Simulation of energy use in buildings with multiple micro generators

Samir Karmacharya, Ghanim Putrus, Chris Underwood, Khamid Mahkamov, Stephen McDonald, Athanasios Alexakis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This paper focuses on the detailed modelling of micro combined heat and power (mCHP) modules and their interaction with other renewable micro generators in domestic applications based on an integrated modular modelling approach. The simulation model has been developed using Matlab/Simulink and incorporates a Stirling engine mCHP module embedded in a lumped-parameter domestic energy model, together with contributions from micro wind and photovoltaic modules. The Stirling cycle component model is based on experimental identification of a domestic-scale system which includes start up and shut down characteristics. The integrated model is used to explore the interactions between the various energy supply technologies and results are presented showing the most favourable operating conditions that can be used to inform the design of advanced energy control strategies in building. The integrated model offers an improvement on previous models of this kind in that a fully-dynamic approach is adopted for the equipment and plant enabling fast changing load events such as switching on/off domestic loads and hot water, to be accurately captured at a minimum interval of 1 min. The model is applied to two typical 3- and 4-bedroom UK house types equipped with a mCHP module and two other renewable energy technologies for a whole year. Results of the two cases show that the electrical contribution of a Stirling engine type mCHP heavily depends on the thermal demand of the building and that up to 19% of the locally-generated electricity is exported whilst meeting a similar percentage of the overall annual electricity demand. Results also show that the increased number of switching of mCHP module has an impact on seasonal module efficiency and overall fuel utilisation. The results demonstrate the need for the analysis of equipment design and optimal sizing of thermal and electrical energy storage.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)581-592
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Issue number2
Early online date23 Oct 2013
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2014


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