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REnewable COGeneration and storage techNologies IntegraTIon for energy autONomous buildings

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - RE-COGNITION (REnewable COGeneration and storage techNologies IntegraTIon for energy autONomous buildings)

Reporting period: 2019-04-01 to 2020-09-30

The RE-COGNITION solution stands as an ICT integration framework, on-top of established and newly developed, innovative RE-based technologies, representing a highly inter-disciplinary concept for empowering the transition towards a renewable building landscape. The framework will enable the building integration of both variable renewable energy (VRE) sources (e.g. solar, wind) and dispatchable energy sources (e.g. bio-gas, geothermal) along with energy storage and advanced energy efficient technologies to ensure that the highest possible share of the buildings energy demand is satisfied. Actually, the proposed solution goes a step further by setting the ambition towards zero-energy or even energy positive buildings, with emphasis on the small and medium sized building stock in Europe. The synergy among the RES-based technologies is achieved by means of the platform that consists in the following main parts:
1) An Automated Cognitive Energy Management Engine (ACEME), that allows harmonizing production and demand side of various energy vectors (power, heating and cooling), by proposing optimal set of control strategies, depending of the demand and the external conditions. ACEME would be able to integrate data coming from different smart meters, operating within multiple time-scales to optimally cover short-term and middle-term needs.
2) iGateway, the intelligence that allows the communication of the ACEME with the RES-based devices.
3) Building Energy Plant Planning Tool BE-PLATO, a system that assists during the planning phase; this provide decision support to the various stakeholders for selection of RE-based systems, with the aim of minimizing the operational costs by selecting RES with high utilization for the specific installation, by keeping the planning complexities as low as possible. Financial analysis has been performed considering information about equipment available on the market
Five innovative RES technologies have been developed at a prototype level for their integration in buildings: Vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT), a building integrated PV, a hybrid solar-cooling system, a latent heat thermal storage unit and a biogas fuelled micro-CHP.
The optimisation of the Passive Variable Geometry of VAWT concept and design for maximum energy harvesting in urban winds and building integration has been achieved. The mechanical and structural design of the rotor, the electro-mechanical design of the generator and definition of a shutdown and protection system, and the anti-vibration proof design of the structural supports for installation have been obtained. The Power Electronics and System integration have been optimized. A consistent test bed and measurement chain have been developed.
Preliminary test on the integration of colored adhesive foil in lightweight BIPV modules have been done for a stack without honeycomb structure. The integration issue of the BIPV systems in terms of installation process, aesthetics, long term maintenance and, above all, capital cost have been investigated and deepened. A novel solution for the electric connection in series/parallel of different PV modules within the metallic profiles has been analyzed.
The detailed design of the Hybrid Solar Cooling prototype has been performed. The main components are the Hot/Cold sources, the adsorption batteries and the Air/Water circuit. The batteries are silica gel coated heat exchanger which can handle latent and sensible heat. The system is currently under construction.
A topological optimization of the thermal storage has been performed and the final design of the system has been completed. This will allow for significant performance improvements, specifically in terms of the thermal storage response times, which is expected to be reduced to about 30-40 min. The system is currently under construction.
The biogas driven microturbine has been designed. In particular, a fuel compressor has been developed and tested that can handle biogas with methane content down to 60%. The EnerTwin combustor has been adapted to be able to handle the lower calorific gas and maintain stable and low-emission combustion over the entire operating envelope. The controls of the microturbine has been successfully modified and optimised in order to have stable ignition and hot- and cold start, during ramp-up and ramp-down, and to stay within the emission limitations with as wide gas composition variations. The prototype has been already tested.
An intelligent gateway and three software tools have been developed for: 1) the optimal operation of the RES technologies, 2) the data visualization of the operating conditions and 3) the optimal planning of RES technologies to be integrated in buildings. These components are currently under finalization before being deployed to the pilot sites.
Five pilot sites have been characterized in order to be ready for the installation of the RE-COGNITION systems.
The project is expected to develop solutions that will reduce the dependence on fossil fuels for providing electricity, heating and cooling in buildings. Cost competitiveness with traditional solutions is expected to be achieved by 2025 considering also the effect of economies of scale
For biogas micro-chp system: Adaptation of NG powered micro gas turbine based chp system for bio-gas, with focus on modifying the combustor, the fuel compressor & fuel system, adapt system controls and implement corrosion resistant material components in the flue gas path;
For wind turbine: increase of the capacity factor for urban boundary layer through adaptive inertia capabilities offered by passive variable geometry of pat. pend. vertical wind turbine;
For BIPV: a reduction of 35-40% of LCOE in relation to the state of the art can will be obtained with an optimized coloring process while using recycled laminate as frames
For thermal storage: System design will be performed by selecting the most appropriate pcm material and using topological optimization with proper constrains on the heat transfer material in order to keep manufacturing costs sufficiently small. In addition an advanced control will be used to avoid overheating the pcm material during operation.
For solar cooling: reduction of the installation costs by achieving increased performance of absorption chiller at lower driving temperatures and higher rejecting temperatures. For RE-COGNITION we recalculated embodied energy basing on the additional elements included (solar thermal, hydraulics and new coated coil) and we assumed 50% of cooling energy supplied by renewable thermal source).
For Electrical Storage: the target value for the RE-COGNITION project is set based on the trend in terms of energy and power densities for Li-ion cells. The cost outlook the systems is promising. The central estimate for the energy installation costs is expected to decrease up to 50% and 66% depending on the technology. The combined effect of capital cost reductions and increased cycle lifetimes is most certain to boost further deployment and support the ability of the systems to provide cost effective services to the electricity system.
The iGateway and the software tools that are developed in the project allow an optimal planning and optimal operation of the RES technologies installed or to be installed in buildings.
Project outline