After a three-year collaboration, the Experimental Power Grid Center (EPGC) at Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and Japanese electronics company Hitachi have completed and commissioned a combined heat and power plant (CHP) pilot plant to harness waste heat, and convert it to energy to power air-conditioning.
AsianScientist online reports that the CHP system will control heat and power facilities as the operating point to best minimize costs and energy consumption.
54 per cent of total energy consumption in typical Singapore’s buildings is dedicated to air-conditioning, mechanical ventilation systems, water pumps, lights and other services such as lifts and escalators. In addition buildings are estimated to contribute almost 14 per cent of Singapore’s carbon emissions by 2020.
EPGC and Hitachi estimate an increase in energy efficiency from 36 per cent with just a generator, to 52 per cent with the implementation of this integrated system.
The simulation software developed in this project can simulate various building system configurations. This enables consultants to implement the best control strategy resulting in optimal performance, thus improving energy savings even before a building is built.
Mr. Kunizo Sakai, president & CEO of Hitachi’s Infrastructure Systems Company said, “We will commercialize the CHP control systems in 2015 based on the results obtained through this joint research and provide solutions of increasing energy-efficiency and reducing carbon dioxide emissions with lower cost for buildings and factories, primarily in Asia.”
Building to Grid (B2G) is a concept that leverages on a building’s capability to generate electricity on its own for the building’s needs through embedded generation. The building will then become a grid in itself, also known as a microgrid. When many building microgrids with CHP systems are connected to the power grid, these buildings are now able to power the grid and potentially supply excess electricity power to the grid.
The integration of CHP system into the B2G concept enables the building to act as a virtual power plant. This enhances the grid’s resilience to function independently and decreases reliance on the main power grid, which is useful during emergencies or disasters. With B2G, the grid can respond faster to load changes, allowing more intermittent renewable energy to be integrated into the grid.
The CHP pilot plant will function as a platform for experimental support to explore new research ideas for potential energy savings benefits, and study the feasibility of robust energy management and control system under various weather conditions, for greener buildings in Singapore