Thermal energy buffer control and system

VITO developed an algorithm that enables efficient and ecological usage of electrical energy for use in thermal applications, taking into account storage losses.

Thermal energy used for cooling and heating is relatively easy to store. This brings opportunities to buy electricity when it is cheap or abundant – e.g. renewable energy – convert it into to thermal energy and store it until needed. But storage loss can be a problem. This was solved by VITO, by developing an algorithm which learns to predict thermal losses and optimizes electricity buying based on price.

VITO solution

The algorithm developed by VITO learns to estimate the thermal behaviour of an application based on historical data and uses it to predict future behaviour. Combining this with a day ahead electricity market prices, it allows the algorithm to find the cheapest buying strategy that fulfills the needs of the application. The algorithm relies on dynamic programming optimisation. Therefore it is guaranteed the best possible solution is found. On the other hand the constraints of the application are evaluated during the optimisation process resulting in a very efficient branch and bound. This feature decreases processing power requirements to a level achievable by automation controllers.

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