CFD analysis has been conducted to obtain information on heat losses, velocity and temperature distribution of large molten salt Thermal Energy Storage (TES) systems. A two-tank 880 MWh storage system was modeled according to the molten salt TES containment design proposed for the 50 MWel commercial parabolic trough solar thermal power plants in Spain. Heat losses were established using the Finite Element Method (FEM), and used to determine the boundary conditions for the subsequent two- and three-dimensional Computational Fluid Mechanics (CFD) calculations. The investigations reveal that a high heat loss flux occurs at the lower edges of the salt storage tanks (between side wall and bottom plate). Thus the maximum temperature difference can be found at this location, resulting in the onset of local solidification within 3.25 days in the case of the empty cool tank. As a consequence, the detailed design of the lower edge has a large impact on both the overall heat losses and the period until the onset of local solidification.

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