Experimental investigation of thermal storage processes in a thermocline tank

M. M. Valmiki, Wafaa Karaki, Peiwen Li, Jon Van Lew, Cholik Chan, Jake Stephens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


This paper presents an experimental study of the energy charge and discharge processes in a packed bed thermocline thermal storage tank for application in concentrated solar power plants. A mathematical analysis was provided for better understanding and planning of the experimental tests. The mathematical analysis indicated that the energy storage effectiveness is related to fluid and solid material properties, tank dimensions, packing schemes of the solid filler material, and the durations of the charge and discharge times. Dimensional analysis of the governing equations was applied to consolidate many parameters into a few dimensionless parameters, allowing scaling from a laboratory system to an actual industrial application. Experiences on the system design, packing of solid filler material, system operation, and data analysis in a laboratory-scale system have been obtained in this work. These data are used to validate a recently published numerical solution method. The study will benefit the application of thermocline thermal storage systems in the large scale concentrated solar thermal power plants in industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041003
JournalJournal of Solar Energy Engineering, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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