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A micro-trigeneration system was designed, installed, and tested at the Archetype Sustainable House (ASH) of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) to investigate the feasibility of a small-scale integrated energy production system for residential houses in cold climates in North America. The system was equipped with a heat-activated chiller, which was powered by a natural-gas-based Stirling engine cogeneration system. Around 35% of the generated thermal energy was absorbed and stored by the chiller and the rest was recovered for domestic hot-water use. The rate of thermal generation by the engine was around 9 kW (30,709 Btu/h), while the rate of thermal energy storage by the chiller was 3.3 kW (11,260 Btu/h). Due to need of heat rejection by the chiller for both charging and discharging processes, a heat rejection/recovery circuit including three cascade tanks and an outdoor fan-coil was also designed and added to the system. It is shown in this manuscript that a natural-gas-based trigeneration system, because of its high efficiency, can be considered as a potential solution for residential houses in cold climates.

Citation: ASHRAE Transactions - Volume 121, Part 1, Chicago, IL