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System design and feasibility of trigeneration systems with hybrid photovoltaic-thermal (PVT) collectors for zero energy office buildings in different climates

  • Zero or plus energy office buildings must have very high building standards and require highly efficient energy supply systems due to space limitations for renewable installations. Conventional solar cooling systems use photovoltaic electricity or thermal energy to run either a compression cooling machine or an absorption-cooling machine in order to produce cooling energy during daytime, while they use electricity from the grid for the nightly cooling energy demand. With a hybrid photovoltaic-thermal collector, electricity as well as thermal energy can be produced at the same time. These collectors can produce also cooling energy at nighttime by longwave radiation exchange with the night sky and convection losses to the ambient air. Such a renewable trigeneration system offers new fields of applications. However, the technical, ecological and economical aspects of such systems are still largely unexplored. In this work, the potential of a PVT system to heat and cool office buildings in three different climate zones is investigated. In the investigated system, PVT collectors act as a heat source and heat sink for a reversible heat pump. Due to the reduced electricity consumption (from the grid) for heat rejection, the overall efficiency and economics improve compared to a conventional solar cooling system using a reversible air-to-water heat pump as heat and cold source. A parametric simulation study was carried out to evaluate the system design with different PVT surface areas and storage tank volumes to optimize the system for three different climate zones and for two different building standards. It is shown such systems are technically feasible today. With a maximum utilization of PV electricity for heating, ventilation, air conditioning and other electricity demand such as lighting and plug loads, high solar fractions and primary energy savings can be achieved. Annual costs for such a system are comparable to conventional solar thermal and solar electrical cooling systems. Nevertheless, the economic feasibility strongly depends on country specific energy prices and energy policy. However, even in countries without compensation schemes for energy produced by renewables, this system can still be economically viable today. It could be shown, that a specific system dimensioning can be found at each of the investigated locations worldwide for a valuable economic and ecological operation of an office building with PVT technologies in different system designs.

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Author of HS ReutlingenBraun, Reiner
Erschienen in:Solar energy
Place of publication:Amsterdam
Document Type:Journal article
Publication year:2020
Tag:economic and ecological analysis; hybrid PVT collectors; night radiative cooling; solar cooling; zero energy office buildings
Page Number:10
First Page:39
Last Page:48
DDC classes:530 Physik
Open access?:Ja
Licence (German):License Logo  Creative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International