The growth of renewable energy source requires reliable, durable and cheap storage technologies. In this field, the Pumped Thermal Energy Storage (PTES), is drawing some interest as it appears not to be affected by geographical limitations and use very cheap materials. PTES is less efficient than pumped hydro and batteries, but it could achieve satisfactory efficiencies, show better economic performance and be characterized by negligible environmental impacts. A PTES stores the electric energy as thermal exergy in solid packed beds, by operating two closed Brayton cycles, one for charging and the other one for discharging. Although PTES thermodynamical behavior is well understood, the interaction between the components is rarely investigated. This study investigates the impact of packed-bed behavior on turbomachines operating conditions. In this way, PTES off-design and part-load performance are estimated. A control strategy especially suited for closed Brayton cycles, i.e. the inventory control, is used to control the system. As it resulted, PTES is characterized by an excellent part-load performance, which might be a significant advantage over the competing technologies. However, the off-design operation induced by the packed-bed thermal behavior might significantly reduce the system performance and, in particular, that of the discharge phase.

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