Project progress report - week 29-30-31-32

So, looking at the crude numbers I haven't updated this blog for a month now. On my defence, I had my rightful dose of vacation, so that boils down to a couple of weeks of absence

Anyway, apart from the vacation, these weeks' work has been devoted to the following activities:

  • ECOS 2015 paper extension
  • Application for Finnish Academy PostDoc funding
  • SCC conference
  • Summer course on "Dealing with uncertainty"


ECOS 2015 paper extension

New data to look at, new errors / inconsistencies coming up.

So, the big deal this time is that heat demand and production do not correspond, when aggregated over the full year of operations. This is clearly annoying, as I do not incorporate any model for heat losses in the steam distribution system in the main model, so the two should be exactly the same.

The reason is: sometimes there is too much steam available, more than the demand, from the heat recovery. This might be due to two things:

  • The heat demand calculation is wrong. Or, to be a bit less pessimistic, inaccurate. 
  • There is some "inertia" element that is moving the unbalance around

So, although the first reason is certainly making up to a good part of the explanation, the second one is too, and it is much easier to deal with. So I spent some time trying to find a way to include the correspondent of a model for heat storage (that is, the steam drum) into the main model. 

At the same time, I tried to optimize some parameters around so to minimize the error on the consumption of the boilers. The results are somewhat encouraging, although we are still far from perfection. But at least now negative boiler consumption is no longer allowed...


Application to Academy of Finland

Finally the idea took shape. And I also think it is kind of nice. 

Basically, the whole concept is about how to optimally, and automatically, operate ships with complex energy systems. Sounds hard. Basically, the idea is that to save on carbon dioxide emissions, we will have to make systems more and more complex. If it is rather easy to control the system of a ship today (you basically just regulate the fuel going to the engines), it might not be as easy once we put some more systems on, such as wind propulsion, waste heat recovery and batteries, the whole question becomes more complex. 

How do we control this system? How do we make use of the good information we have from extensive sensor networks? 

These are (more or less) the answers that this project plans to address

The deadline is on the 27th of September, meaning that I have some time to refine it after receiving feedback.


Summer course on "Dealing with uncertainty"

Between the 28th of August and the 1st of September I attended a very, very interesting summer school at the Max Plank Institute of Magdeburg about "dealing with uncertainty". Basically, we had presenters from all over the world talking about their work of...well, doing engineering while dealing with uncertain quantities, parameters, inputs, and so on. 

The question was addressed for the following topics:

  • Control and uncertainty
  • Uncertainty in linear optimization
  • Process design under uncertainty
  • Measuring uncertainty

All in all, a very interesting summer school, with many interesting people. Good to be there!


SCC Conference

I finally attended the conference I had struggled to finish to write the paper for, this "Shipping in Changing Climates" Conference, London, 4th-5th of September 2017. Nice to be there, nice to meet new people and old ones. The atmosphere of this conference, being that most people know each other, is quite relaxed and friendly. 

I presented the first publication issued from my work about process integration in shipping. You can check it out here

Posted by Francesco Baldi on Friday 8 September 2017 at 17:35