Optimal design of mixed AC-DC distribution systems for commercial buildings

TitleOptimal design of mixed AC-DC distribution systems for commercial buildings
Publication TypeThesis
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsFrank SM
UniversityColorado School of Mines
Thesis Typephd
ISBN Number1303025205
AbstractWith the advent of inexpensive computing and efficient power electronics, the load mix in commercial buildings has experienced a fundamental shift away from almost exclusively traditional alternating current (AC) loads toward primarily direct current (DC) loads—devices which use DC electricity either for end-use or as a power conditioning stage. Simultaneously, installations of DC distributed generation sources for commercial buildings, such as rooftop photovoltaic arrays, are accelerating. Despite this proliferation of DC devices, the basic design of building electrical distribution systems has changed very little in the past century: AC distribution remains the industry standard. The AC- DC electricity conversions required to connect DC sources and loads to the AC electric grid result in wasted energy. Partial replacement of AC distribution with DC distribution can improve overall building electrical energy efficiency; the result is a mixed AC-DC electrical distribution system. This dissertation develops a modeling framework, math- ematical program, and global optimization algorithm which determine maximally energy efficient designs for mixed AC-DC building electrical distribution systems. The research approach precisely quantifies building electrical energy efficiency at a systems level, not simply the level of individual devices. The results of two case studies validate the power of the optimization algorithm and demonstrate that well designed mixed AC-DC building electrical distribution systems can achieve higher efficiency than either AC or DC distribution used alone.