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Experimental Investigation of A Latent Heat Storage for Solar Cooling Applications

The paper presents the realization and experimental characterization of a lab-scale latent heat storage, specifically developed for solar cooling applications. The latent heat storage is based on a compact fin-and-tube stainless steel heat exchanger (HEX) and a commercial paraffin blend, having a nominal melting temperature of 82 °C, suitable for solar cooling plants employing non-concentrating solar collectors technology. The realised heat storage has been experimentally characterised in lab, by means of a test rig able to simulate the working boundary conditions of a solar cooling plant. Charging and discharging tests have been performed both simulating a completed charge phase followed by a complete discharge phase, to analyse system efficiency and achievable energy storage density. Furthermore, dynamic tests, simulating short consecutive charge/discharge phases (with incomplete phase change), have been accomplished, to analyse the heat transfer efficiency inside the reactor. Main results confirmed that the heat storage density increases of about 50%, compared to sensible water storages. Satisfactory discharge efficiency, ranging between 45% and 60% has been obtained under analysed working conditions. Average discharging power between 0.7 and 1.2 kW has been measured, which confirms the necessity to further optimize the HEX efficiency as well as the thermal conductivity of the employed PCM.

 

This paper highlights application of the C-Therm TCi Thermal Conductivity Analyzer.

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