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Institut für Solartechnik SPF of the University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil (HSR)

The Institut für Solartechnik SPF has a staff of 30 people and is part of the University of Applied Sciences Rapperswil (HSR). The scientists at SPF can draw upon 30 years of experience with regards to testing, research and development of materials, components, systems, and software in the field of solar thermal energy. SPF has been active or is active in different international projects (e.g. several Tasks of the IEA-SHC, and the EU-projects NEGST and SOLABS). Testing infrastructure at SPF includes eleven two-axis trackers for collector tests, a solar simulator, measurement of optical properties, testing of internal and external heat exchangers, durability tests for materials, etc. Additionally, software tools for raytracing, CFD and FEM are used at SPF for the development and optimization of solar thermal components and the annual energy efficiency simulation tools Polysun (developed by SPF) and TRNSYS are used for system optimizations. HSR SPF is project coordinator and thus responsible for the management of the whole project consortium.

The scientific work of HSR SPF in the MacSheep project includes:

  • Whole system testing: As one of the first institutions worldwide, SPF developed a method for dynamic whole system testing of central heating systems that provide domestic hot water and space heating with a combination of different heat sources, including renewable energies (WP2).
  • Development of collectors that can use solar radiation as well as ambient heat and collectors with reduced temperatures in stagnation (WP3).
  • Development of heat storages with better stratification of the heat pump cycle input in order to maintain high coefficients of performance for the heat pump while charging for DHW or space heat, with special measures to avoid mixing of different temperatures (e.g. DHW and space heat zones), and with PCM on the cold side of the heat pump (WP5).
  • Simulations: All developments will be accompanied by the development and use of simulation tools (e.g. EES, TRNSYS) in order to study the effect of different constructions or control options on the short term performance of single devices and on the annual exergy and energy efficiency of the overall system.

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