Modelling, integration and optimisation of solar thermal technology

  "In the field of solar thermal technology there are numerous models on the market, from the thermosiphon collector to the evacuated-tube and flat plate collectors. However, only integrated collector storage solar water heaters (ICSSWHs) offer an all-in-one package where the storage unit and absorber plate are combined into one compact unit. This presents great space saving capabilities as well as easier installation; with the exclusion of external storage tanks, solar tracking and heating pumps under certain configurations. The focus for this research is the modelling, integration and optimisation of one such ICSSWH for use in a Scottish climate. According to Scottish Executive, Scotland has on average a 10% greater number of degree-days than the UK as a whole thus necessitating additional space heating. Due to the longer insolation periods in summer months and the greater requirement for space and water heating, this form of renewable energy would be highly beneficial.

The focus of the current study is the investigation of a novel type of solar thermal system design and its integration into buildings both from a technical and modelling perspective. The research builds on recent research and is designed to understand, analyse and model the effective operation and performance of the newly developed system. This study will focus on developing the first integrated services panel on the market. The primary goals are developing, testing and modelling an affordable, optimised and feasible integrated collector storage solar water heater (ICSSWH) into a closed panel roofing system. This will be achieved through analysing the practical in-use application of an ICSSWH, following a typical pre-defined draw-off profile, to determine the response of the system under different experimental configurations. To ensure an accurate comparison these tests will be conducted under controlled laboratory conditions using heating pads or solar lamps. Charge and discharge profiles for different configurations will be investigated to ascertain the effectiveness of the proposed ICSSWH system compared with results from previous studies of ICSSWH systems and conventional water heating systems. Continuing on from the extensive work already conducted in this field the contribution to knowledge will focus on the integration of the newly developed ICSSWH into building fabric and evaluating the practical applications in terms of draw-off and in-use profiles."

  • Dates:

    2016 to date

  • Qualification:

    Doctorate (PhD)

Project Team