As the energy needed for heating and cooling involves a substantial amount (> 80%) of residential energy utilisation in Canada, there is a demand for ultra-efficient energy systems for heating, cooling, and power generation. Two efficient systems to assist these systems are ground-source heat pumps (GSHPs) and organic Rankine cycles (ORCs). Of particular interest, this paper presents the integration of these two systems in a parallel configuration. A transient simulation model developed in TRNSYS program has been utilised to simulate the thermal performance of the combined ORC-GSHP based microco/trigeneration system. This later supplies heating and cooling to the residential load during the heating mode as required, with the capability to switch to a charging mode, where the ORC unit is directly coupled to the ground heat exchanger (GHE), which operates as a thermal energy storage and provides energy to the GSHP. The feasibility of this combined system configuration as well as its comparison with a conventional GSHP system are investigated for use in residential application in Ottawa, Canada temperature conditions.
Results disclosed that the proposed micro-cogeneration system had the operating hours and performance of the GSHP improved by the addition of the ORC unit, resulting in about 11.8% reduction in hours in the colder city of Ottawa. The COP (coefficient of performance) of the GSHP system sustained a much higher value overall due to the addition of the ORC system to maintain the GHE storage temperature. In terms of net energy reduction between the conventional GSHP system and the ORC-assisted one, results revealed that Ottawa had energy usage reduction of 82.0%, demonstrating that the addition of an ORC to provide heating and recharge the GHE of a GSHP system has many advantages that could be accomplished by the end-user.