Analysis of heat storage and delivery of a thermocline tank having solid filler material

Jon T. Van Lew, Peiwen Li, Cho Lik Chan, Wafaa Karaki, Jake Stephens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Thermal storage has been considered as an important measure to extend the operation of a concentrated solar power plant by providing more electricity and meeting the peak demand of power in the time period from dusk to late night everyday, or even providing power on cloudy days. Discussed in this paper is thermal energy storage in a thermocline tank having a solid filler material. To provide more knowledge for designing and operating of such a thermocline storage system, this paper firstly presents the application of method of characteristics for numerically predicting the heat charging and discharging process in a packed bed thermocline storage tank. Nondimensional analysis of governing equations and numerical solution schemes using the method of characteristics were presented. The numerical method proved to be very efficient, accurate; required minimal computations; and proved versatile in simulating various operational conditions for which analytical methods cannot always provide solutions. Available analytical solutions under simple boundary and initial conditions were used to validate the numerical modeling and computation. A validation of the modeling by comparing the simulation results to experimental test data from literature also confirmed the effectiveness of the model and the related numerical solution method. Finally, design procedures using the numerical modeling tool were discussed and other issues related to operation of a thermocline storage system were also studied.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number021003
JournalJournal of Solar Energy Engineering, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Analysis of heat storage and delivery of a thermocline tank having solid filler material'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this