Increasing the efficiency of heat utilization and enabling the integration of renewable energy in the industrial and building sectors will play a crucial role in meeting the requirements of the Swiss energy strategy. These goals can be advanced by storage of intermittent heat. A promising technique is to store thermal energy as latent heat in Phase Change Materials (PCM), allowing for more compact and efficient energy systems. However, the low heat transfer rate inherent to such storage units and the lack of sustainable PCM with good thermo-physical properties present significant barriers for their widespread application.
The goal of this investigation is the development of compact, high-power storage based on the direct contact latent storage concept using esters as PCM. Esters have very good thermal properties and constitute a sustainable solution for future energy storage systems due to their bio-based origin and biodegradability. Their implementation in storage systems with a direct contact between the heat transfer fluid and the PCM can drastically increase heat transfer. In this project, promising esters will be synthesized, characterized and optimized, heat transfer phenomena in direct contact storage systems will be modelled and a laboratory scale setup will be constructed to characterize the flow and cycling behavior of the system. This project will contribute to the understanding and further development of latent heat storage technologies and is in line with the goals of SCCER Heat and Electricity Storage and the Energy Strategy 2050.