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Title: Potential for solar thermal technologies and thermal energy storage to reduce the energy use from Welsh housing
Author: Ampatzi, Eleni
ISNI:       0000 0004 2751 3690
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2010
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This thesis deals with the potential contribution that state-of-the-art solar thermal (ST) systems enhanced by thermal energy storage (TES) technologies might have in reducing the energy use in Welsh dwellings. The focus of this work lies with the share of the overall amount of conventional energy currently consumed for thermal comfort and hot water preparation that could be replaced by solar energy harvested by active, water-based, solar systems. Twelve typical Welsh dwellings drawn from a recent survey and considered as representative of the Welsh housing stock are modelled and the solar collectors' yield for different orientations and tilts is predicted. The subject is investigated with computer simulations using the TRNSYS simulation engine. The methodology dictates at first prediction and analysis of the thermal energy demand profiles of 12x4 case studies using average (smoothed) and actual (warmer) weather conditions, continuous and intermittent comfort maintenance. Next the ST potential is estimated considering solely a maximum (0.7) and an average (0.4) overall system efficiency and no other technical part for the ST system (modelling approach), in order to investigate the mismatch of energy demand and availability and the TES contribution. The performance characteristics of some representative European ST systems (short-term TES only), as derived from the IEA SHC Task 26 FSC method, are then applied to the simulations to reveal the potential with realistic losses and parasitic energy consumption included (applied only to 5 compatible models). It is revealed that all these house types are possible candidates for effective ST applications, assuming that economies of scale would allow for large absorber areas in the near future. The modelling approach shows that ST systems could contribute to thermal savings between 9%-34% solely with direct utilisation of the collected energy. Furthermore, for most cases, if reasonable sized stores would be used (up to 300kWh TES capacity) then the solar contribution to the overall thermal energy consumption, in the most favourable conditions, would be around 42-58%. Only a couple of models appear to have a lower potential, mainly due to lack of sufficient absorber areas. However for reaching the highest end of expectations for certain house types---up to 54% with average and up to 100% with warmer weather conditions---inter-seasonal storage would be required. In this case, the justifiable storage capacities predicted correspond to very large store volumes, revealing that these are currently not feasible options, as sensible heat storage is still the state-of-the-art for TES. Use of innovative storage types identified by the literature survey, that would only be available in the future, are required in order to achieve high solar contributions, considering space limitations in Welsh dwellings. The FSC results show that for the 5 models the use of solar energy would bring thermal energy savings of around 41-47% if the best system is employed compared to a conventional system, while if parasitic (electric) energy consumption is considered the expected energy savings could be as low as 10%. The actual ST potential is analysed and is found to be in between the two approaches, as both methods have advantages and limitations and complement each other.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available