Numerical and Experimental Investigation on Performance of Thermal Energy Storage Integrated Micro-Cold Storage Unit

Sreelekha Arun, Rushikesh J. Boche, Prahas Nambiar, Prince Ekka, Pratham Panalkar, Vaibhav Kumar, Anindita Roy, Stefano Landini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Preservation of perishable food produce is a major concern in the cold chain supply system. Development of an energy-efficient on-farm cold storage facility, hence, becomes essential. Integration of thermal storage into a vapor compression refrigeration (VCR)-driven cold room is a promising technology that can reduce power consumption and act as a thermal backup. However, designing a latent heat energy storage heat exchanger encounters challenges, such as low thermal conductivity of phase change materials (PCMs) and poor heat exchanger efficiencies, leading to ineffective charging–discharging cycles. The current study investigates the effect of the integration of a Phase Change Material (PCM) in terms of the selection of the PCM, the optimal positioning of the PCM heat exchanger, and the selection of heat exchanger encapsulation material. Numerical analysis was undertaken using 3D Experience software (version: 2024x.D31.R426rel.202403212040) by creating a 3D model of a 3.4 m3 micro-cold storage unit to understand the inner temperature distribution profile. Further, the experimental setup was developed, and tests were conducted, during which the energy consumption of 1.1 kWh was recorded for the total compressor run time of 1 h. Results indicated that an improved cooling effect was achieved by positioning the PCM trays on the wall opposite the evaporator. It is seen that a temperature difference in the range of 5 to 7 °C exists between the phase change temperature of PCM and the optimal storage temperature depending on the encapsulation material. Hence, PCM selection for thermal storage applications would have an important bearing on the material and configuration of the PCM encapsulation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5166
JournalApplied Sciences-Basel
Volume14
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2024

Keywords

  • micro-cold storage
  • phase change material (PCM)
  • thermal storage
  • PCM encapsulation

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