Decarbonisation of heating and cooling in buildings can be achieved through switching fuels and transferring the demand from Natural Gas to low-carbon electricity. It is generally agreed that heat pump and thermal storage technologies can make a significant contribution to this decarbonisation process. However, switching fuels will put additional pressure on the electricity network and will bring challenges in demand-side management, and will increase the need for flexibility in energy demand. This research will first explore how the performance gap between the theoretical and actual performance of heating and cooling systems can be reduced. In addition, the research will assess the potential of the technology to contribute to demand-side management through increasing demand flexibility. This study will explore how flexibility (in time of use) can be provided for the electricity demand associated with heating and cooling. This will be achieved through the integration of heat pump systems and advanced heat storage technologies including hot water, Phase Change Materials (PCM), and the thermal mass of buildings together with a series of control mechanisms for energy-efficient operation of heating and cooling systems. The main research question is to what extent the integration of heat pump and thermal storage technologies together with the intermittent operation of heating systems can contribute to the decarbonisation of heating and cooling processes, shifting the electricity demand and providing flexibility to the demand in peak load while addressing the required thermal comfort.
Applicants should have a minimum of a 2.1 honours degree (or equivalent) and Preferably a Master’s degree in Engineering / Computing/ applied mathematics or a relevant discipline. Applicants will be judged on their academic experience, their understanding of the proposed research topic and their references.Experiences in numerical modelling and knowedge of building services are essential. In addition, skills in programming preferably in Matlab and being familiar with Building Performance Simulation tools such as EnergyPlus and TRNSYS are desirable.