(37c) Maximization of Energy Efficiency of a Combined Heat and Power Plant
Energy efficiency is receiving increased attention as a way to reduce the use of fossil fuels and the resulting production of greenhouse gases. Automation, process control, and real-time optimization are key technologies to operate plants in the most efficient way. A combined heat and power plant at the University of Texas at Austin has been studied in order to reduce its carbon footprint as well as reduce costs. The steam power plant has been modeled using steady state mass and energy balances. Chillers have also been modeled so that their efficiencies can be maximized. There is also a thermal storage tank for chilled water to be used during periods of high demand. Forecasting of loads as well as the effect of weather have been incorporated into the real-time optimization approach. The effects of time of day pricing of power and use of demand response techniques to flatten demand curves are discussed. Usage of thermal energy storage along with automatic control gives additional degrees of freedom to deal with dynamic power conditions.