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Report RSE 17001211

Experimental test and evaluation of SINCLER and SINCLER+ (dual source), hybridphotovoltaic/thermal solar heat pump systems developed by RSE for space heating and cooling operation, domestic hot water production


The report deals with two efficient integrated systems for air conditioning, developed by RSE with the name SINCLER (Sistema Integrato di Climatizzazione Efficiente e Rinnovabile) and SINCLER +, designed to meet the needs of air conditioning and sanitary hot water for civil buildings, using a reversible air pump with storage tank, hybrid solar panels and a valid distribution and control system.

In the SINCLER system, thermal energy produced by hybrid panels is used to produce hot water, and the electricity generated by the same panels is used to power the heat pump and the various loads of the building. In periods with reduced solar radiation, the hot water produced by the panels, accumulated in a dedicated tank, is supplemented by the water heated by the heat pump and stored in a second reservoir. The use of two separate storage tanks produces energy benefits since it makes it possible to keep the temperature lower in the tank connected with the hybrid panels and therefore improve the thermal and electrical production of the panels. The SINCLER system has been tested at the Terni RSE laboratory, which uses spaces provided by Sviluppumbria under a collaboration agreement with RSE. The monitoring has shown that hybrid panels have, compared to photovoltaic panels with the same cells, increased electrical output and, in addition, an appreciable thermal performance. The heat pump has performed well in summer and winter. The radiant floor heating system had a mean winter COP of 10% higher than a previous experimentation with fan-coils. The renewable air regeneration system with active thermodynamic recovery was monitored during the winter season, where it proved a good energy efficiency with an average COP over the October to December period of over 3.

The SINCLER+ product is an innovative integrated air-conditioning system based on a dual-source heat pump, with two source side heat exchangers (air and water), assisted by hybrid solar panels. The innovative part of the system is the realization of an original optimized system configuration for the Italian climate (to date, in fact, literature shows that most of the studies are for helium assisted machines for rigid climates). In particular, the heat pump normally uses the external air exchanger, but it also has the ability to use a water exchanger connected to a storage tank connected with hybrid panels. The unit is equipped with control logic that can handle the two heat exchangers in order to obtain the maximum performance of the heat pump and, at the same time, increase the electrical and thermal efficiency of the hybrid panels throughout the year. In the SINCLER + system, an air heat pump was transformed into a "dual source" machine by means of changes to its gas circuit and the insertion of a gas/water plate exchanger. This system was installed in a laboratory building at the RSE headquarters in Milan with the aim of simulating a single-family home. The implementation and installation of the system were completed in December 2016. The first field tests, with the stiff temperatures of the beginning of 2017, had very interesting results, even higher than expectations. The test system has been able to increase the heat pump's performance in the early hours of the morning, eliminating defrost cycles and performance (COP) was far superior to normal air operation. The system developed was also very interesting in view of avoiding or reducing the defrost cycles typical of aerothermal machines.

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