APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Thermal fluids used for heating and cooling in
- Chemical processing
- Oil and gas
- Renewable energy
- Food and beverage operations
- Building, automobile, and computing center thermal management
- Energy storage from the electric grid
- Higher specific heat capacity and energy density than competitors
- Enables higher energy efficiency and lower cost operations
- Flexible for different temperature ranges
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers led by Ravi Prasher and Anubhav Jain have developed a thermochemical energy storage mechanism that can enhance specific heat and energy storage capacity of thermal fluids by creating a solution with reactive species that can absorb and release additional thermal energy. These reactive species can be modified to suit applications across different temperature ranges as well.
Specifically, the researchers formulated a theoretical model that connects fundamental properties of the underlying reaction to the thermophysical properties of the liquids. Through this framework, the LBNL team has employed state-of-the-art computational tools, such as density functional theory (DFT) calculations, to identify and refine the most suitable molecular systems for subsequent studies to develop next-generation heat transfer fluids.
The specific heat capacity of current thermal fluids, which is directly linked to energy density, has remained relatively low. Conventional thermal fluids utilize noncovalent interactions between molecules and atoms, such as hydrogen bonds (e.g. glycols), van der Waals forces (e.g. mineral oils), and electrostatic interactions (e.g. molten salts) to store heat. LBNL’s invention takes a new, cost-effective approach using the mechanism of reversible covalent bond formation and breaking to increase the specific heat and energy storage capacity of thermal fluids.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Yu, P., Jain, A., and Prasher, R. “Enhanced Thermochemical Heat Capacity of Liquids: Molecular to Macroscale Modeling.” Nanoscale and Microscale Thermophysical Engineering, vol. 23, no. 3, 2019, pp. 235–246., doi:10.1080/15567265.2019.1600622.
STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.
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