Thermal Energy Storage to Minimize Cost and Improve Efficiency of a Polygeneration District Energy System in a Real-time Electricity Market


Polygeneration, Thermal energy storage, Combined heat and power, Dynamic optimization, District energy systems


District energy systems can produce low-cost utilities for large energy networks, but can also be a resource for the electric grid by their ability to ramp production or to store thermal energy by responding to real-time market signals. In this work, dynamic optimization exploits the flexibility of thermal energy storage by determining optimal times to store and extract excess energy. This concept is applied to a polygeneration distributed energy system with combined heat and power, district heating, district cooling, and chilled water thermal energy storage. The system is a university campus responsible for meeting the energy needs of tens of thousands of people. The objective for the dynamic optimization problem is to minimize cost over a 24-h period while meeting multiple loads in real time. The paper presents a novel algorithm to solve this dynamic optimization problem with energy storage by decomposing the problem into multiple static mixed-integer nonlinear programming (MINLP) problems. Another innovative feature of this work is the study of a large, complex energy network which includes the interrelations of a wide variety of energy technologies. Results indicate that a cost savings of 16.5% is realized when the system can participate in the wholesale electricity market.

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


Chemical Engineering

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor