Microgrid control strategy utilizing thermal energy storage with renewable solar and wind power generation
Hawxhurst, Kevin L.J.
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As part of the Department of Defense's exploration into alternative energy solutions, this research focused on developing and implementing a control strategy for a microgrid system that was developed using a multi-physics energy approach. The objective was to demonstrate a microgrid system that more effectively uses renewable energy based on the end-use application of energy. The NPS Integrated Multi-Physics Renewable Energy Laboratory microgrid system was designed primarily for heating and cooling applications and utilizes thermal storage capabilities. A novel control strategy was also implemented to decrease the need for backup electrical power. The control strategy matches load demand from a chiller and heater to power generation from renewable solar and wind resources. Energy is stored as ice for cooling applications and in high temperature ceramic bricks for heating applications. A controller was designed using MATLAB and successfully implemented the desired control strategy. This was challenging as communication between the controller, the microgrid, the loads, and the thermal storage devices had to be established across multiple architectures. Using MATLAB, the controller operated nearly continuously for six months, collecting data for analysis. This research proves that the end-use energy design concept works by putting in place a working demonstration plant.
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