20 September 2011
The aim of an on-going study is to synchronise the rational use of alternative and eco-friendly energy generation in a single family home to reduce non-renewable energy consumption and overall domestic energy costs. Today, more and more buildings combine solar thermal with
heat pumps and other heat sources. This project focuses on the optimisation of such combined installations with computer generated simulations and design of experiments with genetic algorithms.
Experimental tests have shown that short-term efficiency of the heat pump can be boosted considerably by using a seasonal storage (by adapting inlet temperatures). Validated simulations of the installation showed that poor efficiency is mostly due to bad regulation (a boiler reaching 95°C provides more energy than required and provokes thermal losses), but
also because of inefficient use of available solar energy in summer.
After simulating the individual installations, the most important parameters influencing solar and heat pump efficiency were identified. A combination of these systems will later allow identifying important interactions between parameters. The results so far show that considerable improvement of regulation is possible, and will help develop a catalogue of optimisation tools for miscellaneous installations.