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Project Info

The Project

It is funded by the European Commission through the Framework Programme Seven (FP7) Capacities Work Programme for the benefit of specific groups, Research for the Benefit of SMEs under FP7-BSG-SME-AG.


The Concept

A standard, modular platform technology for domestic heating and hot water systems that enables the cost-effective integration and efficient operation of RES. This will dramatically reduce the cost of installation and expansion of RES which will:

  • increase market penetration;
  • enable significant energy savings for consumers.


The concept will be demonstrated through:

  • a platform topology that enables the effective use of single or multiple RES;
  • intelligent control system to effectively manage multiple heat sources from different manufacturers or suppliers;
  • a methodology to rapidly and accurately dimension a heating and hot water system as a function of different RES and thermal storage systems;
  • a high energy density thermal store that enables a high RES fraction without the need for a very large water store AND enables increases in RES capacity without replacement of expensive hot water stores

 SmartHeat Concept


System Video

Mr John Griggs from the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) explains the SmartHeat platform using the full scale demonstrator based at ISRI. The video can be accessed by following the link below.

SmartHeat Video

 Work Packages

WP1: Preparatory research

  • Model and simulate performance of novel SmartHeat topology as a function of multiple RES, conventional heating and a combination of sensible/ latent thermal storage systems, in order to predict the optimum configuration for a given scenario.
  • Investigate requirements for the control system/interface. Data will be used to simulate different interface configurations and control algorithms.
  • Conduct desktop and in-field survey of domestic heating usage patterns including studies to determine the actual losses incurred due to hydraulic imbalances and under/overheating in hydronic systems. Develop mathematical models to simulate usage patterns, system topology and storage requirements.
  • Select and validate thermal performance of a range of graphite enhanced phase change materials. This will include investigating the nucleation characteristics of graphite phase change composite materials in order to mitigate segregation and determine optimum composite structure for both hydrated salts/ graphite and paraffin wax/ graphite composites. We will also study capillary effects and surface porosity; model the moving boundary problem, in order to develop geometry and topology of heating system and design of heat exchangers.
  • Investigate conductivity measurements as a means to determine status of charge/discharge of PCM (phase change material).      


WP2: Development and optimization of modular thermal storage systems

  • Design of a modular PCM storage vessel with ability to contain pure water and / or PCM materials with different phase change temperatures for specific RES. In case PCM are used it is aimed to increase the energy density by factor 2-3 compared to water as storage medium. The storage vessel will be able to perform more than 10,000 charge/discharge cycles. For the optimized integration into SmartHeat the storage will be able to track the charge/discharge status of PCM with an accuracy of +/- 10 %.
  • Optimise PCM storage for SmartHeat topology as a function of different RES.
  • Demonstrate possible overall system energy density improvement of at least 50% assuming one primary store of 200l and two secondary PCM stores of 50kg each.


WP3: Development of standard interfaces for platform system

  • Develop standard physical interface to enable inter-modular connections (plug and flow capability).
  • Prepare standardised thermal store configurations for different applications and national requirements.
  • Integration of SmartHeat platform with different domestic heating distribution configurations.


WP4: Development universal heating and hot water control system  

  • Develop overall system control approach (hardware and software).

  • Prototype and validate prototype controller in a lab setting.


WP5: Development and integration of SmartHeat platform system prototype                    

  • Integrate SmartHeat platform and build a maximum of four prototypes incorporating sensible and latent heat storage combinations and RES systems.
  • Preparation of 1 transportable SmartHeat
  • Platform for demonstration, training and dissemination (optional).
  • Develop standardised procedures for installation, integration and operation of SmartHeat platform.
  • Document system design and develop a draft standard for distribution to relevant industry bodies.
  • Develop an easy to use design tool that enables rapid dimensioning of relevant SmartHeat storage combinations as a function of available heat sources.


WP6: In-field trials, performance validation and optimisation

  • Installation of 3 full scale prototypes in existing or new built homes (mainly existing to demonstrate upgradability).
  • Demonstration of expandability of SmartHeat platform (in terms of expanding RES capacity).
  • Demonstrate performance improvements for RES used in combination with SmartHeat technologies of at least 20% for an ASHP and >25% for a solar thermal system.
  • Demonstrate up to 50% improvement in payback for a combination of a solar thermal system, ASHP and conventional primary energy heat source for a typical Northern European family (demonstrate benefits for a range of heating and hot water system configurations).
  • Gathering of Information for optimization of platform and installation procedures for installers.


WP7: Innovation related activities           

  • Protect IPR – apply for patents where appropriate.
  • Dissemination – ensure that project results are broadcasted appropriately.
  • Develop a future funding strategy.
  • Exploitation – ensure that project results are exploited to gain maximum benefits for the consortium members and the European economy.
  • Technology transfer from RTO’s to SME associations.
  • Training of SME association members and interested parties.


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