Technical Operations Research (TOR) - Algorithms, not Engineers, Design Optimal Energy Efficient and Resilient Cooling Systems
1.5 System & Preliminary Design
The overall energy efficiency of ventilation systems can be improved by considering not only single components, but by considering as well the interplay between every part of the system. With the help of the method "TOR" ("Technical Operations Research"), which was developed at the Chair of Fluid Systems at TU Darmstadt, it is possible to improve the energy efficiency of the whole system by considering all possible design choices programmatically. We show the ability of this systematic design approach with a ventilation system for buildings as a use case example.
Based on a Mixed-Integer Nonlinear Program (MINLP) we model the ventilation system. We use binary variables to model the selection of different pipe diameters. Multiple fans are model with the help of scaling laws. The whole system is represented by a graph, where the edges represent the pipes and fans and the nodes represents the source of air for cooling and the sinks, that have to be cooled. At the beginning, the human designer chooses a construction kit of different suitable fans and pipes of different diameters and different load cases. These boundary conditions define a variety of different possible system topologies. It is not possible to consider all topologies by hand. With the help of state of the art solvers, on the other side, it is possible to solve this MINLP.
Next to this, we also consider the effects of malfunctions in different components. Therefore, we show a first approach to measure the resilience of the shown example use case. Further, we compare the conventional approach with designs that are more resilient. These more resilient designs are derived by extending the before mentioned model with further constraints, that consider explicitly the resilience of the overall system. We show that it is possible to design resilient systems with this method already in the early design stage and compare the energy efficiency and resilience of these different system designs.