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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R016402/1
Title: Topology Optimization for Additive manufacturing of thermal storage heat exchangers with PCMs (TopAddPCM)
Principal Investigator: Sciacovelli, Dr A
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Renishaw
Department: Chemical Engineering
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: First Grant - Revised 2009
Starts: 01 April 2018 Ends: 31 March 2019 Value (£): 100,748
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Energy Storage
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
06 Dec 2017 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 6 December 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
UK has committed to an ambitious decarbonisation plan: reduce CO2 emissions by 80% by 2050 - a dramatic transformation of our energy system. Decarbonisation of the electricity sector is expected by 2030. However, meeting the targets will be impossible if decarbonisation of heat is not tackled. More than half of UK finial energy use is due to heating and cooling, which accounts for about 30% of CO2 emissions. This will require the introduction of low carbon alternatives - wind and solar energy in particular. However, such a shift poses major challenges including the imbalance between supply and demand, congestion of energy networks and in ultimate analysis the need of a more flexible energy system. Thermal energy storage (TES) has the potential to provide a solution to these challenges by capturing excess heat, time-shifting heat demand and increasing the use of renewable sources.

Among the TES technologies, latent heat thermal energy storage (LHTES) is seen as one of the most promising; LHTES uses phase change materials (PCMs) and it stores/releases thermal energy during a solid to liquid phase transition of the PCM. As our ability of storing thermal energy efficiently depends significantly on the design of the heat exchangers enclosing the PCMs, a great attention has been drawn to designing new LHTES heat exchangers that outperform current state-of-the art ones. To devise the LHTES heat exchangers of the future, thinking of advanced design methods - coupled with proper manufacturing techniques - is urgently necessary.



The proposed research - involving energy storage, computational methods, heat & mass transfer and manufacturing technologies - aims to i) establish a generalized route to designing thermal energy storage systems with PCMs using topology optimization methods and to ii) link the designing route with metal additive manufacturing methods. This project will therefore offer an innovative numerical design methodology and will generate experimental evidences that will allow a robust validation of the proposed method.

This proposal is highly relevant for the UK research and industry in the energy sector; in particular i) It will help researchers to develop thermal energy storage systems faster and more accurately; in doing so it will enable faster deployment of low carbon technologies ii) it will support UK in maintaining a leading role in the field of energy storage - one of the pillar technologies identified by the UK's government industrial strategy iii) it will test additive manufacturing in the novel context of thermal energy storage; therefore it will offer the opportunity of a new market sector for additive manufacturing products.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Summary
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk