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MacSheep - New Materials and Control for a next generation of compact combined Solar and heat pump systems with boosted energetic and exergetic performance

The objective of this project is to develop new innovative products and advanced test methods for a next generation of compact combined renewable energy systems based on solar thermal and heat pump technology for space heating and hot water preparation, using breakthroughs in ICT, new materials and technology. The goal is to achieve 25% energy savings compared to current state of the art systems, with still competitive prices on the market. Thus, the work proposed aims for a seasonal performance factor of the system (solar and heat pump) of e.g. 6 as compared to 4.5 for the current state of the art. This will be possible by using new materials, components and ICT in an integrative approach for new system concepts where the focus is on the overall system's cost and performance. A systematic approach is used to evaluate new breakthroughs such as e.g. low-cost materials and selective paint for solar collectors that collect solar irradiation as well as ambient heat and PV/T collectors that produce heat as well as electricity. Exergetic optimization of heat pump circuits includes using de-superheating heat exchangers for DHW preparation as a by-product of the more efficient space heating operation, and variable speed controlled compressors for heat pumps that match the collector heat input to the evaporator and/or the demand. New storage concepts include phase change materials (PCM) on the cold side of the heat pump, low cost materials for storage tank construction, improved temperature stratification and charging/discharging control. On the control and ICT side, weather and user forecast based predictive control for intelligent storage charging by different heat sources helps to increase the overall system performance significantly. Online monitoring and fault detection within small controller units are used to increase system reliability both for the installation phase and for the whole operational life of the installation.

This project receives funding from the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2011) of the European Union under grant agreement no. 282825 (Acronym MacSheep). The project duration is from January 2012 to December 2015. The subprogramme area is ENERGY.2011.4.1-1.

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