Techno-Economic Analysis of Combined Solar Water Heating Systems in Cold Climate Regions

  • Author / Creator
  • Traditional furnaces and gas-based tank water heaters are pervasive in residential buildings in cold climate regions such as in Alberta, Canada, despite the availability of alternative heating systems with higher efficiencies, lower noise production, reduced pollution emission, and which occupy less space. The aim of this study was to perform a techno-economic analysis to consider alternative heating systems as an investment, using the traditional heating system as a benchmark. The alternative heating plants examined were conventional (non-condensing) and condensing boilers and condensing tankless water heaters that were coupled to forced air hydronic air handling units. In this study, a model was created in which a set of similar houses with identical domestic hot water heating load and different floor areas were used to determine the effect of the space heating load on the suitability of the alternative units as a function of the size of the building. A comparison between the annual natural gas consumption, GHG emissions, and mitigation, and annual cost savings for different houses indicated that the tankless water heaters economically attractive and has higher potential for CO2 mitigation of all the systems that were studied. This suggests that tankless water heaters are potentially useful for residential applications for the purpose of garnering energy savings and enabling CO2 mitigation. Moreover, this study considers a techno-economic analysis of a solar water heating system (SWHS) with evacuated tube solar collectors for different solar loads, ranging in size from 20% to 100% of the total roof area of a typical residential building located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The SWHS is combined with different alternative heating systems that are compared to a traditional heating system, consisting of a conventional boiler, applied to houses of various gross floor areas. A comparison among the alternative heating systems for annual natural gas consumption, GHG emissions, and mitigation in various house sizes indicated that the combined solar heating system can reduce the natural gas consumption and CO2 emissions, and increase CO2 mitigation for all the systems that were studied. The results illustrated that solar water heating systems are beneficial for residential heating system usage in terms of energy savings and GHG mitigation. However, because of the values of annual cost savings, and annual GHG abatement costs, combined SWHS would not be suitable as an economic option in Edmonton, Canada, based on the large capital costs of the SWHS.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2016-06:Fall 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Science
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of Mechanical Engineering
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Dr. André McDonald
    • Dr. Amit Kumar
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Mcdonald,André(Department of Mechanical Engineering)
    • Kumar, Amit(Department of Mechanical Engineering)
    • Waghmare, Prashant(Department of Mechanical Engineering)
    • Liang, Hao (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering)