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A load-based approach for optimizing a packed-bed thermal store

C�rdenas, Bruno; Garvey, Seamus D.

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Senior Research Fellow in Thermo-Mechanical Energy Storage


This paper presents a load-based optimization approach for improving the efficiency of a packed bed. The optimization is based on splitting the work-cycle of the thermal store into two frequency components: low and high. A packed bed is designed for each one of the two profiles. A packed bed can be customised much better for a duty-cycle that contains a narrow range of frequencies.

The case study presented considers a 24 h working-cycle (12 h charge / 12 h discharge) with a 10 MW peak power and an exergy storage requirement of 33.3 MW h (76.3 MW h of heat). A packed bed was optimized for this duty-cycle using a one dimensional model that varies the aspect ratio and the rock size. This packed bed is the ‘reference case’ for the study. The aim of the load-based optimization is to create a two-bed system that achieves lower exergy losses than the reference case while keeping the overall storage capacity constant.

A sign-preserving filter is used as the signal-splitting tool. Numerous different work-cycle “splits” are explored. Results show that the exergy losses of the packed bed can be considerably reduced. The optimum work-cycle split considers a low-frequency packed bed that supplies 85% of the storage capacity and a high-frequency packed bed that provides the remaining 15%. The combined losses of the two packed beds are 644 kW h, which represents a reduction of 25.5% in comparison to the exergy losses of the reference case. The study demonstrates that the “load-based optimization” allows replacing a packed bed with an equivalent but more efficient two-bed system at almost no additional cost.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 8, 2019
Online Publication Date Jul 18, 2019
Publication Date 2019-10
Deposit Date Aug 7, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jul 19, 2020
Journal Journal of Energy Storage
Electronic ISSN 2352-152X
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Article Number 100835
Keywords Sign-preserving filter; Load optimization; Thermal energy storage; Compressed air energy storage; Exergy efficiency; Work-cycle frequency
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: A load-based approach for optimizing a packed-bed thermal store; Journal Title: Journal of Energy Storage; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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