The US Department of Energy recently awarded $1.2M for a research project, entitled “Advanced District Energy Controls for Improved Efficiency and Resilience.” The project will be administered by Paragon Robotics, a Cleveland-based technology service company, in partnership with CSU and Cleveland Thermal, a district energy utility in downtown Cleveland. The goal of the project is to investigate the advanced system control strategies that would increase the district and city-level system efficiency for more cost effective ways of providing heat and cooling to building customers. The CSU team is led by Dr. Yong Tao, the Betty L. Gordon Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The team includes Andrew Thomas, director of the Energy Policy Center in the Levin College of Urban Affairs at CSU, as well as Chris Dodge, a mechanical engineering Ph.D. student, and Samuel Owusu-Agyeman, an Urban College Ph.D. student.
District energy (DE) systems have provided efficient heat and cooling to buildings in the United States for well over a century. To further expand its potential of providing customers with higher efficiencies, the research team at CSU will develop a physics-based model to predict the DE system efficiency under time-dependent energy demand load and discover an optimal control scheme. Sensors and surveys will be deployed to collect customer data to validate the developed model. The model analytical tool will lay a foundation for incorporating remote combined heat and power (CHP) equipment, low temperature conversions, renewable generation, and electricity microgrids with DE systems when optimizing control. The CSU team will also help model tariff strategies for enabling district energy efficiency adoption.
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