A review of solar thermal energy storage in beds of particles: Packed and fluidized beds

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This review summarizes different solar thermal energy storage techniques from a particle technology perspective, including sensible, latent and thermochemical techniques for low- and high-temperature applications that use particles as the storage medium in the thermal energy storage system. The focus is on applications, experimental results, modeling and future trends. This review describes two different particle technologies used to store thermal energy: packed and fluidized beds. The advantages and disadvantages of both technologies are reviewed throughout different studies found in the literature for various thermal energy storage systems. Packed beds have the main advantage of thermal stratification, which increases the efficiency of solar collectors in low-temperature sensible energy storage systems and augments the exergy content in the bed. Moreover, they have been proven to be suitable as dual-media thermocline storage systems for CSP plants. In contrast, the high mixing rates of fluidized beds makes them suitable for the rapid distribution of concentrated solar energy in particle receiver CSP systems. In addition, their high heat and mass transfer rates, compared with those of packed beds, make them the preferred particle technology for thermochemical energy storage applications. This review also notes that it is important to find new materials with an appropriate size and density that can be properly used in a fluidized bed. Additionally, more specific research efforts are necessary to improve the understanding of the behavior of these materials during the fluidization process and over a high number of charging/discharging cycles.
Energy storage, Fluidized beds, Packed beds, Thermal solar energy
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Almendros-Ibáñez, J.A, Fernández-Torrijos, M. Díaz-Heras, M., Belmonte, J. F., & Sobrino, C. (2019). A review of solar thermal energy storage in beds of particles: Packed and fluidized beds. Solar Energy, vol. 192, pp. 193-237.