Increasing Ship Power System Capability throught Exergy Control

U.S. Dept. of Defense, Office of Naval Research

The main objective of this effort is to develop an exergy control strategy, applied to a ship medium voltage de (MVDC) grid that exploits exergy flow coupling between multiple subsystems. This work involves: 1) exergy control strategy development and 2) mapping exergy control system performance to ship-relevant metrics. A ship power grid Challenge Problem model will be developed to illustrate and resolve the fundamental gaps of exergy control. The model will also compare and contrast feedforward and feedback exergy control with conventional strategies.

Introduction
Ship subsystems and mission modules perform energy conversion during their operation resulting in a combination of electricity consumption, heat generation and mechanical work. Mission module thermal management requirements further impact the ship’s electrical grid, for example, via chiller operation. Subsystems often have opportunities for performing an energy storage role during their operation cycle. A ship crane is one example where potential energy is stored in the raised load and can be converted into electrical energy during lowering. Whether subsystem requirements are dominated by electrical, thermal or mechanical functions, they are coupled through energy and information flows, often by the ship’s electrical power grid. Treating each subsystem as a disconnected entity reduces the potential for exploiting their inherent interconnection and likely results in over designed shipboard systems with higher than necessary weight and volume. Realizing the opportunity of coupled subsystem operation requires modeling and control schemes that are unavailable today, but that we believe should require few infrastructure changes. We propose that the design and control of coupled ship subsystems should be based on exergy- the amount of energy available for useful work. A recent study, applied to a room heating system, showed that exergy control increased the overall efficiency by 18%. Since the system was powered electrically, this translated directly to a decrease in the electrical load. The main objective of this effort is to develop an exergy control strategy, applied to a ship medium voltage de (MVDC) grid that exploits exergy flow coupling between multiple subsystems.

An exergy approach to control permits consideration of both mission modules and the platform infrastructure as mixed physics power systems that may act as loads, storage or sources depending on the situation. Instead of separately designed and managed subsystems that satisfy electrical and thermal requirements via static design margins a, multi-physics, unified system-of-systems approach is needed to enable affordable mid-life upgrades as requirements and mission systems evolve over the platform’s lifespan. Being able to translate the benefits of exergy control into savings in mass, volume, energy storage requirements and fuel usage is necessary for making rational design decisions for new ship platforms and for increasing the efficiency of legacy ship systems. Currently, there does not exist an analysis technique to map control system performance into ship-relevant performance metrics. This restricts ship designers from understanding the tradeoffs of adopting advanced control schemes that may exploit subsystem coupling. One of the objectives of this work is to develop a method for extrapolating control system performance into ship-relevant metrics that impact mass, volume, energy storage, and fuel usage.

As described above, there are two main thrusts to this work: (1) exergy control strategy development and (2) mapping exergy control system performance to ship-relevant metrics. We will develop a ship power grid Challenge Problem model that will illustrate the fundamental gaps of exergy control that will be addressed. The model will also be used to compare and contrast feedforward and feedback exergy control with conventional strategies. Techniques for mapping the results of the exergy control to weight, volume, and energy storage requirements will be developed and applied to the Challenge Problem throughout the project.

Investigators: Gordon Parker and Rush Robinett, and Ed Trinklein.