Recently, Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) is attracting more research attentions because it can store the excessive heat from the solar field and extend the power generation at night, CSP can also levelized the mismatch between energy demand and supply. To make CSP technology competitive, thermal energy storage (TES) system filled with energy storage media is a critical component in all CSP plant.
TES system can be operated by using sensible materials, phase change materials (PCMs) or a combination of both. Because the phase change materials can store more heat due to the latent during the melting/freezing process, it becomes promising to use PCM in latent heat thermal energy storage (LHTES) system for large scale CSP application. Unfortunately, LHSS has relatively low energy storage efficiency compared to SHSS alone because of the fact that LHSS has more parameters to be controlled and optimized.
To realize a complete utilization of PCM and a high energy storage/extraction efficiency and a high exergetic efficiency, one approach is to adopt a cascade configuration of multiple PCMs modules in TES tank, which can also be called as a cascade latent heat thermal energy storage (CLHTES) system. The melting temperatures of the PCMs placed in the TES tank should be cascaded from low to high temperature, where the latent heat of PCM can completely be used to absorb the heat from the solar field for energy storage purpose.
Due to the complexity of a CLHTES system, it is necessary to provide a comprehensive study from the heat transfer perspective. This paper presents a preliminary parametric study of CLHTES system using a previously developed enthalpy-based 1D transient model for energy storage/extraction in CLHTES system. The effects of material properties (such as latent heat, specific heat at solid and liquid phase) and CSP plant operation conditions (such as charging/discharging time period) are to be explored. The results from the preliminary parametric study is expected to be beneficial to the community of solar thermal engineering.