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Title: Energy performance and optimal control of air-conditioned buildings integrated with phase change materials
Authors: Zhu, Na
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2011
Abstract: Thermal energy storage (TES) systems using phase change materials (PCMs) have been recognized as one of the advanced energy technologies in enhancing energy efficiency and sustainability of buildings. The use of PCMs in buildings provides the potential for a better indoor thermal comfort for occupants due to the reduced indoor temperature fluctuations, and lower overall energy consumption due to the load reduction/shifting. This thesis presents an overview of the previous research work on dynamic characteristics and energy performance of buildings due to the integration of PCMs. The research work on dynamic characteristics and energy performance of buildings using PCMs both with and without air-conditioning is reviewed. Since the particular interest in using PCMs for free cooling and peak load shifting, specific research efforts on both subjects are reviewed separately. The use of phase change materials (PCMs) to enhance the building energy performance has attracted increasing attention of researchers and practitioners over the last few years. Thermodynamic models of building structures using PCMs are essential for analyzing their impacts on building energy performance at different conditions and using different control strategies. There are few PCM models of detailed physics providing good accuracy in simulating thermodynamic behavior of building structures integrated with PCM layers. However, simplified models with acceptable accuracy and good reliability are preferable in many practical applications concerning computation speed and program size particularly when involving large buildings or models are used for online applications. A simplified physical dynamic model of building structures integrated with SSPCM (shaped-stabilized phase change material) is developed and validated in this study. The simplified physical model represents the wall by 3 resistances and 2 capacitances and the PCM layer by 4 resistances and 2 capacitances respectively while the key issue is the parameter identification of the model. The parameters of the simplified model are identified using genetic algorithm (GA) on the basis of the basic physical properties of the wall and PCM layer. Two GA-based preprocessors are developed to identify the optimal parameters (resistances and capacitances) of the model by frequency-domain regression and time-domain regression respectively. Validation results show that the simplified model can represent light walls and median walls integrated with SSPCM with good accuracy.
This thesis also presents the studies on the thermodynamic characteristics of buildings enhanced by PCM and on the investigation of the impacts of PCM on the building cooling load and peak cooling demand at different climates and seasons as well as the optimal operation and control strategies to reduce the energy consumption and energy cost by reducing the air-conditioning energy consumption and peak load. An office building floor with typical variable air volume (VAV) air-conditioning system is used and simulated as the reference building in the comparison study. The envelopes of the studied building are further enhanced by integrating the PCM layers. The building system is tested in two selected cities of typical climates in China including Hong Kong and Beijing. The cold charge and discharge processes, the operation and control strategies of night ventilation and the air temperature set-point reset strategy for minimizing the energy consumption and electricity cost are studied. This thesis presents the simulation test platform, the test results on the cold storage and discharge processes, the air-conditioning energy consumption and demand reduction potentials in typical air-conditioning seasons in typical China cites as well as the impacts of operation and control strategies.
Subjects: Buildings -- Energy conservation.
Buildings -- Energy consumption.
Phase transformations (Statistical physics)
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Pages: xxiii, 191 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm.
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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