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“Stratified TES Tank Configurations”

Technical Seminar Report
Subject: Energy Storage Systems

Submitted by

(Reg. No. : 140954002)
II Semester M.Tech (Advanced Thermal Power & Energy


(A Constituent Institution of Manipal University)

MANIPAL-576104, Karnataka, INDIA

1. Introduction
Thermal stratification, or thermocline, refers to the phenomena of holding layers of fluid
at different temperatures within one enclosure. Achieving and maintaining a thermocline is
essential to ensure that heat transfer fluid will be stored and used at the desired temperature.
Stratification in liquid tanks can be achieved through the elimination of mixing during relaxation
periods; otherwise natural convection currents will destroy the temperature layers.
Thermal stratification in liquid tanks is an important parameter in several industrial
processes, such as industrial food production and tanks for energy storage such as that due to
solar energy collection. In solar energy storage systems that employ water for sensible heat
storage, the thermal stratification of the water tank is often employed for improving the
efficiency of the collection and storage system. Also, heat removed from industrial units, such as
furnaces and ovens, frequently employs water, which is heated during the energy rejection
process and is then discharged into water tank.
There are substantial benefits to the use of water tank thermal storage in both heating and
cooling. For example, in solar space heating systems, the energy stored during the day can make
solar energy available at night for heating. Also, for large air-conditioning systems, chilled-water
storage unit is used at night during hours of maximum coefficient of performance, and using this
chilled water at the next day (or in the hours of electricity cutoff) to meet the load demand.

2. Terminology
Charging: Storing cooling capacity by removing heat from a cool storage device, or storing
heating capacity by adding heat to a heat storage device.
Discharging: Using stored cooling capacity by adding thermal energy to a cool storage device or
removing thermal energy from a heat storage device.
Stratified chilled-water storage: A method of sensible cool thermal energy storage that
achieves and maintains an acceptable separation between warm (discharged) and cool (charged)
water by forming a thermocline by density differences alone, and not by mechanical separation.
Thermal storage capacity: A value indicating the maximum amount of cooling (or heating) that
can be achieved by the stored medium in the thermal storage device and delivered to the load.
Thermal storage device: A container plus all its contents used for storing heating or cooling
energy. The heat transfer fluid and accessories, such as heat exchangers, agitators, circulating
pumps, flow-switching devices, valves, and baffles that are integral with the container, are
considered a part of the thermal storage device.

Thermocline: Thermal layer of water in a chilled-water thermal storage tank, separating warmer
water at the top and cooler water at the bottom. The depth of this layer depends on the
effectiveness and efficiency of the upper and lower diffusers, which are designed to supply and
discharge water with minimal mixing. The typical thermocline is 18 to 24 in., and rises and falls
when charging and discharging the storage tank.

3. Thermal Stratification in Liquid Storage Tanks
An important aspect related to the performance of a TES, and solar
thermal systems, is thermal stratification. It is the existence of a temperature
gradient in the storage that allows the separation of fluid at different
temperatures. When observing the temperature distribution in a real tank,
one concept used to characterize the level of stratification within a storage is
to quantify the temperature gradient (dT/dx) and thickness of the thermocline
(intermediate region) that separates the hot and cold regions within the
storage. This concept is illustrated in Figure 7(a-c) where three storage tanks
with differing stratification levels, but containing equivalent energy, are

4. Case Study: Experimental Study of Temperature Stratification In A
Thermal Storage Tank In The Static Mode For Different Aspect Ratios

Thermal stratified storage tanks are an effective method to improve the efficiency of
thermal storage devices that are commonly used in thermal systems when the available energy
source is irregular or when a time lag exists between the production and the demand. It has been
shown that thermal stratification is affected by a number of factors such as mixing due to the
inlet and outlet streams, heat losses to the environment and tank configuration such as the aspect
(height to diameter) ratio. Thermal behavior and stratification of hot water storage tanks during
the stagnation mode is investigated experimentally in this study for three different aspect ratios
(AR) of the tank, namely 2, 1 and ½. The study addresses the change in water stratification
during the cool down of the water inside the storage tank of thermal systems in the 85 oC to 30oC
temperature range, which lies within the operating range of most conventional and solar hot
water and liquid based heating systems.

5. Experimental Setup and Procedure
Laboratory tanks are constructed from galvanized steel sheet 1-mm-thick to study the
stratification of water at various aspect ratios. The tanks were not insulated to promote the
development of stratification in the tank through heat loss to the surroundings. Three aspect
ratios, namely ½, 1 and 2 are investigated. The dimensions of the tanks are shown in Figure-1
together with location of the temperature measurements. Twelve calibrated copper-constantan
thermocouples are distributed at three levels in the tank to measure the water temperature using a
microprocessor thermometer (range: -100 to 400°C and accuracy ±1%).


6. Conclusions

The above points indicate that the heat loss to the ambient is a major factor in degradation
of the thermal stratification in an un-insulated tank

The stratification was found to decrease continuously during the cooling period

A better thermal stratification is achieved by increasing the aspect ratio.

The concept of thermal stratification can be used in heating as well as cooling (e.g. Air

7. References
[1] Thermal Energy Storage systems and applications by Ibrahim Dincer
[2] C. Cristofari, G. Notton, P. Poggi, A. Louche, Influence of the flow rate and the tank
stratification degree on the performances of a solar flat-plate collector, Int. J. Thermal
Sci. 42 (2003) 455-469.
[3] U. Jordan, S. Furbo, Thermal stratification in small solar domestic storage tanks
caused by drawoffs,Sol. Energy 78 (2005) 291-300.
[4] L.J. Shah, S. Furbo, Entrance effects in solar storage tanks, Sol. Energy 75 (2003)