Evaluation of a Modular Thermally Driven Heat Pump for Solar Heating and Cooling Applications
Abstract: Exploiting solar energy technology for both heating and cooling purposes has the potential of meeting an appreciable portion of the energy demand in buildings throughout the year. By developing an integrated, multi-purpose solar energy system, that can operate all twelve months of the year, a high utilisation factor can be achieved which translates to more economical systems. However, there are still some techno-economic barriers to the general commercialisation and market penetration of such technologies. These are associated with high system and installation costs, significant system complexity, and lack of knowledge of system implementation and expected performance. A sorption heat pump module that can be integrated directly into a solar thermal collector has thus been developed in order to tackle the aforementioned market barriers. This has been designed to aid in the development of cost-effective pre-engineered solar energy system kits that can provide both heating and cooling.This thesis summarises the characterisation studies of the operation of individual sorption modules, sorption module integrated solar collectors and a full solar heating and cooling system employing sorption module integrated collectors. Key performance indicators for the individual sorption modules showed cooling delivery for 6 hours at an average power of 40 W and a temperature lift of 21°C. Upon integration of the sorption modules into a solar collector, measured solar radiation energy to cooling energy conversion efficiencies (solar cooling COP) were between 0.10 and 0.25 with average cooling powers between 90 and 200 W/m2 collector aperture area. Further investigations of the sorption module integrated collectors implementation in a full solar heating and cooling system yielded electrical cooling COP ranging from 1.7 to 12.6 with an average of 10.6 for the test period.Additionally, simulations were performed to determine system energy and cost saving potential for various system sizes over a full year of operation for a 140 m2 single-family dwelling located in Madrid, Spain. Simulations yielded an annual solar fraction of 42% and potential cost savings of €386 per annum for a solar heating and cooling installation employing 20m2 of sorption integrated collectors.
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