Sunlight-driven organic phase change material-embedded nanofiller for latent heat solar energy storage


Solar energy storage systems hold a key for those seeking for a potential solution of energy issues. The experimental work established in this investigation is based on a composite organic phase change material (PCM) comprised of a technical grade paraffin wax/nanofiller synthesized via ultrasonic dispersion. Various mass fractions of ZnO nanorods synthesized via thermal decomposition technique or silica-coated zinc oxide (SZR) prepared via hydrolysis route were used as a nanofiller embedded in PCM. PCM was applied in a vertical type pipe-in-pipe (PIP) thermal heat storage system connected with a flat plate solar collector where water is used as the heat transfer fluid (HTF). The mass flow rate of the HTF was selected (1.3 g/s) according to the experimental results. The solar intensity data showed the solar collector energy gained was around 170 W, and it was related to the daytime. Results showed the heat transfer rate was affected by the change in the nanofiller type and the mass fraction. Finally, an increase in the heat was gained from 7 to 140 kJ/min with increasing the nanofillers up to a certain limit. Almost 200% system enhancement is achieved for ZSR rather than pristine PW-PCM which makes the system attractive for water heating.

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Phase change material




Paraffin wax


Uncoated ZnO nanorods


Coated ZnO nanorods with SiO2


Solar water heating


Heat transfer fluid

T a :

Air temperature (°C)

T ab :

Ambient temperature (°C)

T ω :

Charging temperature of PCM (°C)

T α :

Discharging temperature of PCM (°C)

\(T_{\text{wic}}\) :

Inlet collector water temperature (°C)

\(T_{\text{woc}}\) :

Outlet water temperature from the collector (°C)

T β :

Temperature gained from discharging PCM (°C)

\(\xi\) :

Collector efficiency (%)

η :

Overall efficiency from the PCM storing system (%)

\(Q_{\text{uc}}\) :

Useful heat obtained from collector (W)

\(Q_{\beta }\) :

Rate of useful heat gained from HTF (KJ/min)

\(Q_{\text{PCM}}\) :

Heat gained from PCM (KJ/min)

\(I_{\varepsilon }\) :

Intensity of solar radiation (W/m2)

\(A_{c}\) :

Area of collector absorber (m2)

Cp :

Specific heat capacity of water 4.18 kJ/kg K (Zelzouli et al. 2012

Cp :

Specific heat capacity of paraffin wax 2.1 kJ/kg K (Sharma et al. 2009)

\(m^{.}\) :

Water mass flow rate (kg/s)


Thermal energy storage


Latent heat of fusion of paraffin wax 190 kJ/kg (Sharma et al. 2009)


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Tony, M.A., Mansour, S.A. Sunlight-driven organic phase change material-embedded nanofiller for latent heat solar energy storage. Int. J. Environ. Sci. Technol. 17, 709–720 (2020).

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  • Phase change material
  • Energy storage
  • ZnO nanorods
  • ZnO/SiO2 nanorods