High temperature latent heat thermal energy storage: Phase change materials, design considerations and performance enhancement techniques
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A very common problem in solar power generation plants and various other industrial processes is the existing gap between the period of thermal energy availability and its period of usage. This situation creates the need for an effective method by which excess heat can be stored for later use. Latent heat thermal energy storage is one of the most efficient ways of storing thermal energy through which the disparity between energy production or availability and consumption can be corrected, thus avoiding wastage and increasing the process efficiency. This paper reviews a series of phase change materials, mainly inorganic salt compositions and metallic alloys, which could potentially be used as storage media in a high temperature (above 300 C) latent heat storage system, seeking to serve the reader as a comprehensive thermophysical properties database to facilitate the material selection task for high temperature applications. Widespread utilization of latent heat storage systems has been held back by the poor thermal conductivity and some other inherent drawbacks of the use of PCMs; this paper reviews several heat transfer and performance enhancement techniques proposed in the literature and discusses a number of design considerations that must be taken into account aiming to provide a broad overview for the design of high temperature latent heat based thermal energy storage systems. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.