Thermal-fluid flow within innovative heat storage concrete systems for solar power plants

Valentina A. Salomoni, Carmelo E. Majorana, Giuseppe M. Giannuzzi, Adio Miliozzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to describe an experience of R&D in the field of new technologies for solar energy exploitation within the Italian context. Concentrated solar power systems operating in the field of medium temperatures are the main research objectives, directed towards the development of a new and low-cost technology to concentrate the direct radiation and efficiently convert solar energy into high-temperature heat. Design/methodology/approach: A multi-tank sensible-heat storage system is proposed for storing thermal energy, with a two-tanks molten salt system. In the present paper, the typology of a below-grade cone shape storage is taken up, in combination with nitrate molten salts at 565°C maximum temperature, using an innovative high-performance concrete for structures absolving functions of containment and foundation. Findings: Concrete durability in terms of prolonged thermal loads is assessed. The interaction between the hot tank and the surrounding environment (ground) is considered. The developed FE model simulates the whole domain, and a fixed heat source of 100°C is assigned to the internal concrete surface. The development of the thermal and hygral fronts within the tank thickness are analysed and results discussed for long-term scenarios. Originality/value: Within the medium temperature field, an innovative approach is here presented for the conceptual design of liquid salts concrete storage systems. The adopted numerical model accounts for the strong coupling among moisture and heat transfer and the mechanical field. The basic mathematical model is a single fluid phase non-linear diffusion one based on the theory by Bažant; appropriate thermodynamic and constitutive relationships are supplemented to enhance the approach and catch the effects of different fluid phases (liquid plus gas). © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)969 - 999
Number of pages31
JournalInternational Journal of Numerical Methods for Heat and Fluid Flow
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 2008


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics

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