Comparative study of different numerical models of packed bed thermal energy storage systems
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This paper presents, compares and validates two different mathematical models of packed bed storage with PCM, more specifically the heat transfer during charge of the PCM. The first numerical model is a continuous model based on the Brinkman equation and the second numerical model treats the PCM capsules as individual particles (energy equation model). Using the Brinkman model the flow field inside the porous media and the heat transfer mechanisms present in the packed bed systems can be described. On the other hand, using the energy equation model the temperature gradient inside the PCM capsules can be analysed. Both models are validated with experimental data generated by the authors. The experimental set up consists mainly of a cylindrical storage tank with a capacity of 3.73 L full of spherically encapsulated PCM. The PCM used has a storage capacity of 175 kJ/kg between 2e13 C. The results from the energy equation model show a basic understanding of cold charging. Moreover, three different Nu correlations found in the literature were analysed and compared. All of them showed the same temperature profile of the PCM capsules; hence any of them could be used in future models. The comparison between both mathematical models indicated that free convection is not as important as forced convection in the studied case.