The increase of carbon dioxide emissions is the most important contributor to climate change. A better use of produced energy, increasing systems efficiency and using renewable sources, can limit them. A key technological issue is to integrate a thermal energy storage (TES). It consists in stocking thermal energy through the heating/cooling of a storage material for future needs. Among various technologies, latent heat TES (LHTES) provides high energy storage density at constant temperature during melting/solidification of storage media. The bottleneck in the use of typical PCMs is their low thermal conductivity. To improve the heat exchange between heat transfer fluid and PCM, three methods are possible and here experimentally analyzed: conductivity systems enhancements; convective flows promotion in liquid phase; and improvement of PCM thermal properties including small amounts of nanoparticles. CFD models were used to evaluate physical phenomena that are crucial for optimized LHTES systems design. The study of the heat exchange mode allowed some useful indications to achieve an optimized LHTES, taking advantage by convective flows and conductivity promotion systems. The use of NEPCM, to maximize the stored energy density and realize compact systems, makes necessary the improvement of its thermal diffusivity. These will be the future research topics.
Part of the book: Advancements in Energy Storage Technologies