Brief description of current research activities on energy saving by cogeneration and thermoeconomic analysis and diagnosis of energy systems

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In the last decades the severe issues related with fossil fuels depletion, increasing energy prices andglobal warming impact of energy conversion systems have attracted the efforts of scientists towardefficient technologies and methodological improvements for a rational use of energy both in the civiland the industry sectors.Among the numerous research lines developed, the combined production of multiple energy vectorsand the process integration are widely considered very promising solutions to achieve moresustainable scenarios as concerns the use of energy.While polygeneration in industry represents a well-established practice to reduce the production costof energy and material streams, the large potential existing for cogeneration and trigeneration in thebuilding sector has been scarcely exploited for a number of reasons. The irregular electric, cooling andheating load profiles of a building (either in the residential or in the tertiary sector) throughout the yearoften make it difficult to operate a Combined Heat and Power (CHP) or a Combined Heat, Coolingand Power (CHCP) plant to operate effectively, with a full recovery of the heat cascades and reducingthe energy costs. Also, a number of barriers as concerns the absence of a stable legislative frameworkand the scarcely harmonized suppor mechanisms for efficient polygeneration have further inhibited themarrket penetration of this technology.In the last few years our research group has developed a multi-targeted research activity, essentiallyoriented to:- Identify optimal design and operation criteria for cogeneration and trigeneration plants inbuildings applications. Buildings in the tertiary sector, in particular, have represented maintargets for these studies due to their higher potential for combined energy conversion systems;in particular, analyses have been performed for applications in hotels, hospitals, offices,university campuses and also in airports. Traditional methods for plant sizing based on theduration curve of heat loads have been modified into more refined techniques, based on theduration curve of the so-called “Aggregate Thermal Demand”. Also, as concerns the operationstrategies for the CHP unit, the traditional approaches based on a “Heat Tracking” and an“Electricity Tracking” philosophy has been improved, identyfing hybrid and more convenientoperation strategies oriented to either maximise the profitability, the energy saving or thepollutant emissions reduction [1];- Analyze critically the legislative framework as concerns the “high efficiency CHP/CHCP”assessment developed after the “Directive 2004/8/EC on the promotion of cogeneration basedon useful heat demand”. In particular, several critical aspects have been addressed on rigorousthermodynamic bases: the non discriminatory behaviour of the calculation methods for energyusers characterized by peculiar load conditions [2], the most appropriate reference efficienciesfor separate production used to evaluate the energy savings and, finally, the most efficientform of support mechanisms to promote a real spread of cogeneration and trigenerationsystems in the civil sector. Also, promising scenarios as concerns flexible user-orientedcriteria for the high efficiency CHP assessment have been developed;- Develop efficient algorithms for the simultaneous optimization of synthesis, design andoperation for CHP and CHCP systems serving a single building or a cluster of buildings. Thealgorithms are based on Mixed Integer Linear Programming techniques, and they have beenimplemented in Matlab environment where efficient Lindo A
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine2
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2014

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