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[en] Energy storage must play a crucial role in the widespread adoption of renewable energy sources because they are intermittent. In addition, energy storage is also important in matching the electrical power load with the generation capacity to improve the overall power plant efficiency. This point has been recognized in the recent California state mandate for the electrical utility companies to have energy storage at each power plant in order to utilize their generation capacity more efficiently. While electrochemical energy storage is still very expensive, thermal energy storage can be cost effective even at the present commercial development level, especially for solar CSP plants and conventional thermal power plants. Use of phase change materials for thermal energy storage can increase the storage density, reduce the size and therefore reduce the costs even further. However, it presents certain challenges in terms of poor heat transfer and material compatibility issues. This presentation will describe how these challenges have been overcome by innovative and transformative solutions to develop thermal energy storage using phase change materials at a system cost of less than $15/kWhth as compared to the present commercial thermal energy costs of more than $30/kWhth. (author)
[en] Achieving the goals of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Sunshot initiative requires (1) higher operating temperatures for concentrating solar power (CSP) plants to increase theoretical efficiency, and (2) effective thermal energy storage (TES) strategies to ensure dispatchability. Current inorganic salt-based TES systems in large-scale CSP plants generally employ molten nitrate salts for energy storage, but nitrate salts are limited in application to lower temperatures—generally, below 600 °C. These materials are sufficient for parabolic trough power plants, but they are inadequate for use at higher temperatures. At the higher operating temperatures achievable in solar power tower-type CSP plants, chloride salts are promising candidates for application as TES materials, owing to their thermal stability and generally lower cost compared to nitrate salts. In light of this, a recent study was conducted, which included a preliminary survey of chloride salts and binary eutectic systems that show promise as high temperature TES media. This study provided some basic information about the salts, including phase equilibria data and estimates of latent heat of fusion for some of the eutectics. Cost estimates were obtained through a review of bulk pricing for the pure salts among various vendors. This review paper updates that prior study, adding data for additional salt eutectic systems obtained from the literature. Where possible, data are obtained from the thermodynamic database software, FactSage. Radiative properties are presented, as well, since at higher temperatures, thermal radiation becomes a significant mode of heat transfer. Material compatibility for inorganic salts is another important consideration (e.g., with regard to piping and/or containment), so a summary of corrosion studies with various materials is also presented. Lastly, cost data for these systems are presented, allowing for meaningful comparison among these systems and other materials for TES applications. Because chloride salts may be employed as either sensible heat storage in the molten phase or as sensible and latent heat thermal energy storage (LHTES) as phase change materials (PCMs), cost of the candidate salt systems are presented on a cost per unit mass basis (sensible heat storage application) and a cost per unit latent heat of fusion basis (latent heat storage application). A total of 133 chloride salt systems were investigated.
[en] Well-aligned native zinc oxide (ZnO) and silver-doped ZnO (Ag-ZnO) films were deposited on borosilicate glass via a simple, low-cost, low-temperature, scalable hydrothermal process. The as-synthesized ZnO and Ag-ZnO films were characterized by X-ray diffraction; scanning electron microscopy, UV–visible spectroscopy, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. A simple photolytic reactor was fabricated and later used to find the optimum experimental conditions for photocatalytic performance. The photodegradation of methyl orange in water was investigated using as-prepared ZnO and Ag-ZnO nanowires, and was compared to P25 (a commercial photocatalyst) in both visible and UV radiations. The P25 and Ag-ZnO showed a similar photodegradation performance under UV light, but Ag-ZnO demonstrated superior photocatalytic activity under visible irradiation. The optimized doping of Ag in Ag-ZnO enhanced photocatalytic activity in a simple reactor design and indicated potential applicability of Ag-ZnO for large-scale purification of water under solar irradiation. - Highlights: • Well-aligned zinc oxide (ZnO) and silver-doped ZnO (Ag-ZnO) nanowires were developed. • Simple and effective photolytic reactor was fabricated for water purification. • Ag-ZnO demonstrated superior photocatalytic activity under visible irradiation. • Amount of Ag atoms in Ag-ZnO nanowires is a key to increase photocatalytic activity
[en] Development of innovative thermodynamic cycles is important for the efficient utilization of low-temperature heat sources such as solar, geothermal and waste heat sources. This paper presents a parametric analysis of a combined power/cooling cycle, which combines the Rankine and absorption refrigeration cycles, uses ammonia-water mixture as the working fluid and produces power and cooling simultaneously. This cycle, also known as the Goswami Cycle, can be used as a bottoming cycle using waste heat from a conventional power cycle or as an independent cycle using solar or geothermal energy. A thermodynamic study of power and cooling cogeneration is presented. The performance of the cycle for a range of boiler pressures, ammonia concentrations and isentropic turbine efficiencies are studied to find out the sensitivities of net work, amount of cooling and effective efficiencies. The roles of rectifier and superheater on the cycle performance are investigated. The cycle heat source temperature is varied between 90-170 oC and the maximum effective first law and exergy efficiencies for an absorber temperature of 30 oC are calculated as 20% and 72%, respectively. The turbine exit quality of the cycle for different boiler exit scenarios shows that turbine exit quality decreases when the absorber temperature decreases.
[en] Highlights: → In this paper a detailed one dimensional numerical heat transfer analysis of a PTC is performed. → The receiver and envelope were divided into several segments and mass and energy balance were applied in each segment. → Improvements either in the heat transfer correlations or radiative heat transfer analysis are presented. → The proposed heat transfer model was validated with experimental data obtained from Sandia National Laboratory. → Our results showed a better agreement with experimental data compared to other models. -- Abstract: Solar Parabolic Trough Collectors (PTCs) are currently used for the production of electricity and applications with relatively higher temperatures. A heat transfer fluid circulates through a metal tube (receiver) with an external selective surface that absorbs solar radiation reflected from the mirror surfaces of the PTC. In order to reduce the heat losses, the receiver is covered by an envelope and the enclosure is usually kept under vacuum pressure. The heat transfer and optical analysis of the PTC is essential to optimize and understand its performance under different operating conditions. In this paper a detailed one dimensional numerical heat transfer analysis of a PTC is performed. The receiver and envelope were divided into several segments and mass and energy balance were applied in each segment. Improvements either in the heat transfer correlations or radiative heat transfer analysis are presented as well. The partial differential equations were discretized and the nonlinear algebraic equations were solved simultaneously. Finally, to validate the numerical results, the model was compared with experimental data obtained from Sandia National Laboratory (SNL) and other one dimensional heat transfer models. Our results showed a better agreement with experimental data compared to other models.