Posted in: News

Our hybridGEOTABS August 2018 Newsletter is now available, and is dedicated to our partners' research and application of Model Predictive Control in the GEOTABShybrid project.   When combining GEOTABS with secondary heating & cooling systems in GEOTABShybrid, one of the key operational challenges is to decide at each point in time, again and again, which of the systems should be used. The GEOTABShybrid  solution therefore proposes the integration of both systems using an advanced type of control, Model Predictive Control (MPC).

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Posted in: News

The GEOTABShybrid solution proposes the integration of GEOTABS and secondary heating and cooling systems using an advanced type of control, Model Predictive Control (MPC). In contrast to traditional Rule Based Control (RBC), which uses heuristic control rules that are tuned using trial-and-error to take into account the buffering capacity of the GEOTABS building, MPC uses a mathematical model of the building to predict the future behaviour of the building heating and cooling needs, and uses these predictions to optimise the control of the GEOTABS and secondary systems. MPC can be used for optimizing the building operation towards various objectives, such as energy efficiency, energy cost, grid flexibility etc., while maintaining the thermal balance of the geothermal field and the thermal comfort in the building. The models used for model predictive control, can be trained from measurement data of the real building and simple physical principles (grey-box models), or they can be based on physical equations (white-box models) and physical properties of the buildings. White-box models have the benefit that they can be used as soon as the building operation starts (when no operational measurements are available yet). In the project, developments are mainly focusing on this white-box MPC approach, but the case-study building in Libeznice allows for comparison between both modelling approaches, since the original grey-box controller is modified to a white-box controller during the project. While MPC is highly beneficial for reducing building operation costs and improving its energy efficiency as well as thermal comfort, the set-up and implementation has been an expensive and complicated process until now. The set-up of the model is a highly specialised job that requires case-by-case model development, and also the adaptivity, robustness and practical implementation of the MPC bring along quite some challenges. This leads to high engineering and commissioning costs. Therefore, a toolchain has been developed that allows to set-up the model for the MPC in a semi-automated way, which considerably reduces the required engineering effort. Additionally, a strategy to start up the MPC is developed and an approach to make the MPC adaptive to changes in the building over time will be developed. Moreover, the robustness of the MPC formulation is being studied to allow for a smooth control behaviour. The theoretical MPC-developments and performance assessments by simulation are complemented with real-life testing of the MPC in a pilot building and 3 case-study hybridGEOTABS buildings. This enhances practical software and hardware implementation of the MPC in these operational buildings, monitoring of the actual performance of the building and systems before and after the MPC is implemented, and monitoring of the actual design and commissioning costs that the MPC implementation brings along. In the summer of 2018, we are preparing the first MPC-implementations in the school of Libeznice (CZ) and the Infrax office building in Dilbeek (BE)! In summary, this project removes the barriers that prevent MPC from being widely implemented, and demonstrates the performance and benefits of the integrated GEOTABShybrid concept with MPC. 

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Posted in: Events

Join us at our hybridGEOTABS MPC Workshop (and Webinar) Theme: Model Predictive Control (MPC) hosted by ENERGOKLASTR and CVUT on Weds 17th October 2018 (8.30am-6pm) at: Czech Technological University, 1580/3 Jugoslávských partyzánů, Prague 6, Prague 16000, CZ Room B-246 (or via the webinar) Register here      

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Posted in: News

Our GEOTABShybrid partners from KU Leuven and Boydens engineering attended the High Performance Building (HPB) Conference and Intelligent Building Operation (IBO) Workshop at Purdue University with a series of presentations about MPC and control-oriented-modelling for buildings. Filip Jorissen presented work on implementation of MPC in the GEOTABShybrid  case study building Infrax, in Dilbeek (Belgium).  Damien Picard explained his work on MPC hybridGEOTABS buildings including the project demo building Ter Potterie.  Iago Cupeiro Figueroa also presented his work on state observers for optimal-building-control using white-box models, applied to the hybridGEOTABS case study building, Infrax. Their papers will soon be published open-access on the Purdue University Website

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Posted in: Blog posts

I am Qian Wang, I joined the hybridGEOTABS project in February 2016 as a research specialist at Uponor after my PhD in KTH Royal Institute of Technology. My research focuses on Low-temperature heating and High-temperature cooling technology. In current hybridgeotabs project, I am exploring the business model development in different European countries, as an approach for promoting the MPC GEOTABS for different buildings typologies. The approach assesses the strategies from both technical and business perspectives for future large-scale implementation and optimal design/installation of hybridGEOTABS system. One of the aims of the hybridGEOTABS project is to design an innovative Energy Dashboard (ED) and implement a prototype in a cloud-based loT (Internet of Things) platform for GEOTABS. The Energy Dashboard incorporates measurement and sensor data from the individual modules, algorithms for performance evaluation, monitoring and diagnostics, and a user interface for providing the information to user segments. The prototype dashboard will be developed on an existing commercially available IoT platform that can be easily commercialized and adapted in the future for other building applications and communication applications. The approach starts by identifying the end users/customer segments of the Energy Dashboard. Three key segments were identified: residents, energy managers and public owners.  The approach was initiated by an innovative method that engaging the users and crowd the co-creation process, namely open innovation. The co-creation process comprises certain strategies, such as gamifications, voting and crowd reaching, in order to get maximum feedbacks and fulfil the gaps between market needs and current Energy Dashboard solutions. Some key outputs of this process were presented in the images above. Another part that we are exploring involves investigating the conceptual framework and generation of business models for MPC GEOTABS technology. The investigations are done by compiling technical, political, economic, social and environmental analytical frameworks of MPC Geo-TABS [1]. The key elements of the business model Canvas are identified and analyzed in this application. Theoretical bases of business model generation are verified by substantiating arguments and potential profit analysis for stakeholders via four demonstration buildings. The focused building types/cases involve office building, schools, elder-care houses and multi-family house. Methods to verify the proposed value propositions in the business model are given special interests. The pilot results provide an early-stage guidance and added value for the future large-scale commercialisation in EU building market.  

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Posted in: News

hybridGEOTABS project - MPC for controlling the power of the ground by integration Our introductory article, part of a series in the REHVA Journal explaining Hybrid GEO-TABS and ongoing results, is now available in June's publication. Future articles will focus on the Case Study Buildings, dedicating each article to one building: Solarwind, Ter Potterie Care Home, Elementary School Libeznice, Infrax (Dilbeek) and Haus M The article is also available to preview/download from our technology page, where other articles and factsheets are also available.

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