CFD modeling of a TES system based on a packed bed of natural rocks

Zavattoni, Simone and Barbato, Maurizio and Pedretti, Andrea and Zanganeh, Giw (2014) CFD modeling of a TES system based on a packed bed of natural rocks. In: 99th Eurotherm Seminar – Advances in Thermal Energy Storage, 28.05.2014-30.05.2014, Lleida, Spain.

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The present study aims at modeling, by means of accurate time-dependent 3D computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations, the thermo-fluid dynamics behavior of a pilot-scale thermal energy storage (TES) system prototype. The gravel void-fraction distribution was found to be an important characteristic for a proper modeling of the system. Furthermore, the accuracy of the numerical model was sensibly enhanced with the integration of an effective thermal conductivity (ETC) model which accounts for all the non-convective heat transfer mechanisms occurring into the packed bed. The ETC model, as well as the void-fraction distribution, were implemented into the CFD solver by means of purpose-built user defined functions (UDFs). The CFD simulations were performed with Fluent code from ANSYS.

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