Globally optimal control of hybrid chilled water plants integrated with small-scale thermal energy storage for energy-efficient operation

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number125469
Journal / PublicationEnergy
Issue numberPart A
Online published19 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023


The integration of thermal energy storage in chilled water systems is an effective way to improve energy efficiency and is essential for achieving carbon emission reduction. However, the commonly used large-scale thermal energy storage needs significantly larger space, which hinders the wide application of thermal storage in large number of existing buildings. Unlike previous studies, this study integrated a small-scale stratified chilled water storage tank into chilled water plants and proposed a global optimal control strategy to enhance the overall system energy performance. The proposed strategy determines the optimal settings of stratified chilled water storage tank charging/discharging flow rate, chilled water supply temperature, and the number of chillers in order to minimize the daily energy consumption of the chilled water plants under varying load conditions. The stratified chilled water storage tank was modelled as a “virtual chiller” to quantify the energy consumption related to the charging/discharging. Multiple charging/discharging cycles were controlled for optimal chiller loading. The proposed control strategy was evaluated in a simulated complex central chilled water plant. The results show that the proposed optimal control strategy can save the daily energy consumption of the central chilled water plant by 4.35–7.67%, 2.10–3.90%, and 2.30–5.15% in three typical weather conditions.

Research Area(s)

  • Building energy efficiency, Chilled water plant, Optimal control, Thermal energy storage