Title:
Building energy storage and conversion apparatus
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A building energy storage and conversion apparatus includes at least a control unit, an electric power conversion unit, an energy conversion unit and a thermoelectric conversion unit to regulate energy sources of the electric power conversion unit. The energy conversion unit generates cold/heat energy which is stored through a heat storage equipment (for cold/heat energy). The cold/heat energy can be released when needed. When the cold/heat energy is in a surplus state, it can be converted to electric power through the thermoelectric conversion unit or stored in the form of electric power. Thus energy resources can be converted and utilized in an optimal fashion to achieve energy self-sufficiency of a building. Moreover, energy exchange with other buildings in the neighborhood can be done to balance demand and supply. In the event of energy shortage, the needed electric power is obtained from a public power supply system to establish a regional energy exchange mechanism to save energy and achieve flexible use of energy resources inside and outside the building.



Inventors:
Weng, Kuo Liang (Tai-Ping, TW)
Weng, Ou Yang (Tai-Ping, TW)
Tsai, Ching Ying (Tai-Ping, TW)
Weng, Chien Lun (Tai-Ping, TW)
Weng, Ling Hua (Tai-Ping, TW)
Weng, Ching Ju (Tai-Ping, TW)
Lin, Shih Wei (Tai-Ping, TW)
Application Number:
12/216862
Publication Date:
01/14/2010
Filing Date:
07/11/2008
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04H14/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
LIN, JASON
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ROSENBERG, KLEIN & LEE (ELLICOTT CITY, MD, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A building energy storage and conversion apparatus, comprising at least a control unit, an electric power conversion unit, an energy conversion unit and a thermoelectric conversion unit, wherein: the control unit controls operations of said various units to regulate and control storing and conversion of energy resources; the electric power conversion unit is controlled by the control unit to control input sources of electric power that include at least one power supply; the energy conversion unit generates cold energy and heat energy and store heat and includes at least a heat source equipment and a heat storage equipment; and the thermoelectric conversion unit generates electric power by adopting See-back temperature difference thermoelectric effect to generate the electric power by converting the thermoelectric effect of cold energy and heat energy temperature difference.

2. The building energy storage and conversion apparatus of claim 1, wherein the heat storage equipment includes at least a cold storage device and a heat storage device.

3. The building energy storage and conversion apparatus of claim 1 further having an electricity storage unit to store surplus electric power.

4. The building energy storage and conversion apparatus of claim 1, wherein the heat source equipment includes at least a host, a heat generator, a cold generator and an intermediate heat exchanger.

5. The building energy storage and conversion apparatus of claim 1, wherein the sources of electric power of the electric power conversion unit includes electric power supplied by an energy apparatus.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a building energy storage and conversion apparatus and particularly to an apparatus to effectively integrate various types of energy resources inside and outside a building and make optimal conversion and utilization thereof to supply energy required in the building to achieve onsite energy self-sufficiency and incorporate with other buildings in the neighborhood to balance energy demand and supply and obtain power from public power supply systems in case needed to establish a regional energy exchange mechanism to save energy and flexibly utilize the energy resources inside and outside the building.

2. Description of the Prior Art

The energy resources of the earth have been consumed by mankind in the past one hundred years at an alarming speed. The accelerated and voracious consumption of energy resources have caused global warming and climatic change, and seriously threaten the survival of human being. Only through saving and more discreet use of energy can prevent catastrophe from falling to the mankind and keep the earth continuously running in a sustainable manner.

In order to solve the energy problems many types of renewable energies have been developed, such as solar energy, wind power, fuel cells and the like. One of typical applications is electric power systems adopted on buildings. Refer to FIG. 1 for a renewable energy conversion approach now widely adopted on buildings. It has an energy apparatus 11 to provide renewable energy (such as solar energy, hydrogen fuel, wind power or the like) and generate electric power supply. It also has a controller 14 to control a converter 13 to convert and select a building power supply system 15 to supply electric power needed. The power supply mainly includes three types: first, power from the energy apparatus 11; second, power from a public power supply system 12; third, power supplied simultaneously by the two types mentioned above. However, the known energy structure at present still has shortcomings in practice, notably:

1. In a building, aside from lighting which consumes a greater amount of energy, air conditioning equipments which also consume a great deal of energy often are not included in energy saving items. Due to the building is always thermally affected by external and internal environments, an uncomfortable heated feeling frequently occurs inside the building. This problem has to be overcome through air conditioning. But the air conditioning, aside from providing a comfortable indoor environment, also generates thermal pollution such as consuming energy and producing waste heat. This not only creates ill consequences such as urban heat island effect and greenhouse effect, also seriously contaminates the eco-environment of the earth. It also results in huge waste of energy resources. Moreover, the climate temperature gradually rises due to the waste energy has been constantly discharged into the external environment. As a result, loading of air conditioning equipments increases and operation efficiency is lower.

2. The known energy schemes of a building mostly focus on conversion of the generated electric power without fully considering better utilization of heat energy in the building and integration of the building and electric power. This is a big loophole in energy resource management. As a result a great deal of investment has been made on generation of electric power and utilization thereof, but heat energy of the building is wasted. And the heat inside and outside the building is not being treated as an energy resource and is poorly used. In many cases the heat inside and outside the building even is treated as waste heat and discharged. Thus energy saving effect cannot be easily achieved in terms of energy resource management.

3. The renewable energy resources such as solar energy and wind power are constrained by natural conditions, and are not reliable in terms of electricity generation and timing. According the present energy resource management schemes, they can only be used as power supply at the generating instant. In the event that sunlight or wind power is sufficient, surplus electric power may be sold to the public power supply system 12. But in peak load periods or during the energy apparatus 11 cannot meet power demand, users have to buy electric power from the public power supply system 12. This results in a power price difference of selling the power at a lower price but buying the power at a higher price. In addition to energy loss incurred to the conversion system, the users do not enjoy their share of benefits. If a scheme can be developed to allow the users to use the surplus electric power onsite, or further convert and store, and balance energy demand and supply with other buildings in the neighborhood to establish a regional energy exchange mechanism, and get supply from the public power supply system 12 for the shortage, a significant portion of power expenditure can be saved.

Based on previous discussion it is obvious that the conventional energy structure does not have an integrated planning for the energy resources in a building. It also neglects the importance of effectively utilizing the internal and external heat energy of the building and integration of regional electric power. Although the Applicant has submitted R.O.C. patent application No. 91125414 aiming to flexibly use electric power in the off-peak period and store energy through an air-conditioning equipment, and release heat energy during peak hours to balance electric power usage periods, and ultimately save electric power and balance the power in the peak and off-peak periods, it still does not fully utilize the heat energy inside and outside the building, or fully integrate regional electric power to achieve flexible power usage. There are still rooms for improvement.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Therefore it is an object of the present invention to provide a building energy storage and conversion apparatus which includes at least a control unit, an electric power conversion unit, an energy conversion unit and a thermoelectric conversion unit. The electric power conversion unit has a power supply which can be regulated through the invention. The energy conversion unit generates cold and heat energy which can be utilized in an optimum fashion according power requirement. The invention also has a heat storage equipment to store heat (storing cold/heat energy), and release the cold/heat energy at a required time through. In the event that surplus cold/heat energy occurs the thermoelectric conversion unit can supply electric power. Thus energy resources can be converted and used in the optimum fashion. As a result, energy supply self-sufficiency can be achieved first for a building. Then balance of energy demand and supply can be accomplished with other buildings in the neighborhood to meet mutual requirements and establish a regional exchange mechanism to meet overall demand and supply. Finally, in the event that the self-generating electric power is not adequate, needed power can be obtained from a public electric power supply system. Thus energy resources can be managed and utilized onsite in a centralized fashion to reduce transmission loss of remote energy transportation. And energy saving effect can be achieved, and energy resources inside and outside the building can be flexibly utilized.

In one aspect, the electric power conversion unit is controlled by the control unit to control sources of various types of electric power. The electric power sources include at least one power supply, for instance, electric power provided by the public power supply system, electric power provided by the energy apparatus such as electric power converted from solar energy, electric power generated by wind power, electric power generated by fuel cells and electric power converted from other renewable energy sources.

In another aspect the energy conversion unit includes a heat source equipment and a heat storage equipment. The heat source equipment includes at least a host, a heat generator, a cold generator and an intermediate heat exchanger. The heat storage equipment includes a cold storage device and a heat storage device.

In yet another aspect, the thermoelectric conversion unit generates electric power by adopting See-back temperature difference thermoelectric effect that generates the electric power by conversion of thermoelectric effect of cold/heat energy temperature difference.

In yet another aspect, the energy storage and conversion apparatus further include an electricity storage unit to store surplus electric power through batteries.

The foregoing, as well as additional objects, features and advantages of the invention will be more readily apparent from the following detailed description, which proceeds with reference to the accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a schematic view of a conventional energy conversion scheme.

FIG. 2 is a schematic view of the structure of the invention.

FIG. 3 is a schematic view of the structure of the energy conversion unit of the invention.

FIG. 4 is flowchart-1 of the invention.

FIG. 5 is flowchart-2 of the invention.

FIG. 6 is a schematic view of the invention in operating conditions.

FIG. 7 is a schematic view of the structure of a second embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 8 is flowchart-1 of the second embodiment of the invention.

FIG. 9 is flowchart-2 of the second embodiment of the invention.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

Referring to FIGS. 2 and 6, the energy storage and conversion apparatus 3 according to the invention includes at least a control unit 31, an electric power conversion unit 32, an energy conversion unit 33 and a thermoelectric conversion unit 34.

The control unit 31 aims to control operations of various units mentioned above to regulate and control optimal processing of storage and conversion of energy resources.

The electric power conversion unit 32 is controlled by the control unit 31 to control various types of input sources of electric power and provide electric power required by a building B. The power source includes at least one power supply, such as electric power provided by a public power supply system 42, or electric power provided by an energy apparatus 41 such as electric power converted from solar energy, electric power generated by wind power, electric power generated by fuel cells and electric power converted from other renewable energy sources.

The energy conversion unit 33 aims to generate cold energy and heat energy and store heat (including cold energy and heat energy), and includes at least a heat source equipment 331 and a heat storage equipment 332. The heat storage equipment 332 includes at least a cold storage device 3321 and a heat storage device 3322.

The thermoelectric conversion unit 34 aims to generate electric power by adopting the See-back temperature difference thermoelectric effect to generate electric power by conversion of thermoelectric effect of cold/heat energy temperature difference.

The energy storage and conversion apparatus 3 uses the cold/heat energy stored in the heat storage equipment 332, and directly supplies the stored cold/heat energy to a required cold environment C and a required heat environment H (the cold energy environment, depending on industrial requirements, may be divided into a number of situations such as below 30° C. for industrial use, 0-30° C. or 0-10° C. for commercial use; while heat energy environment may be divided into some other situations such as 50° C. or more for industrial use, and 40° C.-50° C. for commercial and household uses). Moreover, when the stored cold/heat energy is more than the use requirement, the surplus energy can be converted through the thermoelectric conversion unit 34 by applying See-back temperature difference thermoelectric effect to generate electric power. Therefore all or a designated portion of electric power needed in the building B can be supplied to achieve maximum utilization of energy resources in the building.

Refer to FIGS. 4 and 5 for process flow 5 of the invention (also referring to FIGS. 2 and 6). When the energy apparatus 41 starts operation (for instance, in the event of generating electric power through solar energy, the energy apparatus 41 receives photo energy of sunshine and converts to electric power), electric power E1 is generated and transmitted to the electric power conversion unit 32, and the control unit 31 compares a set value EOS of total electric power requirement of the building B with the electric power E1 generated by the energy apparatus 41 (namely the control unit 31 is equipped with processing and detection capability). The process flow includes the procedures as follow:

1. When the value of electric power E1 generated by the energy apparatus 41 is greater than or equal to the set value EOS of total electric power requirement of the building B, namely E1≧EOS (step 501), the electric power E1 generated by the energy apparatus 41 can meet total electric power requirement EOS of the building B (generally is in off peak periods and electric power requirement in the building is smaller, such as clustered residences in daytime while people have gone to offices or other places). The surplus electric power has to be utilized. Hence the control unit 31 activates the energy conversion unit 33, and judges whether heat energy Q generated by the energy conversion unit 33 is greater than or equal to a total required heat energy set value QOS (step 502) of the building B, and the following processes are executed accordingly:

(1) in a condition of Q≧QOS, the heat energy is surplus, and the heat storage equipment 332 is activated to store heat (storing cold/heat energy) (step 503); when the stored heat amount N reaches a heat storage set value NS, the control unit 31 activates the thermoelectric conversion unit 34 (steps 504 and 505), and the cold energy released by the cold storage device 3321 and the heat energy released by the heat storage device 3322 of the heat storage equipment 332 are being used to generate electric power E2 by the thermoelectric conversion unit 34 through See-back temperature difference thermoelectric effect. The generated electric power E2 can be converted to DC or AC power to supply the building B. In the event that the sum of the electric power E1 generated by the energy apparatus 41 and the electric power E2 generated by the thermoelectric conversion unit 34 is greater than or equal to the set value EOS of total electric power requirement of the building B, namely E1+E2≧EOS (step 506), the electric power is in a surplus state, and step 507 is executed to determine whether the surplus power to be sold to the public power supply system 42 (step 507). If there is a sales contract between the building owner and the public power supply system 42, step 508 is executed to sell the surplus electric power to the public power supply system; if there is no sales contract, step 509 is executed, namely electric power conversion is stopped.

(2) If the condition Q≧QOS does not exist, namely Q<QOS (step 510), the total required heat energy set value QOS of the building B is greater than the heat energy Q generated by the energy conversion unit 33, then step 511 is executed, and the heat source equipment 331 directly supplies heat to the heat environment H (or cold environment c) of the building B (including supply of heat energy or cold energy). In the event that the stored heat amount N of the heat storage equipment 332 has reached the heat storage set value NS, it starts to release heat (release cold/heat energy) (steps 512 and 413); on the other hand, if the stored heat amount N is less than the heat storage set value NS, the heat storage equipment 332 proceeds heat storing (storing cold/heat energy) (step 514). Thus heat storing and releasing processes can be performed at the same time. This is another feature of the invention.

2. In the event that the condition E1≧EOS does not exist, namely E1<EOS, the electric power E1 generated by the energy apparatus 41 cannot fully meet the set value EOS of total electric power requirement of the building B, and in the event that another condition E1+E2<EOS also exists, the set value EOS of total electric power requirement of the building B is greater than the sum of the electric power E1 generated by the energy apparatus 41 and electric power E2 generated by the thermoelectric conversion unit 34, then the public power supply system 42 has to be included to supply the required electric power (steps 515 and 516); meanwhile, supply and demand condition of heat energy has to be determined. In the event that Q<QOS (step 517), the total required heat energy set value QOS of the building B is greater than the heat energy Q generated by the energy conversion unit 33 (step 510), the heat source equipment 331 directly supplies heat (step 511) to the heat environment H (or cold environment C) of the building B, including supply of heat energy or cold energy, and judges whether the stored heat amount N of the heat storage equipment 332 has reached the heat storage set value NS (step 513); if the stored heat amount N has reached the heat storage set value NS, the heat storage equipment 332 releases heat (releasing cold/heat energy) (step 513); on the other hand, if the stored heat amount N is less than the heat storage set value NS, the heat storage equipment 332 proceeds heat storing process (step 514).

The heat source equipment 331 includes at least a host 3311, a heat generator 3312, a cold generator 3313 and an intermediate heat exchanger 3314 (referring to FIG. 3). The host 3311 aims to perform circulation of refrigerant. The heat generator 3312 is a heat exchanger to generate heat energy sent to the heat storage device 3322 via a first pump 335 to supply heat energy required by the heat environment H. The cold generator 3313 is another heat exchanger to generate cold energy sent to the cold storage device 3321 via a second pump 334 to supply cold energy required by the cold environment C. The intermediate heat exchanger 3314 aids operation of the heat source equipment to regulate cold and heat energy requirements. In the event that cold energy requirement QC is approximate to heat energy requirement QH (namely QC≈QH), the intermediate heat exchanger 3314 suspends operation. In the event that the cold energy requirement QC is greater than the heat energy requirement QH (namely QC>QH), the intermediate heat exchanger 3314 discharges heat; in the event that the heat energy requirement QH is greater than the cold energy requirement QC (namely QH>QC), the intermediate heat exchanger 3314 absorbs heat.

Refer to FIG. 7 for a second embodiment of the invention. The energy storage and conversion apparatus 3 further has an electricity storage unit 35 to store the surplus electric power generated by the thermoelectric conversion unit 34. Namely the electric power in the off peak period is stored to supply and meet power demand in the peak period.

Please refer to FIGS. 8 and 9 (also FIG. 7) for the process flow 6 of the second embodiment. When the energy apparatus 41 starts operation (for instance, in the event of generating electric power through solar energy, the energy apparatus 41 receives photo energy of sunshine and converts to electric power), electric power E1 is generated and transmitted to the electric power conversion unit 32, and the control unit 31 compares the set value EOS of total electric power requirement of the building B with the electric power E1 generated by the energy apparatus 41. When the value of E1 is greater than or equal to the set value EOS, namely E1≧EOS (step 601), the electric power E1 generated by the energy apparatus 41 can meet total electric power requirement of the building B (generally is in the off peak periods). The surplus electric power has to be utilized. Hence the control unit 31 activates the energy conversion unit 33, and judges whether heat energy Q generated by the energy conversion unit 33 is greater than or equal to the total required heat energy set value QOS (step 602) of the building B, and the following processes are executed accordingly:

(1) in the condition of Q≧QOS, the heat energy is surplus, and the heat storage equipment 332 is activated to store heat (step 603); a judgment also is made on whether the stored heat energy N reaches the heat storage set value NS (step 604); if the outcome is positive, the control unit 31 activates the thermoelectric conversion unit 34, and cold energy released by the cold storage device 3321 and heat energy released by the heat storage device 3322 of the heat storage equipment 332 are being used to generate electric power E2 by the thermoelectric conversion unit 34 through See-back temperature difference thermoelectric effect. The electric power E2 generated by the thermoelectric conversion unit 34 can be converted to DC or AC power (step 605) to be utilized. In the event that the sum of the electric power E1 generated by the energy apparatus 41 and the electric power E2 generated by the thermoelectric conversion unit 34 is greater than or equal to the total electric power requirement EOS of the building B, the electric power is surplus, and the control unit 31 activates the electricity storage unit 35 to store electric power (steps 606 and 607), and judges whether an electric storage set value E3S has been reached (step 608); if the outcome is positive, another judgment is made on whether a contract for selling electric power between the building owner and the public power supply system 42 exists (steps 609); if the outcome also is positive, step 610 is executed to sell the surplus electric power to the public power supply system; if there is no sales contract, step 611 is executed, namely electric power conversion is stopped.

(2) If the condition Q≧QOS does not exist, namely Q<QOS (step 612), the total required heat energy set value QOS of the building B is greater than the total heat energy Q generated by the energy conversion unit 33, then step 613 is executed, and the heat source equipment 331 directly supplies heat to the heat environment H (or cold environment C) of the building B (including supply of heat energy or cold energy). In the event that the stored heat amount N of the heat storage equipment 332 has reached the heat storage set value NS, it starts to release heat (steps 614 and 615); on the other hand, if the stored heat amount N is less than the heat storage set value NS, the heat storage equipment 332 proceeds heat storing process (step 616).

4. In the event that the condition E1≧EOS does not exist, namely E1<EOS, a number of situations may happen as follow:

    • (1) Judge whether E1+E2<EOS (step 617); if the outcome is positive, the sum of the electric power E1 generated by the energy apparatus 41 and electric power E2 generated by the thermoelectric conversion unit 34 is less than the set value EOS of total electric power requirement of the building B, then the control unit 31 activates the electricity storage unit 35 to release its stored electric power E3 (step 618);
    • (2) If E1+E2+E3<EOS, the electric power E1 generated by the energy apparatus 41, electric power E2 generated by the thermoelectric conversion unit 34 and electric power E3 of the electricity storage unit 35 cannot fully meet the set value EOS of total electric power requirement of the building B, additional power supply has to be obtained from the public power supply system 42 (steps 619 and 620), and a judgment of another condition Q<QOS also is made (step 621); if the outcome is positive, the total required heat energy set value QOS of the building B is greater than or equal to the heat energy Q generated by the energy conversion unit 33, namely Q<QOS (step 612), step 613 is executed, and the heat source equipment 331 directly supplies heat to the heat environment H (or cold environment C) of the building B, including supply of heat energy or cold energy, and judges whether the stored heat amount N of the heat storage equipment 332 has reached the heat storage set value NS (step 614); if the outcome is positive, the heat storage equipment 332 releases heat (step 614); otherwise, if the stored heat amount N is less than the heat storage set value NS, the heat storage equipment 332 proceeds heat storing process (step 616).

As a conclusion, the building energy storage and conversion apparatus of the invention can regulate power supply of the electric power conversion unit, and use the cold/heat energy generated by the energy conversion unit, and store heat (cold/heat energy) through the heat storage equipment. In the event of requiring cold/heat energy, cold/heat energy can be released as desired. When heat energy is in a surplus state, electric power generation can be performed through the thermoelectric conversion unit. In the event that the electric power is surplus, the extra electric power can be stored in the electricity storage unit to supply the peak period. Hence the invention can manage diversified energy resources onsite in a centralized fashion to accomplish onsite self-sufficiency and integrate effectively. Thus energy resources inside and outside the building can be converted and utilized in an optimal fashion to save energy and flexibly deployed.