UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Numerical Evaluation of the Transient Performance of Rock-Pile Seasonal Thermal Energy Storage Systems Coupled with Exhaust Heat Recovery Amiri, Leyla; de Brito, Marco Antonio Rodrigues; Ghoreishi-Madiseh, Seyed Ali; Bahrani, Navid; Hassani, Ferri P.; Sasmito, Agus P.


This study seeks to investigate the concept of using large waste rocks from mining operations as waste-heat thermal energy storage for remote arctic communities, both commercial and residential. It holds its novelty in analyzing such systems with an experimentally validated transient three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics and heat transfer model that accounts for interphase energy balance using a local thermal non-equilibrium approach. The system performance is evaluated for a wide range of distinct parameters, such as porosity between 0.2 and 0.5, fluid velocity from 0.01 to 0.07 m/s, and the aspect ratio of the bed between 1 and 1.35. It is demonstrated that the mass flow rate of the heat transfer fluid does not expressively impact the total energy storage capacity of the rock mass, but it does significantly affect the charge/discharge times. Finally, it is shown that porosity has the greatest impact on both fluid flow and heat transfer. The evaluations show that about 540 GJ can be stored on the bed with a porosity of 0.2, and about 350 GJ on the one with 0.35, while the intermediate porosity leads to a total of 450 GJ. Additionally, thermal capacity is deemed to be the most important thermophysical factor in thermal energy storage performance.

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