The objective of the proposed research is to investigate a novel hybrid solar/gas system intended for use in buildings to provide heating, cooling and electricity generation. The proposed system will be driven by solar energy and supplemented by a gas burner (or alternatively a source of waste heat) to provide continuous operation during periods of low insolation or at night. The system will use an "environmentally-friendly" refrigerant such as water and so will be safe and have minimal impact on the environment.
The research programme will involve computer modelling of the system, testing the performance of refrigerants using a small-scale rig and design, construction and testing of a prototype system in a building. The consortium is highly complementary and multi-disciplinary as a result of the combination of the expertise of manufacturing companies (Thermomax Ltd., All Venturi Equipment Ltd.,), an energy utilisation company (Beacon Energy Ltd.) and the research experience of the universities (University of Porto, University of Nottingham). The partners are drawn from two European countries; i.e. Portugal and UK.
The proposed system will be further developed into a commercial product by the industrial partners if this research and development project indicates the system to be viable.
The proposed research aims to provide comfort cooling and electricity generation in buildings without increasing the demand for mains electricity. Moreover, the system has the potential to be a net contributor as any excess electricity generated could be exported to the grid. Its development would improve the competitiveness of EU industry in this important sector. The market potential for the proposed system within the EU is expected to be substantial and a large demand for this type of product in the U.S.A. Middle East, Far East and Africa is also predicted. This research will directly benefit the air-conditioning industry, and will indirectly benefit the building services industry through demand for installation of the product The proposed system does not require any major items of plant and could be installed by local plumbers/electricians, so providing a boost to local employment of skilled and semi-skilled people. The environment will obviously enetit as the system produces minimal CO2 and NOx emissions.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
ST3 2QE Stoke-on-kent - Staffs
LE12 9YE Loughborough
NT19 2UP Bangor
NG7 2RD Nottingham