Optimal Design and Operation of A Hybrid Gas/Electric Chilled Water Plant

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Virginia Tech

The design of a chilled water plant involves selecting the size and type of chillers to be employed and determining the operating strategy. The types may include both gas engine and electric motor driven chillers. The issues that have to be considered in the selection problem are to incorporate external and internal factors into the decision making. External factors may include the utility rate schedules, the cooling load profile, and the outdoor temperature profile. Internal factors may include the chiller performance characteristics, initial and maintenance costs, and the chiller(s) operating strategy.

A mathematical model representing the chilled water plant design problem is developed. The problem is approached as a mixed integer linear programming problem where non-linear chiller performance curves are transformed into linear constraints through the use of integer variables. The optimization task is to select the best cooling plant configuration and operating strategy to minimize life cycle cost.

A solution procedure is developed which decomposes the optimization problem to reduce extensive computation time. Two case studies are provided to investigate the implementation of the mathematical model.

Chiller Selection, Mixed Integer Linear Programming