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Solar-electric Cooling

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWI) / Project Management Jülich

01/2016 - 12/2018

Carsten Heinrich


PV driven Single Split Device with Ice Storage


Both in private households and offices there is a rising tendency to use decentral air conditioners within the last years. Most of them offer a reversible operation of cooling or heating. The desirable comfort gain is related with an increasing need of electrical energy especially in peak times around midday and moreover with an emission of greenhouse gases (indirectly from conventional electricity generation and directly from refrigerant leakage). Counteracting these facts cold generation can be solar driven and natural refrigerants with low GWP-values can be used.

The total number of solar thermal driven chillers increases but is still on a low level. A higher market penetration is mostly inhibited by high investment costs and the complexity of the systems. The results of a previous study showed the unbeatable costs of photovoltaic (PV) based compression refrigeration systems, in some cases even accompanied by higher proportional saving of primary energy than single-stage absorption processes.

Until now there is now standardized linking between PV panels and air conditioner / heat pump leading to an inefficient and non-optimized operation of the whole system. Normally the PV-plant is connected to the grid and feeds power into the grid in particular around noon. In private households the air-conditioners / heat pumps are switched on in the late afternoon, after the people get home. So the maximum solar radiation produces an oversupply of PV-generated power within the grid at noon, whereas the maximum need of power caused by air conditioners / heat pumps occurs in the afternoon / evening. Especially the former fact lowers the acceptance of electricity suppliers for PV-plants. Moreover a substantial potential of self-consumption is unused.

Content and Aims of the Project

Within a collaborative research project with partners in industry and research institutions new concepts and technologies shall be developed, strengthening the usage of PV power for cold / heat supply of buildings. Primary aims are the increasing self-consumption of solar power and the relief of the power grid at the same time by integration of thermal storages and moreover the reduction of the greenhouse gas emission.

The aims are achieved by:

  • Preparation of requirement profiles and boundary conditions for air conditioning systems / heat pumps used in buildings.
  • Creation of concepts for an intelligent integration of thermal storages into systems with photovoltaic power generation and compression refrigeration
  • Development of a regulation algorithm based on weather forecasts for integration into a smart-home-system.
  • Development of a Single-Split-Device with integrated ice storage and use of a refrigerant with low GWP (e.g. propane)


Bavarian Center for Applied Energy Research (ZAE Bayern)

University of applied sciences Munich

Swegon Climate Systems Germany GmbH

Thermofin GmbH

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Institut für Luft- und Kältetechnik - Gemeinnützige Gesellschaft mbH
Bertolt-Brecht-Allee 20, 01309 Dresden

Secretary to the Management



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