Two-phase Energy System

Eric Joshua Leaman, Jack Ryan Cochran


This project explores the technical challenge of sustainability as it relates to solar energy production, storage, and consumption. The challenge is addressed through the design of a two-phase renewable energy system that can provide electrical energy during both day and night without the use of chemical batteries. “Phase 1” is the conversion of solar energy into electrical energy using photovoltaic panels for both immediate supply to the household load and for storage in a fluid based system. “Phase 2” is the conversion of the stored potential energy back into electrical energy for use during the night and at times of peak demand. Methods of energy storage evaluated for this project are pumped-hydroelectric energy storage (PHES) and compressed-air energy storage (CAES), both of which are widely used in large-scale systems such as power plants. The “two-phase” system scales the same idea for practical use at a small scale. Effective methods for converting this stored energy into electrical energy involve the use of a turbine-generator. The system is mathematically modeled in order to determine system parameters to optimize efficiency while meeting constraints on power and total energy output. Based on the results, pumped hydroelectric energy storage was chosen as the method of energy storage, and components were chosen for a prototype. The prototype utilized an electric fluid bench to simulate the system and validate the model. This research may result in an efficient and clean renewable energy system and eliminate the need for a chemical battery in residential photovoltaic systems. Its successful implementation can directly reduce hazardous battery waste and indirectly reduce carbon emissions by decreasing dependency on fossil-fuel burning power plants.


Fluid energy storage; Modeling; Solar energy

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