Techno-Economic Analysis of Recuperated Joule-Brayton Pumped Thermal Energy Storage: Article No. 115016

Joshua McTigue, Pau Farres-Antunez, Kavin Sundarnath J, Christos Markides, Alexander White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus Citations


This article describes a techno-economic model for pumped thermal energy storage systems based on recuperated Joule-Brayton cycles and two-tank liquid storage. Models have been developed for each component, with particular emphasis on the heat exchangers. Economic metrics such as the power and energy capital costs (i.e., per-kW and per-kWh capacity) and levelized cost of storage are evaluated by gathering numerous cost correlations from the literature, thereby enabling estimates of uncertainty. It is found that the use of heat exchangers with effectivenesses up to 0.95 is economically worthwhile, but higher values lead to rapidly escalating component size and system cost. Several hot storage fluids are considered; those operating at the highest temperatures (chloride salts) improve the round-trip efficiency but the benefit is marginal and may not warrant the additional material costs and risk when compared to lower-temperature nitrate salts. Cost-efficiency trade-offs are explored using a multi-objective optimization algorithm, yielding optimal designs with round-trip efficiencies in the range 59-72% and corresponding levelized storage costs of 0.12 0.03 and 0.38 0.10 $/kWhe. Lifetime costs are competitive with lithium-ion batteries for discharging durations greater than 6 h under current scenarios.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages17
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
StatePublished - 2022

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5700-78583


  • Carnot battery
  • energy storage
  • heat pump
  • molten salt
  • pumped thermal energy storage


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