The device combines the burning of biomass in the form of wood pellets with a heat pump. University staff collaborated with a private company on the development.
"They came up with the idea of a new hybrid device about five years ago in an attempt to offer a new concept to the market. The subsequent changes caused by the geopolitical situation, including the energy crisis related to the war conflict in Ukraine, proved that this was a very visionary and strategic decision," said university spokeswoman Petra Halíková. She added that the research lasted about three years and was financially supported by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
"The goal was to combine the best of the world of biomass burning and the world of heat pumps. The result is a unique hybrid pellet boiler that has no analogues in Europe. Hybrid operation will always make it possible to find a cheaper solution than if only one of the listed heat sources was available," explained project manager Leopold Benda from the collaborating company BENEKOVterm.
Smart control system
In addition to the combination of both methods of obtaining heat, according to Halíková, the device is also unique in its control system, which the scientists developed directly to measure.
"Depending on the needs of the object, the price of input sources, i.e. electricity or pellets, the control unit itself evaluates when it is more economically advantageous to heat with pellets and when, on the contrary, it is more appropriate to use a heat pump. Based on this, it will automatically activate the given component. It replaces the human factor and the necessity of operating the system. Therefore, our solution is not only comprehensive, but also smart," pointed out Jiří Horák from the Energy Research Center CEET (Center for Energy and Environmental Technologies). According to him, when developing three variants of the device with a thermal output of 10, 25 and 90 kilowatts for different types of objects, the researchers took advantage of many years of knowledge.
"Our long-term goal is to contribute to increasing the efficiency of heat production and reducing emissions of pollutants. The hybrid device developed by us is one of the options for moving away from fossil fuels and at the same time having an operationally comfortable device available. At the same time, it also offers a certain freedom, because the user is not dependent on only one source of heat," stated Horák.
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