Experimental and theoretical analysis of the performance of micro co-generation systems based on various technologies
This research is focused on the performance evaluation of micro Combined Heat and Power (mCHP) systems based on modern prime mover technologies using both theoretical and experimental analysis. Estimations of the environmental and economic impact associated with their deployment in residential conditions were also carried out.\ud \ud Experimental work was performed on assessing the dynamic and steady-state performance of the 1 kWe Stirling based mCHP system (Whispergen), the 0.75 kWe Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC, PA Hilton Ltd) and the 5.5 kWe Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) based mCHP (Dachs). Results obtained from experiments (such as partial efficiencies, nominal capacities etc.) were fed directly in a theoretical model. Primary energy requirements corresponding to average UK domestic conditions were simulated based on real life technical data. All theoretical work was conducted using EnergyPlus building simulation tool in which the operation of several hydronic heating systems was modelled. Furthermore, attained experimental data and previously published research results were used to validate the theoretical modelling process.\ud \ud Several operating strategies of the Stirling based mCHP unit were simulated in order to determine the regime which offers highest reduction in carbon emissions and household expenditures. In addition, variations in a number of parameters that significantly affect the performance of the system were investigated including energy consumption profiles, occupancy characteristics, dwelling thermal requirements, domestic hot water tank volume, etc). For the optimum performance strategy, several configurations of co-generation systems with nominal capacity in the range from 1 to 3 kWe were simulated. All simulated mCHP scenarios were compared against a conventional heating equipment. Finally, the advantages of a mass installation on a district level, consisting of 60, 120 and 240 dwellings and utilising a mixture of different mCHP units (ICE, Stirling, PEMFC), were estimated.