84 Optimization

Optimization in the context of this book means selecting the DG system configuration that maximizes financial benefit to its owner. In principle, the process of optimizing the design of a distributed generation system for a building or campus of buildings is simple: evaluate all possible design variations and select the one with the largest life cycle benefit to the system owner. Who would not want to choose the optimum? In practice, it would be a daunting task to find the true optimum among all conceivable designs. The difficulties, some of which have already been discussed, are

• The enormous number of possible design variations (DG system types, building configurations, electrical use systems, types and models of HVAC equipment, and control modes)

• Uncertainties (costs, future energy prices, reliability, occupant behavior, and future uses of buildings)

Fortunately, there is a certain tolerance for moderate errors, as shown below. That greatly facilitates the job, because one can reduce the number of steps in the search for the optimum. Also, within narrow ranges, some variables can be suboptimized without worrying about their effect on others.

Some quantities are easier to optimize than others. The optimal controller example in Chapter 7 looked at various combinations of microturbines for several buildings. The energy consumption system was assumed to be fixed and only the optimal operation of the DG system was examined. Presumably, the building designer and DG system designer had already selected the optimal configuration for the example buildings. It was the job of the optimal controller to maximize savings given the hand that was dealt, i.e., the already existing design.

Solar Stirling Engine Basics Explained

Solar Stirling Engine Basics Explained

The solar Stirling engine is progressively becoming a viable alternative to solar panels for its higher efficiency. Stirling engines might be the best way to harvest the power provided by the sun. This is an easy-to-understand explanation of how Stirling engines work, the different types, and why they are more efficient than steam engines.

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