System efficiency of packed bed TES with radial flow vs. axial flow – Influence of aspect ratio
Skuntz, Matthew E.
Azawii, Mohammad Al
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This paper compares the net system efficiency, including thermal efficiency and pressure drop effects, of radial versus axial flow packed beds for thermal energy storage. The traditional packed bed system is a cylindrical geometry where fluid flows axially from one end to another. However, issues of thermal stratification and high-pressure drop have led to recent studies on radial flow systems. One potential benefit is the reduced pressure drop in a radial flow system. This paper compares the performance of radial flow and axial flow systems at a range of aspect ratios (AR = H/Dbed) from 0.21 to 1.92 using a numerical model where the storage volume is held constant in all cases. When the radial flow bed is at a low aspect ratio (short/wide), the thermal front is improved but the pressure drop is high. At a high aspect ratio, the velocity is reduced in radial flow, leading to decreased pressure drop but an increased spreads in the thermal front that lowers thermal efficiency. The opposite trends are noted in axial flow. Thermal efficiencies of 83–91 % were noted for radial flow, while they ranged from 85 to 94 % in axial flow. Net efficiencies including pressure drop ranged from 74 to 82 % for radial flow and 80–87 % for axial flow. In both systems, a peak net efficiency was noted between the highest and lowest aspect ratio. While some aspect ratios with radial flow outperform axial flow from a net efficiency perspective, the results show that the highest net efficiency from axial flow is higher than that from radial flow. Overall, this paper highlights the importance of innovative TES designs and their potential to improve energy efficiency.
© This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Skuntz, M. E., Elander, R., Al Azawii, M., Bueno, P., & Anderson, R. (2023). System efficiency of packed bed TES with radial flow vs. axial flow–Influence of aspect ratio. Journal of Energy Storage, 72, 108463.