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Concrete based thermal storage device

Cementitious materialsEnergy storage

Introduction

A modular prefabricated element made in concrete for heat absorption and storage at high temperature and method to make it. The casting, curing and degassing phases are carried out in a controlled environment. It consists of cement, with the inclusion of plastic and metal fibres, and a thermal exchange tube. Multiple elements are assembled together to create complex systems.

Technical features

Current technologies for medium temperature heat storage show some problems: low energy density, high volumes and costs. A widely available and recyclable concrete would allow a low-cost solution. It needs improved physical characteristics: low water/cement ratio (<0.4), thermal conductivity higher than 2W/m°K and operating up to 400°C. It is the basis for a simple, flexible, scalable and cheap thermal storage element. The latter has a prismatic shape and contains, immersed in the concrete, a heat exchanger, consisting of a coil whose ends are on the same side. The invention provides a method for construction (casting of the concrete into a mould containing the exchanger, its curing and degassing) as well as scalability and maintenance of this kind of thermal storage. Potential users will have a low-cost system that can be integrated with any medium temperature application using renewable energy sources or waste heat.

Possible Applications

  • Concentrated solar power plants;
  • Solar thermal plants with evacuated tubes;
  • Biomass or hybrid plants;
  • Recovery of industrial waste heat;
  • District heating;
  • Energy storage from electricity to heat conversion for wind, photovoltaic or similar systems.

Advantages

  • Conceptual simplicity;
  • Prefabrication in a controlled environment;
  • Scalability, systems with variable thermal capacity;
  • Economics based on low-cost materials;
  • Ease to install;
  • Low environmental and social impact;
  • Recyclability of materials