Optimal configuration of multiple-chiller plants under cooling load uncertainty for different climate effects and building types

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

34 Scopus Citations
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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)684-697
Journal / PublicationEnergy and Buildings
Online published16 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


Configuring the number and size of chillers in a multiple-chiller plant properly is an efficient way to improve the plant energy efficiency. At the design stage, the optimal configuration can be achieved through matching the capacity to load as closely as possible across the full-load profile. However, in spite of the fact that current literature offers practical recommendations, a systematic method to optimize the configuration of multiple-chiller plants is lacking. Due to the lack of accurate information at the design stage and only limited knowledge of the eventual realization it is hard to predict the building's cooling load. Moreover, there is no operational data to predict the system performance. Both explain the existence of uncertainty in the HVAC plant design process. This paper, therefore, proposes a strategy to optimize the configuration of multiple-chiller plants, which takes account of the load side uncertainty as well as the COP uncertainty and selects the optimal configuration through a life-cycle analysis. Both the load side uncertainty and the COP uncertainty are quantified using statistical distributions. To facilitate applications, the distributions of the cooling load profile of different types of buildings under different weather conditions are investigated and are classified into four categories, and the optimal configuration schemes under each type of cooling load distribution are analyzed and summarized in a tabulated form.

Research Area(s)

  • Cooling load, HVAC system, Multiple-chiller plant, Optimal configuration, Uncertainty