Performance of a Hybrid HVAC-Integrated Thermal Storage Device

Allison Mahvi, Eric Kozubal, Jason Woods

Research output: NRELPresentation


Thermal equipment in buildings is a primary contributor to peak loads on the electrical grid. Thermal energy storage is a cost-effective strategy to decouple electric use from thermal loads, thus reducing grid peak costs for building owners. One method for storing thermal energy in a building is to integrate a phase change material (PCM) directly into the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. These systems often require additional glycol loops, pumps, valves, and heat exchangers to couple the storage to the cooling system and building space, which increases the complexity and cost. This work will discuss an alternate approach where the storage is added directly into the heat pump evaporator. A detailed two-dimensional finite difference heat transfer model of a PCM-refrigerant-glycol heat exchanger was developed to simulate the performance of this component. The fluid stream was discretized along the flow direction to capture changes in the fluid properties and local heat transfer rates, and the phase change material was discretized in both the x and y directions to capture the movement of the melt front. The model was used to understand the impact of different material and geometric properties on the charge and discharge characteristics of the device. Finally, a Ragone framework analogous to that used for electrochemical batteries was used to maximize the energy density and round-trip efficiency of the device while supplying loads appropriate for space cooling in buildings.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePresented at the 2021 ASME Summer Heat Transfer Conference, 16-18 June 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5500-80079


  • buildings
  • HVAC
  • thermal energy storage


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