IKERLAN-IK4 is taking part in a European project the aim of which is to design a single installation that will, at the same time, produce electricity, cold and heat for domestic use, while affording a notable reduction in environmental impact. In the PolySMART project, 32 organisations from eight European countries are participating, with a budget of 14.3 million euros and a projected period of four years.
Some large installations - sports centre, hotels and large industry - already use systems capable of generating both electricity and refrigeration for air conditioning and heat for heating and hot sanitary. This integrated, trigeneration system provides significant energy and environmental advantages. However, for domestic use, its installation meets a number of problems.
With its participation in PolySMART, the IKERLAN-IK4 Centre for Technological Research aims to overcome these difficulties and barriers to the home installation of the energy-saving technology and demonstrate that is economically, technically and environmentally viable to adapt these installations to individual household consumption. Its main objective is to achieve a single installation that supplies all the energy demands in our homes. To this end, other centres of reference in the field of energy in buildings are collaborating, such as the German Fraunhofer-ISF or the Dutch ECN. Another two companies from the Spanish State are working together with IKERLAN-IK4 - Rotartica and Besel.
The main task of IKERLAN-IK4 in the project consists of building a pilot installation with these specifications in the laboratory "home" at the Araba Technological Park and the subsequent close monitoring of the functioning of the system. The installation is made up of a field of thermal solar collectors, an absorption machine designed by Rotartica in collaboration with IKERLAN and a generator driven by a gas engine. This installation will form part of a total of 12 that those countries involved in PolySMART are to build and monitor in an experimental phase.
The hoped-for result for IKERLAN-IK4 is the facilitating of the widespread installation of these systems in households, demonstrating their economical and ecological viability, placing special emphasis on emerging innovative technologies in refrigeration, these being more respectful to the environment than conventional ones. To facilitate this task, IKERLAN is leading a team charged with drawing up technical guidelines and developing design and installation tools, as well as the generation of data on the economical and ecological viability of the systems.
In this way, households of the future will have a single, self-sufficient energy supply system, four time more efficient than current electrical production, and will have air conditioning without the need to employ any refrigerant noxious that is noxious for the environment. Moreover, heat waves will no longer result in general blackouts caused by peaks of electrical consumption due to refrigeration; instead of consuming electrical energy in the hottest periods, our houses will produce it.