DREAM: Dynamic Real-­time control of Energy streams in buildings

Energy usage, dependability of energy supply and climate change are important topics in society. Today, a number of trends can be recognized in the electricity consumption and generation. On the one hand, the electricity consumption increases and becomes more fluctuating. This is caused by increasing economic activity and prosperity, but also by a shift towards more electricity supplied devices, for example electrical cars. On the other hand, the projected reduction in CO2 emission requires the introduction of generation based on renewable sources. These renewable sources are based on uncontrollable and very fluctuating sun, water and wind power. These trends introduce challenges to maintain a reliable and affordable electricity supply.

These trends introduce challenges to maintain a reliable and affordable electricity supply. The DREAM project studies, develops, prototypes and tests real-­time control systems for the energy management of buildings connected in a micro­grid to:

  1. reduce the energy related CO2 footprint of buildings without loss of comfort for the owners or inhabitants and
  2. to efficiently integrate new distributed microgeneration techniques based on renewable sources.

The control system is based on a three-­step optimisation methodology developed at the University of Twente, which consists of:

  1. offline local prediction of energy profiles of buildings,
  2. offline global planning of energy streams in a microgrid and
  3. online local scheduling of appliances in individual buildings.

In this project the main emphasis is on step 3 of this methodology, online local scheduling. The aim is to develop a hierarchical control system, which uses cost models of microfacilities. The developed cost models will be verified with real appliances. The developed control system and the underlying online local scheduling methods will be tested by simulations using various types of buildings and through experiments with a small scale prototype. Assuming that the electricity production based on natural resources can be decreased by 10% with the introduction of renewable sources, a reduction of 4,8 million tons of CO2 can be achieved. This can be increased even more when techniques like microCHP are introduced on a large scale.

The goal of this project is to increase the energy-­efficiency and reduce the CO2 footprint of buildings by supporting the introduction of distributed generation, energy storage and demand side load management, while retaining the comfort level of house owners, maintaining the grid availability/stability and obviating large investments in grid infrastructure capacity. The research results will be taken up by the industrial partners of the project and will form the base for new products, new insights or services of these companies. When the research is successful the control algorithms will end up in many buildings in the Netherlands and Europe. In this project four industrial partners with different focus participate: Homa Software BV works on software for energy management in buildings, Nedap NV works on hardware (high voltage) solutions for energy management, Philips Research works on smart energy management for lighting and appliances in buildings and NXP research works on semiconductor components for the energy market.

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