Dynamic modelling of seasonal solar thermal energy storage
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Our world is on the verge of a new era where fossil fuels are no longer viable. The rapidly emerging renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind, are intermittent in nature, where supply does not coincide with demand. An entirely renewable future can only be possible if energy storage is implemented effectively and efficiently. The implementation of seasonal solar thermal energy storage for heating or cooling purposes can be of great benefit to energy efficiency and renewable expansion. The study of such thermal systems is fairly complex, due to the interaction of various systems and their dynamic nature. Such complex dynamic systems require the development of dynamic models to effectively replicate and simulate their performance. The development of a novel dynamic model under the MATLAB environment will be demonstrated, capable of precisely assessing the behaviour of a seasonal solar thermal energy storage system, used for space heating purposes. The validity of this model will be demonstrated, based on experimental published results. The developed model has the strength and flexibility to be applied and adapted under a great variety of conditions. Such variables include the climatic conditions, type, number and configuration of solar collectors, type and configuration of thermal storage and type, shape and size of building to be heated. Beyond the flexibility of the developed model, it will be demonstrated that it can be of great benefit to the optimization of such thermal system during the design process, taking into consideration the thermal performance and financial characteristics.