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Development of Efficient and Robust Controllers for Advanced Energy Systems

Final Report Summary - DECADE (Development of Efficient and Robust Controllers for Advanced Energy Systems)

Executive Summary:

The main objective of the DECADE project is to promote a significant increase in the range of energy control problems to which advanced optimisation-based control can be reliably applied. This will be achieved through the development of an electronic look-up function tailor-made for the specific energy systems. It can retrofit onto existing control hardware, or on new hardware. The look-up function takes as input the system measurements and gives as outputs the optimal control action. The resulting control action is identical to what would be achieved using traditional Model Predictive Control (MPC) approaches, but without the computational overhead. This new technology is able to recast the original MPC problem as a multi-parametric optimization problem, where the sensor measurements act as "parameters". Solving this off-line using the developed tools yields the full explicit control law in the space of these parameters. The development of this integrated set of advanced control algorithms and software/hardware tools will be suitable for applications in a broad range of energy systems which exhibit significant operational difficulties and limitations (e.g. industrial energy systems requiring fast control actions, safety critical applications as encountered in the control of Fuel Cells, etc.). The above objectives have been partially achieved covering the period from the beginning of the project to its end by promoting and implementing a ToK programme between (i) academic partners (University of Western Macedonia (UOWM, Greece), and University of Pannonia (UOP, Hungary)), with distinguished research activities in the areas of process and energy modelling, simulation and optimisation techniques including pilot plant demonstrations, (ii) one high-tech SME (Parametric Optimization Solutions, ParOS, UK) providing advanced control solutions to the energy, process and automation industries and (iii) one engineering SME (ESTIA, Greece) providing energy saving solutions (Combined Heat and Power, Fuel Cells, etc) and related instrumentation facilities in the process, energy and power industries. The strategic partnership has been particially realised through mutual exchange visits between several experienced and more experienced researchers from the two academic groups, who have been seconded to the two SME partners thus transferring and potentially transforming theoretical knowledge to an applicable level, in a view of solving real-life energy problems. Similarly, they have acquired knowledge from the SMEs on control aspects and real-life pilot plant and industrial applications. Research staff from the two SMEs has been seconded to the academic groups to acquire and transfer the specific knowledge in this area. The developed new controllers is generic and thus applicable also to many other sectors of industry.