Experimental analysis of a latent thermal energy storage system enhanced with metal foam
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Worldwide, the energy consumption of refrigeration systems increased by 50% in the last 20 years. Currently, active refrigeration systems are often used to maintain cold chains in industry. However, there are remarkable drawbacks in the operation of active systems such as susceptibility to blackouts in the power supply and vibrations during their operation. Therefore, to overcome the aforementioned problems, passive cold chain transport using latent thermal energy storage systems arose as a potential solution. However, these systems require long charging times due to the low thermal conductivity of most phase change materials. In that sense, this paper presents a novel design of a cold storage battery with metal foam enhanced phase change material. The peak efflux of energy and solidification time of the battery is correlated as a function of the inlet temperature and mass flow rate of the heat transfer fluid with a root mean square deviation of 11.4%. The solidification time prediction allows determining the geometry which results in the maximum efflux of energy density for a given energy density. Moreover, the cold battery is placed in an insulated container to analyse its performance during transport. Results show that the tested refrigeration battery can act as a standalone refrigeration system during 15 h. However, improvements in the design of the insulated container are suggested to increase the performance of the system along the discharging cycle.