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John O | February 2019

U.K. university demonstrates sustainable hybrid heating system that uses off-peak electricity

By Josh Perry, Editor


Researchers at the University of Chester (U.K.) used computer simulations to demonstrate the viability of a renewable integrated and sustainable electric (RISE) hybrid heating system composed of an air source heat pump (ASHP), a thermal storage tank, and an off-peak-powered thermal storage boiler.


Professor John Counsell and Dr. Yousaf Khalid are designing a sustainable hybrid heating system. (University of Chester)


According to a report from the university, the system stores electricity during off-peak hours and converts it into a supply of low-cost heat that is only used when needed. This technology would reduce the demand on the national electrical grid and reduce carbon emissions.


This research was funded as part of the Innovate UK project and meets the demands of the U.K.’s Clean Growth Strategy, which focuses on reducing carbon emissions by 2050.


“The cold temperatures in March last year also saw the National Grid issuing a warning that the UK would not have enough gas to meet public demand,” the article explained. “While this does not automatically affect households, who are the priority in such scenarios, it impacts instead on industrial use, which potentially becomes limited – as well as on the cost of future supply.”


The hybrid heating system uses a thermal storage boiler, based on Glen Dimplex’s quantum storage technology, which uses nighttime electricity to heat bricks inside it, and hot water pipes turn to the off-peak boiler to warm water during peak heating hours.


“During off-peak hours, the off-peak boiler charges itself and the heating is provided by the second heat source – the Air Source Heat Pump,” the article continued. “The heat pump operates like a fridge in reverse. Similarly, the heat pump extracts heat from outside air and uses it to heat the water stored in the hot water storage tank. When the next peak heating time arrives, the hot water from the storage tank is circulated to the radiators and topped up with heat from the off-peak boiler.”


Research will continue and second-generation prototypes are being designed for the control system and the boiler.

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