PCM, ventilation, heat exchanger, experimental, modeling.
Due to the increase of energy costs, buildings energy consumption has tended to decrease in the past decades. This gives an opportunity for developing innovative renewable technologies that are more adapted to recent buildings with low energy demand. In this context, one main challenge is to manage non-simultaneous availability of heat source or sink and the energy demand of buildings. Hence, different technologies dedicated to energy storage have been developed recently; one of them is the use of Phase Change Materials (PCM). These materials are considered because they exhibit a high latent energy and a tunable phase change temperature according to their composition. This paper studies a PCM heat exchanger coupled to a building ventilation system. This PCM module can either store heat during the day (e.g. by cooling solar PV panels) and restore it to the building during the night for space heating purposes or store coolness during the night and give it back during the day and thus act as a free cooling system. This project aims to develop a performing air-PCM heat exchanger providing latent energy storage of 0.5 kWh, this energy is delivered between 15 and 30°C. This heat exchanger is based on corrugated cells that can be easily filled, lined up and then locked in a box, letting the air pass between the cells. The PCM used for the prototype is mainly composed of paraffin. In order to develop an efficient PCM ventilation module, two different ways of investigation were followed and used in parallel. The first one used CFD simulations and the second one, a semi-empirical model based on correlations. The CFD simulations were able to predict the convection coefficient on the air side and also show the flow repartition between the different channels whereas the semi-empirical model allowed a parametrical study in order to identify the best possible geometry. Once the heat exchanger geometry was optimized, a test bench was built and a prototype of air-PCM heat exchanger was manufactured in order to measure its thermal and hydraulic performances. The tests consist in either a complete solidification or liquefaction of the PCM starting from respectively liquid PCM at 30°C or solid PCM at 15°C. The airflow rate was set to 45m³/h, which corresponds barely to the ventilation rate of a traditional room in a residential building. A comparison between the models and the measurements was carried out in order to calibrate the semi-empirical model. Finally, the investigation of a free-cooling application in buildings was performed to calculate the annual performance of the system in different types of climates.