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Discrete cogeneration optimization with storage capacity decision support for dynamic hybrid solar combined heat and power systems in isolated rural villages

Prinsloo, Gerro, Mammoli, Andrea, Dobson, Robert
Energy 2016 v.116 pp. 1051-1064
algorithms, automation, cogeneration systems, computer simulation, conservation areas, cooperatives, decision support systems, energy, heat, operating costs, renewable energy sources, rural areas, simulation models, villages, Africa
Pre-packaged cogeneration systems are popular as lead supply in distributed and isolated energy systems aimed at empowering remote off-grid communities and in supporting eco-villages in nature reserves. Energy cooperatives and independent power producers deploy cogeneration systems in community shared microgrid configurations as building blocks in smart localised multi-carrier energy grids. Small-scale renewable energy and distributed energy resources in the energy mix of multi-carrier combined heat and power microgrids call for the development of intelligent control automation solutions. This paper describes a multi-objective optimization solution where hierarchical digital microgrid control is integrated into solar powered micro-cogeneration. The control solution includes an integrated cost-competitive economic and environmental optimization algorithm customized around the needs of small off-grid isolated village settlements. A secondary stage optimization loop functions as a storage capacity decision support system, to alert the community when operating costs can be reduced through an investment into increased storage capacity for the village microgrid. This cost-aware control optimization algorithm is tested in a rural village microgrid by using parametric computer simulation models of a hybrid residential solar cogeneration system. Digital simulation experiments evaluate the operational plans and operational cost performances of energy management for different storage scenarios at an isolated remote rural location in Africa.