IIT Mandi algorithm enhances HVAC efficiency

  • March 31, 2020
  • imc

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Mandi (IIT Mandi) have developed an algorithm for component failure detection and diagnosis that can enhance the energy-efficient operation of HVAC systems in buildings.
In centralised HVAC systems in buildings, climate control and ventilation are performed at a centralised location outside the building by an air-handling unit, which results in better maintenance and no indoor noise. The processed air is distributed to every room with the help of controlled ducts and excess air in the room is re-circulated through the unit.
The effective operation of centralised HVAC systems requires the careful orchestration of the various components. A faulty component cab hamper the efficient HVAC operation and increase operating costs. Furthermore, a faulty component increases the load on the other healthy components, thereby increasing wear and tear and reducing the life of the entire system.
Commercially available building energy management systems cannot accurately pinpoint the location and magnitude of a fault that has occurred in the HVAC. Automatic diagnosis of faults can provide a heads-up on possible failure and this information can be used to repair the system proactively and thus reduce the turnaround time and costs of HVAC fault maintenance.
The results of this work have been published in the Journal of Building Engineering. The research paper was written under the direction of Tushar Jain, assistant professor at IIT Mandi, and co-authored by his research scholar Mona Subramaniam and Joseph Yamé from Universitè de Lorraine in France.
“Variable-air-volume [VAV] terminal boxes are an important component of centralised HVAC systems,” said Jain. “Any faults or failures in these VAV boxes can drastically affect the control performance. The VAV dampers play a significant role in the supervisory health-aware control strategy of the system, and timely and automatic detection of faults in these components can be very useful in the management of the health of the HVAC.”
The algorithm developed for detection and estimation of the magnitude of the failure of VAV dampers uses analytical models that are applicable over a wide range of unpredictable operating conditions, such as weather dynamics, outside air temperature and zone occupancy profile.
“The wall temperature, which is usually ignored in climate control, is an important parameter for efficient function of the HVAC, and our algorithm takes this into consideration,” said Jain.
The team has demonstrated the effectiveness through simulation studies and has shown that the developed algorithm can successfully detect and estimate the magnitude of VAV multiple damper faults.
This research work has been funded by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology under the Visvesvaraya PhD Scheme, and the Science & Engineering Research Board of the Indian government and partially supported by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union.
The team is working towards developing decentralised and distributed fault diagnosis algorithms and fault-tolerant control strategies for large scale buildings to ensure more energy-efficient operation of HVAC systems and hopes to extend this work to real-time testing and validation on a real building monitoring platform.
Since the first batch of 97 students joined in July 2009, IIT Mandi has grown to host 125 faculty and 1655 students who are enrolled in various programmes of studies in undergraduate, postgraduate and research programmes, and 1141 alumni.