (PCM) storage containers in thermal based renewable energy systems. Since most solid-liquid phase materials suffer from poor thermal conductivities, the major resistance to heat transfer comes from PCM. Hence, high thermal conductivity, low-cost metal foam is suggested for use along with PCM to minimize this resistance. The conjugate problem of film condensation driven solid-liquid phase change of enclosed PCM inside metal foam is numerically analyzed. An effective heat capacity formulation is employed for modeling the PCM phase change problem in metal foam and is solved using finite element method. It is coupled with laminar film condensation on the outside of the container. The results of the developed model showed that the major resistance to heat transfer and hence efficient thermal energy storage (TES) depends strongly on the aspect ratio of the PCM containers for a chosen condensate and foam material.