Control of micro-CHP and thermal energy storage for minimising electrical grid utilisation

Allison, John and Murphy, Gavin Bruce and Counsell, John (2016) Control of micro-CHP and thermal energy storage for minimising electrical grid utilisation. International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies, 11 (1). pp. 109-118. ISSN 1748-1317 (

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The efficient use of combined heat and power (CHP) systems in buildings presents a control challenge due to their simultaneous production of thermal and electrical energy. The use of thermal energy storage coupled with a CHP engine provides an interesting solution to the problem—the electrical demands of the building can be matched by the CHP engine, while the resulting thermal energy can be regulated by the thermal energy store. Based on the thermal energy demands of the building the thermal store can provide extra thermal energy or absorb surplus thermal energy production. This paper presents a multi-input multi-output inverse-dynamics-based control strategy that will minimise the electrical grid utilisation of a building, while simultaneously maintaining a defined operative temperature. Electrical demands from lighting and appliances within the building are considered. In order to assess the performance of the control strategy, a European Standard validated simplified dynamic building physics model is presented that provides verified heating demands. Internal heat gains from solar radiation and internal loads are included within the model. Results indicate the control strategy is effective in minimising the electrical grid use and maximising the utilisation of the available energy when compared with conventional heating systems.