Author Identifiers

Barun Kumar Das
ORCID: 0000-0001-5687-4768

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Engineering

First Advisor

Associate Professor Dr Yasir M Al-Abdeli

Second Advisor

Dr Ganesh Kothapalli


Stand-alone hybrid energy systems are an attractive option for remote communities without a connection to a main power grid. However, the intermittent nature of solar and other renewable sources adversely affects the reliability with which these systems respond to load demands. Hybridisation, achieved by combining renewables with combustion-based supplementary prime movers, improves the ability to meet electric load requirements. In addition, the waste heat generated from backup Internal Combustion Engines or Micro Gas Turbines can be used to satisfy local heating and cooling loads. As a result, there is an expectation that the overall efficiency and Greenhouse Gas Emissions of stand-alone systems can be significantly improved through waste heat recovery.

The aims of this PhD project are to identify how incremental increases to the hardware complexity of hybridised stand-alone energy systems affect their cost, efficiency, and CO2 footprint. The research analyses a range of systems, from those designed to meet only power requirements to others satisfying power and heating (Combined Heat and Power), or power plus both heating and cooling (Combined Cooling, Heating, and Power). The majority of methods used focus on MATLAB-based Genetic Algorithms (GAs). The modelling deployed finds the optimal selection of hardware configurations which satisfy single- or multi-objective functions (i.e. Cost of Energy, energy efficiency, and exergy efficiency). This is done in the context of highly dynamic meteorological (e.g. solar irradiation) and load data (i.e. electric, heating, and cooling).

Results indicate that the type of supplementary prime movers (ICEs or MGT) and their minimum starting thresholds have insignificant effects on COE but have some effects on Renewable Penetration (RP), Life Cycle Emissions (LCE), CO2 emissions, and waste heat generation when the system is sized meeting electric load only. However, the transient start-up time of supplementary prime movers and temporal resolution have no significant effects on sizing optimisation. The type of Power Management Strategies (Following Electric Load-FEL, and Following Electric and Following Thermal Load- FEL/FTL) affect overall Combined Heating and Power (CHP) efficiency and meeting thermal demand through recovered heat for a system meeting electric and heating load with response to a specific load meeting reliability (Loss of Power Supply Probability-LPSP). However, the PMS has marginal effects on COE. The Electric to Thermal Load Ratio (ETLR) has no effects on COE for PV/Batt/ICE but strongly affects PV/Batt/MGT-based hybridised CHP systems. The higher thermal than the electric loads lead to higher efficiency and better environmental footprint.

Results from this study also indicate that for a stand-alone hybridised system operating under FEL/FTL type PMS, the power only system has lower cost compared to the CHP and the Combined Cooling, Heating, and Power (CCHP) systems. This occurs at the expense of overall energy and exergy efficiencies. Additionally, the relative magnitude of heating and cooling loads have insignificant effects on COE for PV/Batt/ICE-based system configurations, however this substantially affects PV/Batt/MGT-based hybridised CCHP systems. Although there are no significant changes in the overall energy efficiency of CCHP systems in relation to variations to heating and cooling loads, systems with higher heating demand than cooling demand lead to better environmental benefits and renewable penetration at the cost of Duty Factor. Results also reveal that the choice of objective functions do not affect the system optimisation significantly.

Access Note

This version of the thesis does not include Chapter 5, and Appendices A, B, C, D & F