The thermodynamic potential of thermal energy storage

Ben Furst Richard Wirz Adrienne Lavine Reza Baghaei Lakeh

Thermal Energy Storage (TES) is utilized throughout industry and is considered an enabling technology for solar thermal power plants. Current state of the art TES systems rely on sensible heat storage in solids or liquids, and latent heat storage in the solid/liquid phase change. Preliminary studies indicate that other thermodynamic regimes that have been unexploited, such as the two-phase liquid/vapor regime and the supercritical regime, may also have beneficial TES characteristics. The goal of this effort is to characterize the TES potential of these regimes, and evaluate their utility. Analytic equations of state, thermodynamic theory and experimental data are being used to develop a coherent understanding of the possibilities offered by these thermodynamic regions.