Thermal energy plays an indispensable role in the sustainable development of modern societies. Being a key component in various domestic and industrial processes as well as in power generation systems, the storage of thermal energy ensures system reliability, power dispatchability, and economic profitability. Among the numerous methods of thermal energy storage (TES), latent heat TES technology based on phase change materials has gained renewed attention in recent years owing to its high thermal storage capacity, operational simplicity, and transformative industrial potential. Here, we review the broad and critical role of latent heat TES in recent, state-of-the-art sustainable energy developments. The energy storage systems are categorized into the following categories: solar-thermal storage, electro-thermal storage, waste heat storage, and thermal regulation. The fundamental technology underpinning these systems and materials as well as system design towards efficient latent heat utilization are briefly described. Finally, the exciting research opportunities available to further improve the overall energy efficiency of integrated TES systems are discussed.

Energy & environment science, nº 8

Waseem Aftab, Ali Usman,Jinming Shi, Kunjie Yuan,  Mulin Qina  and  Ruqiang Zou

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