What is it about?

This research presents a novel design for a latent heat thermal energy storage (LHTES) module that incorporates electrohydrodynamic (EHD) flow to enhance the charging process. Phase Change Material (PCM)-based LHTES systems are renowned for their high energy storage density and ability to operate at nearly constant temperatures. However, their widespread adoption is hindered by the low intrinsic thermal conductivity of common PCMs, which limits the rate of energy storage in LHTES units. Addressing this bottleneck, the study introduces charge injection-induced EHD flow as a method to augment the charging rate. Utilizing a numerical solver built on the finite-volume method within OpenFOAM, the research simulates the EHD-assisted melting process, analyzing the evolution of critical parameters like total liquid volume fraction, mean kinetic energy density, and mean temperature over time. By evaluating the performance across different charge injection regimes (weak, medium, and strong), the study illuminates how EHD flow enhances flow velocity, alters flow structures, and intensifies heat transfer, leading to a more uniform and expedited melting process. [Some of the content on this page has been created by AI]

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Why is it important?

Improving the efficiency of LHTES systems is crucial for advancing thermal energy storage technologies, especially in the context of renewable energy sources and thermal management applications. By integrating EHD flow into LHTES modules, this study addresses a significant challenge in thermal energy storage—enhancing the thermal conductivity of PCMs without compromising the system's simplicity and efficiency. The EHD approach not only promises to boost the energy storage rate significantly but also offers a scalable solution that could be applied across various LHTES configurations. Furthermore, the research provides comprehensive insights into the dynamics of EHD-assisted melting processes, contributing valuable knowledge to the field of thermal engineering. These insights can facilitate the development of more efficient LHTES units, potentially transforming energy storage strategies for applications ranging from industrial waste heat recovery to solar energy systems. The ability to store and release thermal energy more effectively can lead to substantial energy savings, reduced reliance on fossil fuels, and a lower environmental footprint, aligning with global sustainability goals. KEY TAKEAWAY: The study demonstrates that integrating EHD flow into LHTES modules significantly enhances charging efficiency by accelerating the melting process and improving heat transfer. This innovative approach offers a promising solution to the intrinsic thermal conductivity limitations of PCMs, marking a step forward in advancing thermal energy storage technologies.

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Electrohydrodynamic acceleration of charging process in a latent heat thermal energy storage module, Applied Thermal Engineering, April 2024, Elsevier,
DOI: 10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2024.122475.
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