Duration: 3 years

Start: 10/2014

End: 09/2017

Project partners:

  • SMA Solar Technology AG
  • Vaillant GmbH
  • Institute for Automation of Complex Power Systems, RWTH Aachen University

Sponsor: BMBF – Federal Ministry of Education and Research, promotional reference 13N13297


ACS and EBC from the RWTH Aachen University are working together with SMA and Vaillant in the research project "PV-KWK" supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The project aims to develop a practical smart home energy management strategy to couple photovoltaic (PV) and heating systems i.e. combined heat and power (CHP) and heat pump (HP) units. This strategy makes use of thermal and electrical storage units enabling a flexible operation of the PV and heating systems while ensuring the thermal comfort of the residents. This flexibility allows for optimizing the building energy system according to different goals such as maximizing the self-consumption of electrical power or offering ancillary services for future smart grid applications.

The project focuses on the modular development of the energy management strategy enabling an integration of different combinations of energy conversion units. SMA further develops the PV-energy management while Vaillant optimizes the design of heating systems and the thermal comfort of the residents using a comfort energy manager. ACS and EBC are investigating the integration of the subsystem and focus on the optimization of the overall system.

Moreover, ACS and EBC lead the experimental investigation of the energy system. A Hardware in the Loop (HiL) test platform is currently developed and is going to assess and prove the global system functionalities in a simulated environment reproducing standard and critical operating conditions. These experiments will close the gap between field studies and lab experiments and improve the system iteratively.

The HiL setup, comprising a fexible power source (FlePS), climate chamber and hydraulic interface, emulates the main component of the building energy system. The HiL tests are going to be followed by field trials in real buildings to gather users’ feedback and pave the way for a market launch.