Thermodynamic efficiency of low-carbon domestic heating systems

Heat pumps and micro-cogeneration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)
77 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Energy and exergy analysis is employed to compare the relative thermodynamic performance of low-carbon domestic
energy systems based on air source heat pumps and micro-combined heat and power (cogeneration) units. A wide range
of current units are modelled under different operating conditions representative of the United Kingdom to determine
the energy and exergy flows from primary energy inputs through to low-carbon heating system and then to end use. The
resulting performances are then analysed in order to provide insights regarding the relative merits of the systems under
the different operating constraints that may be experienced both now and into the future. Although current mid-range
systems achieve comparable performance to a condensing gas boiler, the state-of-art offers considerable improvements.
Micro-combined heat and power units and air source heat pumps have the technical potential to improve the energy
performance of dwellings. The relative performance and potential of the systems is dominated by the electrical characteristics: the grid electrical generation efficiency, the power-to-heat demand ratio and the availability of electrical
export. For total power-to-heat demands below 1:1.5, air source heat pumps have greater improvement potential as
their energy efficiency is not constrained. At higher power-to-heat ratios, micro-combined heat and power units offer
the potential for higher overall efficiency and this generally occurs irrespective of whether or not the thermal energy
from them is used effectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18-29
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part A: Journal of Power and Energy
Volume227
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2013

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Heat pump systems
Air source heat pumps
Thermodynamics
Heating
Carbon
Exergy
Thermal energy
Boilers
Energy efficiency
Hot Temperature
Availability
Gases

Keywords

  • Heat pump
  • micro-combined heat and power
  • micro-cogeneration
  • exergy analysis
  • domestic heating

Cite this

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title = "Thermodynamic efficiency of low-carbon domestic heating systems: Heat pumps and micro-cogeneration",
abstract = "Energy and exergy analysis is employed to compare the relative thermodynamic performance of low-carbon domesticenergy systems based on air source heat pumps and micro-combined heat and power (cogeneration) units. A wide rangeof current units are modelled under different operating conditions representative of the United Kingdom to determinethe energy and exergy flows from primary energy inputs through to low-carbon heating system and then to end use. Theresulting performances are then analysed in order to provide insights regarding the relative merits of the systems underthe different operating constraints that may be experienced both now and into the future. Although current mid-rangesystems achieve comparable performance to a condensing gas boiler, the state-of-art offers considerable improvements.Micro-combined heat and power units and air source heat pumps have the technical potential to improve the energyperformance of dwellings. The relative performance and potential of the systems is dominated by the electrical characteristics: the grid electrical generation efficiency, the power-to-heat demand ratio and the availability of electricalexport. For total power-to-heat demands below 1:1.5, air source heat pumps have greater improvement potential astheir energy efficiency is not constrained. At higher power-to-heat ratios, micro-combined heat and power units offerthe potential for higher overall efficiency and this generally occurs irrespective of whether or not the thermal energyfrom them is used effectively.",
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