Using renewable DC energy sources: improving domestic energy efficiency

Thorley, Mark (2016) Using renewable DC energy sources: improving domestic energy efficiency. [USQ Project]

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For over 100 years the generation of AC electricity has occurred at central locations with distribution through the utility grids to the load. However, in recent years there has been a significant rise in the installation of residential embedded generation, primarily in the form of photovoltaics, which generate DC energy. There is also an impending revolution in the installation of distributed domestic battery storage systems which also utilise DC energy. Finally, there is an increase in the number of electronic devices operating primarily on DC in use in daily domestic applications.

The combination of these three situations raises the question of using DC energy directly from the generation or storage medium without inverting to AC first. This project seeks to answer this question through determining if an efficiency gain, both energy and financial, can be achieved.

To complete this analysis, an investigation of AC and DC energy supplies was conducted with the various advantages and disadvantages being reviewed. Average residential usage profiles were determined along with average daily consumption. Models were created to simulate their function. Once the models were developed a range of AC and DC configurations were simulated with and without photovoltaics and battery storage systems installed.

This modelling determined that converting a residential installation to DC, whilst still maintaining an AC grid connection through a central inverter/rectifier, yielded an energy saving of between 1.686% and 4.694%. However financially, the operation of an AC system with photovoltaics connected was the best option. This is a configuration that is very popular for residential installations.

Despite residential DC utilisation offering an energy efficiency gain over the accepted AC, the financial benefits are still not available and the absence of residential DC appliances makes further advancement in the area difficult. However, with the continuation of photovoltaic installations, the impending installation of battery storage systems, changing consumer load types and the positive results determined by this project, it is clear that residential DC installations could be a viable option in the not too distant future.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Major Electrical & Electronic Engineering project
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Helwig, Andreas
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2017 01:54
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2017 01:54
Uncontrolled Keywords: renewable DC energy sources; domestic energy efficiency; generation of AC electricity; utility grids
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0906 Electrical and Electronic Engineering > 090608 Renewable Power and Energy Systems Engineering (excl. Solar Cells)
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4008 Electrical engineering > 400803 Electrical energy generation (incl. renewables, excl. photovoltaics)

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