Dipartimento di Energia, Politecnico di Milano


Research Ricerca di Sistema Project

The aim of the project is to overcome some technological barriers that nowadays hinder the realization of small-scale combined heat, cooling and power systems (CHCP), based on polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEFC) and desiccant evaporative cooling system (DEC). Such systems will be characterized by high efficiency, effective air-conditioning capability, very low pollutant emissions, long life time also with a very dynamic load. The activities necessary to achieve this objective are:

  • Modification and optimization of the PEFC CHP Sidera30 system, fed by natural gas, commercialized by ICI Caldaie, in order to operate in CHCP systems. Research activities include the development of a new heat recovery system, improved to maximize its temperature and to minimize reformate fuel impurities and pollutant emission, and a new reactant feeding and humidification system, in order to maximize PEFC efficiency during CHCP operation.
  • Design and realization of innovative highly efficient components for air humidification and heat recovery also in case of small temperature difference. Their optimization and integration in a new DEC system, able to work with the heat generated by PEFC at the low temperature.
  • Integration of the previous two systems in an effective CHCP system. Development of the proper interfaces, working modalities, control logics, in order to optimize its performance, life-time and environmental impact.
ICI Caldaie will be responsible for the PEFC system optimization, focusing on the new heat recovery system development; Recuperator will coordinate the activities on the innovative components for the new DEC system, which are able to operate with a low temperature source; the Department of Energy, Politecnico di Milano, will focus on theoretical and modelling activities, for components design and system optimization, and will carry out some specific and accurate characterizations on the developed innovative components. The project, at its conclusion, will produce the design information and the real components, necessary to realize a CHCP, particularly suitable for application in urban context, thanks to its negligible pollutant emission. The success of this project will increase the competitiveness of CHCP systems, fostering their industrialization and commercialization. The most important benefits will be available for the Italian industries, permitting them to enter in a new and innovative market where at the moment their presence is modest, and both for the electric system and the end-users, because such CHCP systems will permit to reduce primary energy consumption and electric power request during critical periods (since few years the maximum power peak is during summer), decreasing, moreover, the related pollutant emission. The dissemination activities will allow a wide diffusion of energy and environmental performances of the developed systems and components. The documentation will be realized for different targets: scientific community, technical operators and general public. Some events will be organized to present the results of the project. Patents will protect the new achievements on the components; the technical information regarding the whole system will be maintained reserved.
Project details
Project reference: Ricerca di Sistema
Start date: 01 Oct 2011
End date: 30 Sept 2014
Duration: 36 months
Project cost: 1.565.000 euro
Project funding: 644.000 euro
Coordinator: ICI Caldaie (carlo.tregambe@icicaldaie.com)
Other participating organisations:
POLITECNICO DI MILANO (cesare.joppolo@polimi.it , renzo.marchesi@polimi.it) Italy
Recuperator (leone@recuperator.eu) Italy