Control and energy management strategies in production environments with support of renewable energy




This project deals with the analysis, design and application of modeling, control and optimization techniques (in the framework of hierarchical and model-based predictive control, MPC) to achieve an efficient energy (electricity and process heat/water), water and CO2 management in production environments with support of renewable energy and storage systems. Through optimal management of these resources and by adapting generation to demand, it should be demonstrated how automatic control allows to achieve cost savings and reduce the environmental impact on the operation of complex processes.

Around this theme, concepts like micro-grids (MG), related to the efficient use of electricity, renewable heat and cooling (RHC), in the area of primary energy supply from renewable sources and water efficiency (WE), around adequate use of water have arisen. The paradigm treated in this project goes beyond, since it treats comprehensive and coordinated management of those heterogeneous resources focusing on efficiency and economics. The problem is composed by different control and decision levels about the final use of the available energy based on different objectives (minimizing the use of conventional fossil energy sources, economic, environmental and quality aspects, etc.) This gives rise to a hierarchical control problem that requires coordination and cooperation between systems and that is addressed using hierarchical and hybrid predictive control techniques, both in centralized and distributed versions. It will be also necessary to develop models, estimators and predictors of the energy generation and demand stages.

A key element of the project is that a real production system will be use as test-bed plant (including a bioclimatic building, a greenhouse, an electric vehicle and a solar desalination plant), on which the developed modeling and control techniques will be validated.

The three basic objectives of the coordinated project are:

1. Development of methodologies for obtaining models of processes that contain renewable energy sources to produce/consume process heat, electricity, water and CO2. Development of estimators and predictors of generation and demand stages.

2. Development of hierarchical, hybrid and, in general, MPC control and management strategies to optimize production from the economic, security and energy and water use points of view in heterogeneous systems, using a coordinated and comprehensive approach.

3. Implementation and validation of the strategies in the production environment selected as test-bed plant. This will facilitate the development of the different tasks of the project over realistic conditions. Possible extensions to more complex environments like campus or industrial clusters will be demonstrated.

The fulfilment of the preceding goals represents a significant contribution with real impact in this class of processes as evidenced by the interest shown by firms like Fundación Cajamar, Unica Group SCA, Wagner Solar, Solar Jiennense, naming only a few.