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A low-temperature glide cycle for pumped thermal energy storage

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Koen, A 
Macnaghten, J 


Pumped thermal energy storage is seen as a possible alternative to pumped-hydro schemes for storing electricity at large scale and facilitating increased integration of renewable sources. This paper presents a novel form of pumped thermal energy storage in which the thermodynamic cycle exploits the temperature glide exhibited by zeotropic mixtures. The working fluid is a blend of linear alkanes, optimised so as to obtain a near-constant effective heat capacity in the two-phase region. This enables heat exchange with the storage fluid in a manner that incurs very low exergetic losses whilst also achieving a high cycle work ratio. These two features allow the cycle to attain a respectable round-trip efficiency whilst operating at low temperature (0–100 ◦C). The analysis presented constitutes a preliminary thermodynamic design; further improvements to performance may be possible with comprehensive optimisation. Nonetheless, the results show that an overall (electricity-to-electricity) round-trip efficiency of around 50% should be achievable with unpressurised water as the storage fluid. Initial cost estimates have also been undertaken, showing marginal energy (capital) costs in the range 15–45 /kWhe,dependingonthetypeofcontainment.Duetothelowpowerdensityandhighheattoworkratiooflowtemperaturestorage,theestimatedmarginalcapitalcostperunitpowercapacityislessfavourable(1,3002,900/kW) implying the system is best-suited to long-duration discharge.



40 Engineering, 7 Affordable and Clean Energy, 13 Climate Action

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Journal of Energy Storage

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Elsevier BV
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/P004709/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/P021867/1)
EPSRC (2124607)
The first author (AJK) was in receipt of a UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) studentship. The second author (PFA) was partially funded on EPSRC projects EP/P004709/1 and EP/P021867/1. All authors gratefully acknowledge the EPSRC for their support.