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Control systems

The research theme on control systems investigates current ORC control systems and processes and applies new techniques to improve ORC process efficiency. Firstly, a real-time control systems modelling tool will be developed that will enable efficient control of the processing plant for specific processing environments. The work will build algorithms for steady state and unsteady state conditions. The tool will be specifically tailored to accommodate the flexibility in process and equipment selection expected with the modular plant packages to be developed. This will be done in the dynamic process modelling software VMGSim developed as a spin-off from Youngs research group. The tool will be developed to enable remote access, monitoring and control capability. The tool will ensure eco-efficient (economic and ecologically efficient) operation of the plant over the entire life cycle. This will be both for fast dynamics as the ORC plant operation changes due to process variability and for slow dynamics as the plant scales and deteriorates with age. The aim is to ensure that the whole of life cost is minimised and efficiency maximised.

Secondly, the control systems tool developed will be validated against an operating pilot plant. Control strategies will be optimised and refined for efficient plant operation. Remote access, monitoring and control capability developed through the control systems tool will be validated against an operating pilot plant as well. The control tool will be applied to at least 2 developed pilot plants of different modular arrangements.

Control technology research

Effective process control is critically important for optimal plant performance. This work stream is focused on creating control philosophies and models for smart and effective control of power cycles and to generate simulations of plant performance under steady as well as unsteady state scenarios. The advantage of this project is in knowledge accumulated can be used to create smarter power cycles control strategies maximising plant efficiency. This work stream is being led by Dr. Brent Young along with the support of a capable control systems research team.

Control systems development

The control strategies and systems developed under Control Technology Research are implemented into physical plants for on-site testing and evaluation. The installation, testing and validation of control systems form part of the plant commissioning process. This project evaluates the success of the control philosophies in maximising plant efficiency. This work stream is also led by Dr. Brent Young along with the support of a capable control systems research team.