In this work a hardware-in-the-loop simulator of a novel micro combined heat and power system is discussed and its potential presented. The plant under investigation consists of a concentrated Linear Fresnel Reflectors solar field, a 2kWe/18kWt Organic Rankine Cycle unit and an advanced latent heat thermal energy storage tank equipped with reversible heat pipes.
Because of the complexity of the integrated system, various control strategies are requested for its optimized operation. However, the evaluation of the different control logics and optimizations in real-time can be complex due to technical and reliability issues. Hence, a hardware-in-the-loop simulation framework based on Matlab/Simulink has been developed and validated to assess the dynamics operation of the different subsystems with varying control strategies and set-points. As an example of the validation procedure, the use of the simulator is illustrated by means of the switch among the different operation modes of the plant with varying ambient conditions. The scientific approach proposed can be extended to any function block of the developed controller.
Keywords renewable energy, energy systems for power generation in urban environment, micro combined heat and power system, hardware-in-the-loop, operation control, smart energy management