Mechanical Engineering Faculty Candidate

Author: Cynthia Dalton
Event Date: March 13, 2014
Speaker: Dr. Neera Jain
Speaker Affiliation: Visiting Researcher in Mechatronics
Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories
Sponsor: School of Mechanical Engineering
Type: Faculty Candidate Seminar
Time: 3:30 pm
Location: ME 2054
Contact Name: Cynthia Dalton
Contact Phone: 49-46900
Contact Email:
Open To: all
Thermodynamics-Based Optimization of Integrated Energy Systems


Integrated energy systems (IESs) combine power generation technologies, such as internal combustion (IC) engines or fuel cells, with other technologies which directly utilize the electrical power produced by the generator and/or utilize the thermal energy otherwise wasted in the production of power.  IESs are becoming more prevalent because of their environmental, economic, and efficiency benefits.  However, to fully realize these benefits, effective optimization and control of IESs is required.

In this talk, the use of a thermodynamics-based minimization metric, exergy destruction, is proposed for formulating objective functions that are 1) physics-based, 2) generalizable to a wide class of IESs, and 3) modular with the ability to characterize not only an entire IES but also specific subsystems of a larger IES.  Exergy destruction can be used to characterize irreversibilities across multiple energy domains (e.g., chemical, electrical, mechanical, and thermal) making it a particularly suitable metric for IESs.

First, the generalizability and modularity of the optimization framework is demonstrated through static setpoint optimization of a combined heating, cooling, and power (CCHP) system with time-varying performance demands.  A second case study investigates the use of transient exergy destruction minimization (EDM) for the purpose of optimally controlling a vapor-compression system with full actuation capabilities.  The results highlight how time-varying control decisions can affect the distribution of irreversibilities throughout the overall system.  Moreover, we show that EDM has the potential to uncover a different set of solutions than those produced by an energy or power minimization and is therefore a valuable tool for operational optimization of IESs. 


Dr. Neera Jain received her S.B. in Mechanical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2006 and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering in 2009 and 2013, respectively, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  She is a recipient of the Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Fellowship (2010), the ASME Graduate Teaching Fellowship (2011), and the Eugene and Lina Abraham Fellowship from the University of Illinois (2008).  She is currently a visiting member of the research staff in the mechatronics group at Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories.  Her research interests include dynamic modeling and optimal control design for multi-domain and multi-scale energy systems. 

Faculty Host:  Professor Eckhard Groll