The present study describes and classifies latent heat thermal energy storage (LHTES) systems according to their structural characteristics. A general model is developed for analyzing the thermal characteristics of the various typical LHTES systems to simulate thermal characteristics such as instantaneous heat transfer rate, instantaneous thermal storage capacity, etc. of the various typical LHTES systems. The model can calculate some important but difficult to measure system parameters for monitoring the charging or discharging processes of the systems. The model is verified using experimental data in the literature. Results from the model can be used to discuss the influence of the characteristic geometric parameters of LHTES units, the physical properties of the phase change material (PCM), the flow type and the velocity of heat transfer fluid (HTF) on the system thermal performance and to identify the key factors influencing the system thermal performance. The general model can be used to select and optimize the system structure and to simulate the thermal behavior of various typical LHTES systems.

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