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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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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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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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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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hybridGEOTABS May 2018 Newsletter is now available to read, with news on our Madrid Symposium, REHVA-ATIC Conference Talks, Dates for next Symposium and more...  

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KU Leuven, SYSI, Boydens and IWT hosted the Boydens Academy in Dilbeek, with guest speaker: Professor Ian Beausoleil Morrison “Building performance simulation, ready, set… let’s educate to get ready” His seminar was entitled, “PROVIDING HIGH FRACTIONS FOR SPACE AND WATER HEATING IN COLD CLIMATES THROUGH SEASONAL STORAGE” Presentation abstract: Heating, cooling, and ventilating the places we live in, and providing the hot water, lighting, and appliance services we need, consumes tremendous amounts of energy; this contributes significantly to environmental and energy security issues.  For example, housing accounts for 30% of all electricity and 26% of all natural gas consumed in Canada, and produces 13.5% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.  Although these figures vary from region to region, a similar situation exists in most OECD countries, including Belgium. In most cool and cold climates, space and water heating account for the majority of the energy demand in housing, and therefore offer the greatest potential for savings.  This seminar will describe ongoing research at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada) aimed at devising and evaluating methods for providing the majority of space and water heating needs (>90%) through solar energy.  It will first provide some context by explaining the Canadian energy situation and current housing construction practices.  A simulation-based analysis of a solar thermal system employing seasonal storage will then be presented, followed by a description of the design, construction, and commissioning of a full-scale research house.  Finally, preliminary results from the first annual experiment conducted at the facility on the seasonal storage of solar thermal energy will be provided.   Meet Prof. Ian Beausoleil-Morrison: Ian Beausoleil-Morrison is Professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Design at Carleton University in Ottawa, where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Innovative Energy Systems for Residential Buildings.  He is co-founder and has been Co-Editor of the Journal of Building Performance Simulation since its establishment in 2008.  He has been a Director of the International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA) since 2004, and was Vice-President of that organization from 2006 to 2010, and President from 2010 to 2015. In 2015 he was awarded the grade of Fellow of IBPSA. His research interests include solar housing, seasonal thermal storage, micro-cogeneration, and understanding and controlling for occupant behaviour. Currently he is the Lead Investigator of the Urbandale Centre for Home Energy Research, a research house situated on the Carleton University campus that is dedicated to the long-term study of solar-thermal and other innovative energy systems for radically reducing the dependence of housing on fossil fuels and the electrical grid.

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