Review of the Built Environment Contribution to the Greenhouse Gas Emission and New Green Energy Devices for Residential Buildings

The built environment is a large contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions. The first step in tackling environmental impact and fuel cost reduction is the minimization of energy losses through introduction of new and more efficient energy conversion technologies. In this study, the potential application of Fuel cell micro-CHP and solar panels in a typical residential and office building is reviewed. A 1.5 kWel fuel cell micro-CHP has been installed in an office building at CIBSE headquarters (HQ). The unit converts natural gas to electricity, using Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) Stack. The installation and data from the operation of the system is discussed. The data shows that the heat recovered from the SOFC stack covers most of the domestic hot water requirement of the office building, requiring minimal top-up from the immersion heater. The thermal output of the SOFC micro-CHP depends on the flow return temperature of the heat recovery loop. Results show the maximum heat recovered is about 1000 W at the return temperature of 15 ̊C and 300 W at 45 ̊C which corresponds to an average combined efficiency of about 85%. The results clearly indicate that to maximise the heat recovery from the SOFC micro-CHP the return temperature should not exceed 45 ̊C. The micro-CHP was successfully integrated to the existing heat supply technology. Based on the initial performance, SOFC micro-CHPs could provide significant energy and cost savings when used appropriately in an office type building. Based on research study there is a huge potential for combining solar and micro-CHP systems.

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