Thermocline is a cost efficient thermal storage system able to reduce capital costs up to 40%. The objective of NEWCLINE is to develop new thermocline concepts that can be applicable to different CSP plants (PT, CR, LF). Two different, but complementary, concepts related to the materials (media) are proposed. The first concept involves the use of innovative structured ceramic filler refractories. The other is an innovative combination of solid filler material (the ceramic one is the preferred option) with specially selected encapsulated phase change material (PCM) located at the top and bottom regions of the tank.
Both concepts will be experimentally tested in a lab-scale set up, where attention is focused on the analysis of the relevant thermal and fluid dynamic aspects that characterize the new packed bed. The two concepts will also be experimentally tested at relevant pilot scale of 4 MWh with at least 50 charge/discharge cycles.
Detailed simulation of both concepts will be validated with the experimental data generated in this project. Based on the simulation tools already developed by the partners, both concepts will be evaluated and optimized in terms of system integration and LCOE savings on a CSP system level and up-scaling for CSP target applications.
The consortium is composed of three research centres (UPC, DLR, HSR-SPF) and two companies (EA, NEBUMA-KB). UPC and DLR have solid expertise in thermocline systems, both from an experimental point of view (lab-scale and pilot scale) and a computational point of view (advanced CFD models for numerical experiments and models for designing and optimization). The role of KB is essential as the ceramic filler developer. EA will contribute in all aspects related to an upscaled engineering plant design and full-size operational CSP plant. Finally, SPF has recognised expertise in the dynamic thermal analysis and thermoeconomic studies of complex solar thermal systems.