Micro-trigeneration for energy-efficient residential buildings in southern Europe

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2012
Thesis identifier
  • T13198
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • The domestic sector accounts for a substantial 25% of the total energy consumption within the EU. Although a number of measures aimed at reducing this energy consumption have successfully been implemented, in southern Europe this reduction has been partly offset by the increased penetration of residential air conditioning relying on vapour compression packaged split units. A more concrete action is therefore needed. One method which is being proposed is to use microtrigeneration systems to provide combined heating, cooling and electrical power. By recycling the waste heat produced from a small energy conversion system and utilise it to run a thermally activated cooling device, micro-trigeneration has the potential to improve the energy-efficiency of dwellings, hence reducing consumption. An important aspect in evaluating micro-trigeneration and its potential effect on improving energy-efficiency in buildings is the formulation of a detailed assessment of its energetic, environmental and economic performance. This should not be limited only to the present operating conditions but should also include possible future ones. In this context, a lot of research still needs to be done to understand the potential impact that externally imposed conditions, such as those caused by additional measures meant at reducing the overall energy demands of a building, might have on the system. The research presented in this thesis makes use of a combined deterministic and sensitivity analysis methodology in conjunction with data obtained from simulations performed using a whole building simulation tool run at high temporal resolution to model, simulate and assess microtrigeneration performance under varying conditions. The research in this thesis presents the methodology used to create the different scenarios and the resulting results obtained. The outcomes from this PhD work include a new method and tool to generate high resolution electrical demand data incorporating the effect of future energy efficiency savings; a dynamic model of an absorption chiller designed to be easy-to-calibrate and; detailed, integrated models of a trigeneration system along with the Maltese apartment building which it serves. Performance simulation of the trigeneration system for the island of Malta indicated that considering the current local electricity grid network, a residentially installed micro-trigeneration system fed by an internal combustion engine and using an absorption chiller as the thermally activated cooling device, would produce primary energy savings of up to 44% along with CO2 savings of approximately 10,000 kg/yr.
Resource Type
Date Created
  • 2012
Former identifier
  • 947592