Meta-analysis of concrete as a thermal energy storage medium

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Guina Mourad
Harry Lennox
Madeline Turner
Madison Traynor


Solar energy is a renewable energy source however sunlight is only available during limited hours in the day. Researchers are looking towards an efficient energy storage system to ensure constant energy output. Concrete can be used as a filler material in a solar thermal energy storage system. This meta-study compared the heat capacity and thermal conductivity of concrete to other solid materials and concrete aggregates, allowing for the viability of concrete storage systems to be examined. The heat capacity of concrete was 5-10% higher than the comparative solid materials like brick and sand. Additionally, concrete without cement replacement materials were found to be more thermally conductive than concrete with added fly ash, blast furnace slag or silica fume with conductivity decreasing between 81-87%. However, concrete with the supplementary cementitious materials possess a higher heat capacity than concrete without cement replacement with capacity increasing by 25% at 30% replacement by fly ash with a grain size 300-600µm. When compared to the energy efficiency of other thermal energy systems, a concrete thermocline is shown to be less efficient than a molten salt two-tank energy storage system by less than 5%. Therefore, while concrete is a viable solid filler material in thermal energy storage systems, a molten salt two-tank thermal energy storage system is marginally more efficient. However, a partial cement replacement by supplementary cementitious materials can extend the effectiveness of the concrete thermal storage.


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