Air solid packed-beds for high temperature thermal storage: practical recommendations for predicting their thermal behaviour, E. Alonso, E. Rojas, Applied Thermal Engineering, 202, 117835, 2022, Online version,


An advantageous solution for thermal energy storage is an air solid packed bed that consists in a tank filled with a solid material through which an air stream passes transferring heat to the filler in charge and collecting it in discharge. Effective tools to predict the thermal behaviour are required to optimize efforts towards the technology consolidation. To contribute to it, an experimental and numerical study on an air solid packed bed is presented here including some novel assumptions. The model is based on two energy balances applied to the solid and air phase separately. It also accounts for the thermal capacity of the tank walls by means of a correction of the solid density. The effective conductivity of the solid was evaluated through two components: one for the conduction through the solid and another for the radiative heat transfer. The last one gains relevance as the system average temperature rises, although it can be neglected below 500 °C. Convective heat transfer coefficient was introduced according to published correlations that were adequate for the operation conditions. The model was validated with experimental results from an own facility. The most critical parameter in the system behaviour is the thermal capacity of the filler. This fact points out the need of an accurate measurement of the specific heat. Finally, the possibility of simulating this kind of systems assuming an effective medium and solving an only heat balance was proposed if the convective heat transfer coefficient between solid and air is above a limit established in 100 W/m2K. These conclusions serve as reference to optimize efforts in predicting the thermal behaviour of air solid packed beds systems.