Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST)

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Jose Pereira Da Cunha

PhD Research Student

Tel: +44 (0)1509 227612

Location: MBG.0.L01, Garendon Wing

Jose is a Portuguese national who took an integrated Master´s in Mechanical Engineering - Energy option with a 3.0 GPA at FEUP (www.fe.up.pt), starting in 2008 and ending in July 2013.

His masters thesis was about solar thermal for domestic water heating (DWH), comparing forced circulation with thermosyphon for a variety of thermal consumptions; concluding that thermosyphon systems with electric backup in a horizontal storage tank are less efficient, due to poor thermal stratification within the tank. Also, in DWH systems, solar gains are higher when backed up with natural gas tankless heaters, since the storage tank temperature was achieved only by solar thermal.

From October 2013 to April 2014, Jose worked as a mechanical engineer in a renewable energy company, OURSEAL (www.ourseal.pt) mainly developing a "Smart Window". The device can provide solar thermal gains and also control clarity in buildings, known as solar thermal building integrated solutions (for low enthalpy applications). Also designing mechanisms for PV solar tracking with one and two axes.

From July 2014 until now researching as a PhD from EESE on phase change materials for thermal energy storage at CREST.

Thermal energy storage is useful when there is mismatch between heat supply and demand. It can be achieved in 3 distinct ways: sensible; latent or thermochemical heat storage. Latent heat storage systems store heat within a narrow temperature range, providing greater energy density (kWh/m3) than sensible heat storage over a similar specified temperature interval; however, volumetric expansion can reach 10 to 12 % during phase change. A key issue is the low thermal conductivity of most PCMs, which can seriously affect the storage system effectiveness.

Below 200 C there are plenty of medium enthalpy applications where reliable isothermal sources can be useful ( e.g. industry batch processes such as cheese, milk, coffee and chocolate; organic Rankine cycles using solar thermal or geothermal; district heating and cooling, etc).

This research focuses on studying the different compounds able to provide a reliable phase change between 90 and 170 C, to characterize and numerically predict the storage system performance. The aim is to develop reliable physical and theoretical models and systems for latent heat storage within this temperature range and later to power an 5kW Organic Rankine cycle combined with solar thermal.