Objective

Demonstrate the feasibility of an energy storage system based on phase change materials to increase the performance of solar cooling and heating systems in the building sector.

Solar-assisted air-conditioning system’s general layout:

(note the coupled PCM-based STES)

Cooling mode, operating in summer.

Heating mode, operating in winter.

Description

PCMSOL is the acronym of the project entitled “Thermal Energy Storage with Phase Change Materials for Solar Cooling and Heating Applications: A technology viability analysis”, an ERANet LAC project funded in the 2015-2016 joint call. The project is participated by two European universities, two South-American universities, and private company.

This project focuses on the integration of short-term thermal energy storage units (STES) for solar cooling and heating, to improve energy efficiency in the institutional building sector. For the energy storage, tanks filled with spherical nodules of Phase Change Materials (PCMs) are proposed. The objective of the project is thus to assess the feasibility of this particular energy storage system to improve the efficiency of building climatization based on solar energy.

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The first particular goal of the project is to screen better PCMs for this application, developing also the best method for the encapsulation, and proposing a strategy to analyze the viability of different materials. For this analysis, numerical simulations and experiments will be used to study the melting or freezing of a single nodule in well-controlled conditions. Once the PCM and capsule are selected, two tanks filled with these nodules will be prepared for its integration in the CIESOL cooling/heating system. The tanks  will be modeled to optimize its performance characteristics (size, flux,…). With the optimal design, the tank will be constructed and integrated into the CIESOL building. Finally, the feasibility study, in terms of energy savings, initial and operating costs and environmental performance, and the life cycle assessment will allow us to compare the proposed system with other STES, in particular, water tanks.

Expectedly, the PCMSOL project will provide new, advanced eco-design solutions using PCMs to store cold/heat in institutional building–those characterized by intense cooling/heating demand. The aim is to realize the great energy saving potential that remains untapped.

PCMSOL comprises a consortium of 3 European organizations from Spain and Poland and 2 Latin America organizations from Chile and Bolivia, combining a wide range of technical, institutional and business expertise. PCMSOL intends to bring together all the specialists required to support and promote a novel technological solution to improve energy efficiency, with an emphasis on model application under the European and the Community of Latin America and Caribbean States (CELAC) Energy Directives. This strengthens our bi-regional partnership in Science, Technology and Innovation by planning and implementing concrete joint activities and by establishing an innovative and sustainable framework for future bi­-regional joint activities.

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