Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Heating units based on renewable sources for home use

Domestic heating accounts for 26 % of Europe's energy demand and contributes billions of tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually. Sustainable and low-cost technology could soon meet the need without the emissions.
Heating units based on renewable sources for home use
Decentralising energy production and exploiting renewable resources is an excellent way to enhance energy efficiency and ameliorate climate impact. Solar thermal heating systems provide hot water with heat from the Sun and air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) extract heat from outside air for household heating. Both are reasonably efficient but widespread market uptake requires optimisation and cost reduction.

Scientists working on the EU-funded project 'A novel modular solar air source heat pump system' (SOLARIS) sought to develop a modular combined solar–ASHP system. They set high goals for efficiency relative to conventional ASHPs or combination solar thermal heating and ASHP systems, and for a 60 % price reduction compared to the two separate systems. Following significant research and development on the solar collector, the ASHP heat exchanger and the low-power consumption control system, four prototype units were installed. Two were subjected to field tests in Spain and Ireland, where one was installed in a climatic chamber and one on a mobile test rig.

Preliminary results demonstrate that SOLARIS systems are more efficient than currently available systems. In addition, cost objectives were surpassed and a payback analysis showed that the unit is a more cost-effective way to deliver heat and hot water to homes throughout the EU than its competition. Continued in-field validation trials and further optimisation are expected to bring the technology to the marketplace quickly with important benefits for business, consumers and the environment.

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