Physical sciences, Earth sciences

Next-generation hybrid renewable energy systems

Nearly zero-energy buildings are a major element of European climate policy, and by 2021 every new building has to meet this standard. Hybrid systems that are 100 % renewables will help transform the heating and cooling market, providing improved efficiency and carbon dioxide reductions.

Solar thermal collectors are rapidly gaining ground in many European countries as a means to sustainably provide space heating and domestic hot water for buildings. However, future success requires compactly combining solar energy storage with heat pumps that provide heat all year round using ground source or ambient air in addition to the Sun.

The EU-funded project MACSHEEP (New materials and control for a next generation of compact combined solar and heat pump systems with boosted energetic and exergetic performance) is developing the requisite compact but combined renewable energy systems that enable superior performance at competitive prices. Some measures to boost performance and cost effectiveness are the use of heat pump and storage optimisation as well as low-cost materials. Scientists are also developing information and communications technology for intelligent control of storage management, online monitoring and fault detection to enhance energetic performance and reliability.

Researchers have been developing four heat pumps combined with solar thermal systems that use heat from the ground, air and the Sun. The solutions address houses that have low space heating demands and low network supply temperatures as well as refurbished houses with higher supply temperatures.

Based on simulations and component tests, researchers expect electricity savings ranging from 17 to 30 %. Over the next project period, simulations will be calibrated and updated.

The combined solar and heat pump systems under development will be an important part of the energy mix, supplying 100 % renewable energy to buildings. MACSHEEP mainly targets single-family homes that account for a large part of the EU primary energy consumption and that often have much room for energy efficiency gains. Technology will be scaled to meet higher-energy demands of multi-storey buildings.

Source: © European Union, CORDIS,
last modification: 2015-12-09 09:14:02