Optimization of design and operation of synergetic heating and cooling networks based on the energy hub concept

Authors: Ahmadisedigh, Hossein
Advisor: Gosselin, Louis
Abstract: In the present work, an “energy hub” template was employed to design combined heating and cooling networks to benefit from potential synergies. Heating and cooling networks are integral components of various buildings, campuses, or cities. The concept of smart thermal grid and “energy hub” argue in favor of thermal integration to benefit from potential synergies and facilitate the use of renewable energy sources. In this integrated system, heat pumps can be used to recover heat from the cooling loop and supply it to the heating loop. Waste heat recovery can help reducing operation costs and greenhouse gas emissions. Heating and cooling loads of the network can be satisfied by natural gas boilers, electric heaters, chillers, and heat pumps. The design of the system and its operation were optimized with respect to cost and greenhouse gas emissions under different combinations of heating and cooling loads. The optimized hub configurations for scenarios with and without waste heat recovery were compared, showing that heat pumps were beneficial in all scenarios. The optimal capacity of heat pumps to minimize total cost was found to be ~80% of the maximal possible value from a thermodynamic analysis of the loads. The simultaneous minimization of cost and emissions revealed a relatively sharp transition from gas to electric heating as more emphasis is put on emissions than cost, but in all cases, waste heat recovery with heat pumps was heavily used to satisfy the heating and cooling loads. Next, keeping the same framework designed above, a method was developed to indicate how thermal energy storage (TES) units can contribute to reduce the total cost of a thermal grid. We developed a method showing how TES units, coupled with heat pumps, can contribute to reducing the total cost of a thermal grid. An optimization model is introduced, based on an energy hub model including natural gas boilers, electric heaters, and chillers. For different load profiles, thermal grids integrating heat pumps alone, TES alone, or a combination of both are compared to a reference hub with no thermal integration. It was found that the inclusion of both TES and heat pumps together results in more profits than when they are used separately, extending the synergic use of the heat pumps to satisfy both heating and cooling loads. Furthermore, the benefit of TES when components of the system (chiller or boiler) are under-sized is assessed. It was observed that in these cases, TES contributes to satisfying the thermal demands. However, due to the configuration of the system, there is a limit of chiller under-sizing that TES units can compensate. Then, the influence of part-load operation of energy hub devices was studied for the same energy hub. In practice, part-load efficiency of equipment such as chillers, boilers, and heat pumps need to be taken into account in the design and control of heating and cooling networks as it can strongly affect their overall performance. However, optimization models such as energy hubs usually consider constant efficiencies due to the challenge of implementing part-load efficiency in such models. Therefore, the impact of part-load efficiency curves on energy hub optimization results is often unclear, in particular when multiple devices are included. In this work, the lifetime cost of a combined heating and cooling networks system was optimized based on an energy hub in which part-load efficiency devices (natural gas boilers, electric heaters, electric chillers, and heat pumps) were modeled. The model was linearized and studied under different combinations of thermal loads. An iterative method was developed to optimize the design and operation of the energy hub in this context. To determine the impact of part-load efficiencies, each device was individually examined while the efficiency of other devices remained constant. The error resulting from assuming a constant efficiency was then calculated based on a reference hub with constant efficiencies. The results indicated a maximum error on the total cost of 1.85%, 0.6%, and 0.16% by assuming constant-efficiency for the boilers, chillers, and heat pumps respectively. The loads for which these maximum errors occur were then chosen to optimize the hub with all devices modeled with a part-load efficiency curve. The errors increased to 1.9%, 0.71%, and 1.49%, respectively. Finally, the waste heat recovery (WHR) potential of a manufacturing workshop was assessed. First, the sources of waste heat were identified and evaluated, leading to preparation of a waste heat map for the company. Subsequently, three main WHR methods were chosen and analyzed for the plant. In the summer, the possibility of replacing the current office chillers with a 52 kW single-effect absorption chiller was investigated, which would cost 8,000 CAD more than the present chillers over 20 years. For winters, t waste heat can be used for localheating purposes instead of using the electric heating systems currently used, which would save approximately 110,000 CAD over 20 years. For the rest of the year, the internal hot water consumption for the company can be supplied by using a hybrid (WHR + electricity) water heater, which would save around 2,000 CAD over the same period.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2022
Open Access Date: 13 June 2022
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/73586
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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