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VOL. 2, NO.


Development and Evaluation of a Rule-Based Control
Strategy for Ice Storage Systems
Kirk H. Drees, P.E. James E. Braun, Ph.D., P.E.
This paper describes the development and evaluation of a near-optimal control strategy for ice storage sys-
tems. The strategy is based upon simple heuristics that were developed from daily and monthly simulations
of cooling systems with internal melt, area-constrained ice storage tanks. Dynamic programming was used
to obtain the optimal control trajectories which minimized an integrated energy and demand cost function
for both the daily and monthly simulations. In addition to leading to simple heuristics, the monthly optimal
control results were used as benchmarks to evaluate the performance of both conventional and the new con-
trol strategy. For a range of partial-storage systems, load profiles, and utility rate structures, the monthly
electrical costs for the rule-based control strategy were, on average, within about 3% of the optimal costs.
In contrast, the monthly electrical costs associated with the most common conventional control strategy,
chiller-priority control, were as much as 20% greater than optimal, whereas a simple storage-priority strat-
egy yielded costs that were within about 6% of optimal. The rule-based strategy can be easily implemented
within a small micro-processor controller and only requires measurements of the system cooling require-
ment, building electrical usage, and state-of-charge of storage.
Ice storage systems are often used in commercial cooling applications to shift cooling requirements from
periods of on-peak, or high electrical costs, to lower-cost, off-peak periods. Figure 1 depicts a typical sys-
tem. Charging of storage (i.e., ice making) occurs when the building is unoccupied and is accomplished by
completely closing the load bypass valve (V-2) to the building cooling coils and fully opening the storage
control valve (V-1) to the ice-storage tank. In this mode, all the secondary fluid flows through the storage
tank at temperatures low enough to make ice within the tank (e.g., 20F or 7C). The discharging of stor-
age (i.e., ice melting) occurs when the building is occupied. In this mode, valve V-2 is open to the building
cooling coils and valve V-1 modulates the mixture of flows from the storage tank and chiller in order to
maintain a constant supply temperature to the building cooling coils. The rate of storage discharge is con-
trolled by modulating the chiller cooling capacity.
In most cases, partial storage systems are employed where storage is sized so as to meet only a portion
of the on-peak building cooling requirements, and a chiller meets the rest. The maximum possible load
shifting for a partial storage system depends upon the characteristics of the storage (capacity and heat trans-
fer area), the chiller (maximum charging rate), and the load. However, maximum load shifting is not neces-
sarily the best control strategy for ice storage.
The best control strategy for a given day is a complicated function of several factors, including the
utility rates, load profile, chiller characteristics, storage characteristics, and weather. For a utility rate struc-
ture that includes both time-of-use energy and demand charges, the optimal strategy can actually depend
upon variables that extend over a monthly time scale. Consider the following typical discrete cost function
associated with electrical use within a building:
Kirk H. Drees is a Senior Research Engineer with Johnson Controls, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. James E. Braun is an Associate Professor
in the School of Mechanical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana
t { } Max
1 k N
{ } +
k 1 =

Table of Contents
where J is the utility cost associated with the billing period (e.g., a month), t is the stage time interval
(typically equal to the time window over which demand charges are levied, e.g. 0.25 h), N is the number of
time stages in a billing period, and for each stage k: P is the average building electrical power (kW), EC is
the energy cost rate or cost per unit of electrical energy ($/kWh) and DC is the demand charge rate or cost
per peak power rate over the billing period ($/kW).
The first term in Equation (1) represents the total cost of energy use for a building over a billing period,
which is usually a month. Typically, the energy cost rate varies according to time of use with high rates
during the daytime on weekdays and low costs at night and on weekends. The second term in Equation (1)
is the building demand cost. This is the product of the peak power consumption that occurs during the bill-
ing period and the demand cost rate for that stage. The demand cost rate can also vary with time of day,
with higher rates occurring during on-peak periods. In order to determine a control strategy for charging
and discharging storage that minimizes utility costs for a given system, it would be necessary to perform a
minimization of Equation (1) over the entire billing period because of the influence of the demand charge.
An even more complicated cost optimization would result if the utility included ratchet clauses whereby
the demand charge is the maximum of the monthly peak demand cost and some fraction of the previous
monthly peak demand cost within the cooling season. In either case, it is not worthwhile to perform an opti-
mization over time periods longer than those for which reliable forecasts of cooling requirements or ambi-
ent conditions could be performed (e.g., 1 day). It is therefore important to have simple control strategies
for charging and discharging storage over a daily cycle.
It is interesting to evaluate some simple existing control strategies for limiting cases of the cost function
of Equation (1). Consider a limiting case where the demand cost rate is zero and the energy cost rate does
not vary with time. In this situation, the minimization of Equation (1) is equivalent to minimizing the total
electrical energy use. In general, the cooling plant efficiency is much lower when it is being used to make
ice than when it is providing cooling for the building. Thus, the optimal strategy for minimum energy use
would minimize the use of storage. Although this may seem a trivial example, the most common control
strategy in use today for partial ice storage systems attempts to minimize the use of storage and is called
chiller-priority control.
Another situation is where the demand cost rate is zero, but energy costs are higher during on-peak than
off-peak periods. The minimization of Equation (1) then involves trade-offs between energy use and
energy cost rates. For relatively small differences between on-peak and off-peak rates of less than about
30%, the energy penalties for ice making outweigh the effect of the reduced rates and chiller-priority con-
trol is optimal for many cases. However, at higher on-peak energy rates the optimal strategy would switch
to a strategy that would maximize the use of storage. A control strategy that attempts to maximize the
load-shifting potential of storage is typically termed storage-priority control. With storage-priority control,
the chiller operates during the off-peak period to fully charge storage (i.e., make ice). During the on-peak
Figure 1. Schematic of an Ice-Storage System
period, storage is used to cool the building in a manner that minimizes the use of the chiller(s). Partial stor-
age systems that use storage-priority control strategies require forecasts for building cooling requirements
in order to avoid the premature depletion of storage.
The impact of demand costs on the minimization of Equation (1) may be considered next. If energy were
free and only on-peak demand costs were taken into account, then the optimal control strategy would tend
to maximize the use of storage and would control the discharge of storage in a manner that would always
minimize the peak building power. A storage-priority, demand-minimization control strategy for par-
tial-storage systems would require both cooling load and non-cooling electrical use forecasts.
A number of control strategies based upon the three simple limiting cases described above have been
proposed in the literature for ice storage systems (Rawlings 1985, Tamblyn 1985, Spethmann 1989, Grum-
man and Butkus 1989, Braun, 1992). In a real situation where both energy and demand costs are present, it
is not at all obvious how these relatively simple strategies would perform compared to optimal control. In
fact, there are relatively few comparisons within the literature of the performance of alternative control
strategies. Warren (1986) and later Hittle and Smith (1994) compared both the energy and the demand
costs associated with chiller-priority control with those for storage-priority control. They concluded that
storage-priority strategies significantly outperform chiller-priority when time-of-use rates are in place.
Braun (1992) evaluated the performance of chiller-priority and storage-priority control strategies as
compared with optimal control. This study compared daily results for three types of days for one system
over a range of utility rates. The daily optimal control problem was formulated as two limiting cases: (1)
minimum energy and (2) minimum demand. The storage-priority strategy was termed load-limiting con-
trol because it attempts to minimize the peak cooling load during the on-peak period. For the system con-
sidered, the load-limiting strategy provided near-optimal control in terms of demand costs in all cases. This
strategy also worked well with respect to energy costs when time-of-day energy charges were available.
Without time-of-use energy costs, the chiller-priority strategy gave energy costs that were close to opti-
mum. However, for off-design days, the chiller-priority strategy gave significantly greater demand costs
than optimal or storage-priority control. The primary significance of this work was that it established that a
simple strategy could provide near-optimal control in many cases. However, the scope of the study was
limited in terms of the systems considered. In fact, the ice storage system that was studied is not typical of
systems that have been or are being installed.
Recently, Krarti, et al. (1996) evaluated chiller-priority and storage-priority control strategies as com-
pared with optimal control for a wide range of systems, utility rate structures, and operating conditions.
The optimal control problem was formulated as the minimization of a cost function that included both
energy and demand costs, as given by Equation (1). Similar to Braun (1992), they concluded that load-lim-
iting, storage-priority control provides near-optimal performance when there are significant differentials
between on-peak and off-peak energy and demand charges. However, optimal control provides superior
performance in the absence of time-of-day incentives. In general, the monthly utility costs associated with
chiller-priority control were significantly higher than optimal and storage-priority control. However, with-
out time-of-use energy charges, chiller-priority control did provide good performance for individual days
when the daily peak power was less than the monthly peak.
There is clearly a need for a control strategy for ice storage systems that minimizes utility costs and can
be implemented at low initial cost (i.e., small hardware and software configuration requirements). The pre-
vious research studies have demonstrated that load-limiting, storage-priority control works well as an over-
all control strategy in many situations. However, there are cases where it does not perform well. In fact, in
some extreme situations, chiller-priority is a better overall control strategy. In many more cases, the best
strategy for a given system could change between chiller-priority and storage-priority control from one day
to another.
This paper presents the development and evaluation of a simple control strategy that combines elements
of storage-priority and chiller-priority strategies in a way that results in near-optimal performance under all
conditions. The strategy was derived from heuristics obtained through both daily and monthly optimization
results for several simulated systems. Monthly results associated with optimal, chiller-priority, and
load-limiting controls were also used as benchmarks for evaluating the performance of the rule-based con-
trol algorithm.
This study was only concerned with the control variables that affect charging and discharging of the stor-
age. Although the rate at which energy is added or removed from storage does affect the chiller cooling load,
all other cooling system control variables (e.g., cooling tower fan control, supply air set point) were constant
and not part of the alternative control strategies. Three benchmarks are described in this section: chiller-pri-
ority, load-limiting, and optimal control. Two of these methods require forecasts of future conditions (e.g.,
building cooling requirements). For the purposes of comparing the results of the three strategies, perfect fore-
casts were utilized (i.e., known loads and weather conditions). In addition, only steady-periodic behavior was
considered such that the states of storage at the beginning and end of each simulation were equal.
Chiller-Priority Control
The chiller-priority control strategy involves two different modes of operation for different times of the
day. For the off-peak, unoccupied period, the chiller operates at maximum cooling capacity beginning at the
onset of low electrical rates until the maximum amount of ice is formed or until the building is occupied. Dur-
ing the occupied period, the chillers operate at full cooling capacity (or less if sufficient to meet the load) dur-
ing on-peak periods and storage is used to match the difference between the building requirement and chiller
capacity. With chiller-priority control, storage is only fully discharged on the design day. However, it does
not require forecasts of building cooling requirements.
Load-Limiting Control
The load-limiting strategy uses the chiller-priority charging and discharging strategies during the
off-peak periods (both occupied and unoccupied), but uses a different discharge strategy during the
on-peak, occupied period. During the on-peak, occupied period, the goal of load-limiting control is to oper-
ate the chillers at a constant cooling rate such that the storage is fully depleted (i.e., no ice) at the end of the
on-peak period. At any stage k, the chiller loading is determined as
where is a forecast of the integrated building load for the rest of the on-peak period, t
is the
time remaining in the on-peak period, x
is the state of charge defined as the fraction of the maximum stor-
age capacity, x
is a minimum allowable state of charge, Cap
is the maximum possible energy that could
be added to storage during discharge, and is the minimum allowable chiller cooling capacity.
The load-limiting strategy attempts to use the entire storage capacity and tends to minimize the peak
cooling plant power demand, but it does require forecasts of cooling requirements.
Optimal Control
The overall problem of minimizing utility costs over a billing period, as expressed in Equation (1), can
be mathematically described as follows:
Minimize: (3)
with respect to the control variables (u(1), u(2), ..... u(N)) and a billing period demand cost target (TDC)
and subject to the following constraints for each stage k:

ch k ,

bldg k ,
mi n
( )Cap

on k ,

------------------------------------------------------------- Q

ch mi n ,



t { } TDC +
k 1 =

min k ,
max k ,

where for each stage k: u is the rate of energy removal from storage over the stage (positive for charging
and negative for discharging), u
is the maximum energy removal (charging) rate, u
is the minimum
energy removal rate (negative of the maximum discharging rate), x is the fractional state of storage at the
end of the stage, x
is the maximum admissible state of storage, x
is the minimum admissible state of
storage, and f is a state equation that relates the state of storage at stage k to the previous state and current
control. The first stage (i.e., k = 1) is taken to be the stage following the end of the occupied period on the
first day.
The first constraint expressed in Equation (4) arises from the form of the cost function chosen for Equa-
tion (3). At each stage, the demand cost must be less than or equal to the peak demand cost for the billing
period. The peak or target demand cost TDC is an optimization variable that affects both energy and
demand costs. The advantage of posing the optimization problem using Equation (3) rather than Equation
(1) is that it simplifies the numerical solution.
The second constraint given by Equation (5) arises from limits on the rates at which energy can be added
to or removed from storage. These limits depend upon the chiller and storage heat exchanger and can also
depend upon the state of storage. The state of storage is also constrained to be between states associated
with full discharge and full charge [Equation (6)]. As described in the next section, these limits were cho-
sen to ensure effective heat transfer rates. The equality constraint of Equation (7) is actually the state equa-
tion. The state of storage at any stage k is a function of the previous state x
and the charging or
discharging rate u
. The last constraint [Equation (8)], forces a steady-periodic solution to the problem and
forces the tank to be fully discharged at the end of the occupied period at the beginning and end of the opti-
mization period.
There are N+1 variables that must be determined to minimize the cost function of Equation (3). For a
given value of TDC, the minimization of Equation (3) with respect to the N charging (and discharging)
rates is accomplished using dynamic programming (Bellman 1957). The primary advantages of this
method are that it handles constraints on both state and control variables in a straightforward manner and
also guarantees a global minimum. The N-variable optimization problem is resolved at each iteration of an
outer loop optimization for TDC. Brents algorithm (1973) was chosen to solve the one-dimensional opti-
mization for the demand target because it does not require derivative information. This is important
because TDC appears as an inequality constraint in the dynamic programming solution and may not always
be triggered.
Both daily and monthly results are presented in this paper. For daily results, the demand target was spec-
ified and was not part of the optimization procedure. In this case, dynamic programming was used to deter-
mine the N charging (and discharging) rates where N is the number stages in a day.
Figure 1 shows a schematic of the partial ice-storage system considered in this study. The system con-
sists of a chiller, cooling tower, condenser water pump, secondary fluid distribution pump, ice storage tank,
an air handling unit, and control valves. The secondary fluid that is distributed between the chiller, storage,
and air handler is a mixture of 25% glycol and water. All of the pumps and the condenser fan operate at
fixed speed and produce a constant flow rate, while the air handling fan incorporates a variable-pitch axial
fan that produces a variable flow rate in response to the building load requirements. The temperature of
secondary fluid supplied to the air handler is modulated to 40F (4.4C) by mixing secondary fluid from
the storage and chiller.
Table 1 summarizes some of the important design data for this system. The chillers and storage were
sized according to the storage manufacturers guidelines for a partial-storage system. A reciprocating and
centrifugal chiller were considered as alternatives in this study. Both chillers provide approximately 200
mi n

f x
k 1
, ( ) =
mi n
= =
tons (700 kW) of cooling capacity for design ambient conditions with a chiller supply temperature of 40F
(4.4C). The storage tank configuration considered in this study is characterized as an internal melt,
area-constrained, ice-on-pipe storage tank and is shown schematically in Figure 2. Tightly spaced, small
diameter tubes are arranged in a counterflow geometry and are surrounded by water and/or ice within a
cylindrical tank. During either charging (ice making) or discharging (ice melting) cycles, the secondary
fluid is pumped through the tubes. The term area-constrained results from the constraint imposed on ice
making and melting when tubes are spaced closely together.
The building was assumed to be occupied on weekdays from 6 A.M. to 6 P.M. with on-peak electrical
rates in effect from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M. Only a two-tier time-of-day rate structure was considered with an
off-peak energy rate of $0.03/kWh and demand rate of $5.00/kW. In this study, the off-peak rates were
fixed and a range of ratios of on-peak to off-peak energy (ECR) and demand costs (DCR) were considered.
Models of the primary equipment, building loads, and weather conditions were used in this study to
determine utility costs associated with alternative control strategies. Many of the models are based upon
the work of Braun (1992) and are fairly simple representations that are appropriate for comparing the
results of different storage control strategies. The model for storage is based upon a detailed model devel-
oped by Drees and Braun (1995) of a commonly installed internal melt, area-constrained ice storage. The
Table 1. Cooling System Design Data
Description Value
Design peak cooling load 400 tons (1400 kW)
Design day integrated cooling load 3500 ton-hours (12. 3 MWh or 44.3 GJ)
Ice-storage capacity 2090 ton-hours (7.4 MWh or 26.5 GJ)
Nominal chiller cooling capacity 200 tons (700 kW)
Secondary fluid flow rate 540 gpm (34 L/s)
Secondary fluid pump power 50 hp (37 kW)
Condenser water flow 700 gpm (44 L/s)
Condenser water pump power 20 hp (15 kW)
Cooling tower fan power 15 hp (11 kW)
Secondary fluid supply temperature 40F (4.4C)
Figure 2. Area-constrained ice storage tank
only dynamics considered were associated with the ice-storage tank and building structure. Local-loop con-
troller dynamics were considered negligible. Energy gains to the piping, duct work, and storage envelope
were also neglected. More details regarding the models used in this study are given by Drees (1994).
Drees and Braun (1995) developed and validated a model for the thermal performance of ice storage
tanks of the geometry shown in Figure 2. In this model, the state of storage is represented with a single
variable that defines the fraction of the maximum available storage capacity. For any stage k,
where Cap
is the maximum change in internal energy of the storage tank that can occur during a discharge
cycle. The state of charge defined in this manner must be between zero and one. In this study, zero state of
charge corresponds to a tank of water at a uniform temperature of 60F (15.6C) and a complete charge is
associated with a tank that is frozen solid at 32 F (0C).
The charging rate for storage depends upon the storage heat exchanger area, secondary fluid flow rate
and inlet temperature, and the thickness of ice. At any stage, the maximum charging rate is expressed as
is a heat transfer effectiveness for charging at the current state of storage if the secondary
fluid flow rate were at its maximum value of , c
is the secondary fluid specific heat, T
is the tem-
perature of secondary fluid inlet to the tank, and T
is the temperature at which the storage medium melts or
freezes (32 F (0C) for this study).
The minimum charging rate is actually the negative of the maximum discharging rate and is given by
is the heat transfer effectiveness for discharging at the current state of storage if the second-
ary fluid flow rate were at its maximum value of .
The effectivenesses during charging and discharging for the tank considered in this study were deter-
mined using the detailed model developed and validated by Drees and Braun (1995). Figure 3 shows simu-
lated heat transfer effectiveness results for both charging and discharging as a function of fractional state of
charge for the maximum tank flow rate.
Over the first 60 to 70% of the charging cycle, the effectiveness is relatively constant for all cases con-
sidered. In this range, the ice formations do not intersect and the heat transfer effectiveness drops slowly as
the thickness of ice grows. During the last quarter of the charging cycle, the effectiveness drops quickly
due to the rapid loss in surface area at the ice/water interface caused by the overlapping ice formations. The
effectiveness goes to zero as the tank approaches a fully charged state where the surface area goes to zero.
The discharging curve of Figure 3 was generated with the tank initially at a fully charged state. During
the discharge cycle, the ice near the tube melts and forms a water layer. The effectiveness falls with
increasing water layer thickness because heat transfer is dominated by conduction for these thin layers and
the water has about 1/3 the thermal conductivity of ice. During the last quarter of the discharging cycle, the
effectiveness drops even more quickly due to the rapid loss in heat transfer area, approaching zero as the
tank approaches a fully discharged state.
Drees and Braun (1995) found that effectiveness of both charging and discharging was insensitive to the
inlet secondary fluid temperature over the practical range of interest. Therefore, the effectiveness associ-
ated with the complete charging and discharging cycles shown in Figure 3 can be correlated in terms of
state-of-charge. For this study, a lookup table with spline interpolation was used to correlate the effective-
ness results of Figure 3, in order to reduce computational requirements.
k 1
------------ + =
k max ,

c k max , ,

f max ,
f i ,
( ) =

f, max
k mi n ,

d k max , ,

f max ,
f i ,
( ) =

f, max
Although the effectiveness results of Figure 3 were developed for complete charging and discharging
cycles, they were used in this study to determine heat exchanger effectiveness for partial charging and dis-
charging cycles by correcting for the initial state of charge. The discharge effectiveness for a partially
charged tank was determined as
[1 (x
)] is the discharge effectiveness from Figure 3, which is evaluated at [1 (x

)], and x
is the state of charge at the initiation of the discharge cycle. This correction works well
because the water layer that forms between the tube and the ice during discharge is independent of the
amount of ice surrounding the tube. Similarly, the charging effectiveness for a partially discharged tank is
) is the charging effectiveness from Figure 3 evaluated at (x
) and x
is the
state of charge at the initiation of the discharge cycle. This correction is appropriate because after a partial
discharge, ice tends to grows between tube and the old ice formation without interference.
In order to ensure adequate heat transfer rates during charging and discharging, the minimum and maxi-
mum storage states were set as x
= 0.1 and x
= 0.9. The lower limit corresponds to a tank with 7% ice
by mass at a uniform temperature of 32F (0C), while the upper limit is associated with a tank condition
where the ice formations intersect slightly. In this region, both the heat transfer effectiveness and tempera-
ture differences between the secondary fluid and storage are relatively high.
System Power Consumption and Cooling Capacity
At any time, the total power required to operate the building is given by
where P
is the building electrical use that is not associated with the cooling system (e.g., lights),
Figure 3. Storage heat exchanger effectiveness results
(Complete charging and discharging cycles at design flow)


1 x
d,i ni t
( ) [ ] =

c max k , ,

c i ni t ,
( ) =
+ + =
is the power needed to operate the cooling plant, and P
is the power associated with the distribu-
tion of secondary fluid and air through the cooling coils.
The daily simulations incorporated an electrical usage profile that is typical of a commercial building.
On weekdays, the electrical usage was constant at 352 kW between the hours of 7 A.M. to 5 P.M. and varied
linearly between zero and the peak usage during the first and last hour of occupancy (6 to 7 A.M. and 5 to 6
P.M.). The electrical usage was assumed to be zero at night (6 P.M. to 6 A.M.) and on weekends. Two differ-
ent distributions of non-cooling electrical power were considered for the monthly simulations, which will
be referred to as typical and atypical. The typical profile was identical to the profile used for daily sim-
ulations except that it was 20% lower for the lunch period of 12 to 1 P.M. The atypical profile followed the
typical profile with an additional 50% electrical usage for the hours of 8 to 9 A.M., and an additional 60%
usage for 1 to 2 P.M. on weekdays. These electrical spikes during the off-peak and on-peak periods dur-
ing occupancy were added to provide a more rigorous evaluation of the alternative control strategies.
The cooling plant portion of the system shown in Figure 1 consists of the chiller, condenser water pump,
and cooling tower. Drees (1994) developed a model for this cooling plant that was utilized in this study.
The model is based upon curve-fits of overall cooling capacity and power consumption that are similar to
those of Braun (1992). The maximum cooling capacity is correlated in terms of the ambient wet-bulb tem-
perature T
and the temperature of the secondary fluid supplied by the chiller to the load and/or storage
tank T
. The power consumption is correlated as a function of the actual cooling rate of the plant and the
difference between the wet-bulb and secondary fluid temperatures. Data for the correlations were generated
using system simulations that incorporated individual component models for the chiller, cooling tower, and
condenser pump.
Figure 4 shows the part-load characteristics for the cooling plant with a centrifugal chiller. These results
are also representative of the plant with the reciprocating chiller, although the centrifugal chiller is more
efficient and its efficiency depends less on operating temperatures. Both cooling plants operate most effi-
ciently at maximum cooling capacity where the power consumption associated with the fixed speed cool-
ing tower fan and condenser water pump represents a smaller fraction of the total plant power
consumption. The efficiency also improves with decreasing differences between the ambient wet-bulb and
chiller secondary fluid supply temperatures. Figure 4 also demonstrates the effects of operating tempera-
tures on plant cooling capacity. The capacity is about 40% less when the chiller operates to make ice (high
temperature difference) as compared with the operating conditions associated with the discharge period.
At any time, the cooling requirement for the chiller is the difference between the building load require-
ment and the storage discharge rate. The inlet temperature to storage is determined from an energy balance
on the chiller and is used to evaluate the limits on the storage charging and discharging rates in Equations
(10) and (11). The chiller cooling rate must be greater than a minimum value for safe operation, and less
than the chiller capacity. In some cases, safe operation dictates that the chiller run at full capacity for ice
making (e.g., centrifugal chiller with a refrigerant-cooled motor).
The distribution system includes the secondary fluid pump and the air handling unit. The secondary
pump was assumed to operate at a constant flow rate and power consumption equal to the design values,
while the air flow was modulated in proportion to the total building load and the fan power consumption
was estimated using a correlation for an axial fan with variable-pitch blades.
Building Loads and Weather Data
Different models for the building cooling loads and weather data were employed for daily and monthly
simulations in this study.
Daily Simulations
Three different buildings with a 6:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. occupancy schedule were used for the daily sim-
ulations. The different buildings were chosen so as to provide a range of time-dependent load distributions.
They included an office building located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a hospital located in Baltimore, Mary-
land, and a modified version of the office building where the solar coupling was increased and lighter
weight construction was used. Cooling load profiles were generated for a design, moderate, and cool
day to represent different times of the year. Diurnal variations in ambient wet-bulb temperature were also
generated for the design, moderate, and cool days for the two locations using statistical models. Drees
(1994) presented cooling load and ambient wet-bulb temperature profiles for each building and location
and gave details concerning the methods used to determine these profiles.
Monthly Simulations
For the monthly simulations, cooling load requirements at each hour were obtained using a simple
lumped parameter model. At any given hour, the total cooling requirement was determined from an energy
balance on a building zone for a fixed air temperature, including gains from internal sources, solar trans-
mission through windows, conduction through walls and the roof, and ventilation. The dynamics of the
walls, roof, and furnishings were considered through the use of separate first-order differential equations
that were coupled by conduction, convection, and radiation to the room and ambient. The resistances and
capacitances of the walls and roof used in this study are representative of a small lightweight commercial
building and were determined for a rectangular building using data from the ASHRAE Cooling and Heat
Load Calculation Manual (McQuiston and Spitler 1992). The meteorological data was processed using rou-
tines from TRNSYS (Klein et al. 1990) with typical meteorological data (TMY) for Madison, WI.
Figure 5 shows cooling load profiles for the first day of May, June, and July using the typical non-cool-
ing electrical usage for internal gains due to electric sources. The reduction in load that occurs near noon is
due to a lower occupancy at that time. The range of load variations exhibited in Figure 5 provides a large
degree of diversity for testing alternative control strategies.
Daily and monthly optimal control results were generated for a wide range of systems in order develop
heuristics for use within a rule-based controller. For a given day, the rule-based controller operates in one
of three modes in which storage is controlled to: 1) minimize energy costs without any limit on peak power
consumption, 2) minimize the demand costs assuming that this day would establish the monthly demand
charge, and 3) minimize energy costs while attempting to keep the current day from establishing the
monthly demand charge. The heuristics were developed by studying the control trajectories associated with
daily optimizations using these limiting cases. In addition, monthly optimizations were used to evaluate a
simple method for estimating the monthly target for demand costs.
Figure 4. Cooling plant performance (centrifugal chiller) as a function of loading and wet bulb
) minus chiller supply temperature (T
Table 2 shows the range of system variables that were used for the daily and monthly simulations.
Fifty-four combinations of these variables were considered in the daily simulations, while forty combina-
tions were used for monthly results.
Minimum Energy Costs
In some situations, the goal of an optimal controller would be to minimize energy costs. This would be
appropriate for utility rate structures with no demand charges or high ratios of on-peak to off-peak energy
charges. Regardless of the rate structure, minimum energy cost control would be optimal for days on which
its application would result in peak power demand that is less than the peak demand for the billing period.
Minimum energy costs were generated for daily simulations by setting an artificially high demand limit
(TDC). Figure 6 shows representative results for the moderate day with on-peak to off-peak energy cost
ratios of 1 and 3. For either of the utility rates, storage is recharged at the maximum charging rate during
the hours leading up to occupancy. In general, the best plant efficiency is achieved at full capacity because
of the auxiliaries and the penalties associated with operating the chiller at part-load for ice making condi-
tions (see Figure 4). Although it is best to charge storage during the hours immediately preceding the occu-
pied period, the operating costs are relatively insensitive to the time at which charging is initiated since the
variation in wet-bulb temperature is relatively small. Note that the chiller cooling capacity is much greater
during the occupied period because it is not operating at ice making conditions.
Table 2. System Variables for Daily and Monthly Simulations
Description Daily Types or Values Monthly Types or Values
Chillers reciprocating, centrifugal reciprocating, centrifugal
Building office, light office, hospital office
Non-cooling electrical profile typical typical, atypical
ECR 1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3
DCR 1, 2, 3 1, 2, 3
Day types or month cool, moderate, design April, May, June, July, August,
Figure 5. Simulated building cooling requirements
(First day of each month in Madison, Wisconsin)
In the absence of time-of-use energy charges (ECR = 1), Figure 6 demonstrates that a chiller-priority
discharge strategy is utilized. During the occupied period, the chiller either meets the building load or oper-
ates at maximum cooling capacity. With high values of ECR, the discharge control shifts to a storage-prior-
ity strategy in which the use of storage is maximized. However, Figure 6 shows that the discharge of
storage during the occupied period occurs in 2 stages. In the first portion of the occupied period, a
chiller-priority strategy is utilized. The chiller operates at full capacity until the point at which the storage
has sufficient capacity to meet the remainder of the load during the occupied, on-peak period. After this
time, the chiller is turned off and the storage meets the cooling requirement until the end of occupancy. The
optimal controller operates the chiller at maximum capacity during the initial part of the discharge period in
order to achieve a high overall cooling plant efficiency (see Figure 4).
The selection between chiller-priority and storage-priority discharge strategies depends upon the ratio of
on-peak to off-peak electric rates and cooling plant performance characteristics. Figure 7 shows how the
optimal use of storage varies with ECR for a given system for three different days. At high values of ECR,
the use of storage is maximized. For these results, the maximum ice consumption is limited by the amount
of ice that can be produced during the off-peak, unoccupied period (only 9 hours for this case). At low val-
ues of ECR, the ice consumption represents the minimum amount needed to supplement a chiller-priority
control strategy.
The sharp transition between minimum and maximum ice usage shown in Figure 7 suggests that a single
threshold value for ECR could be used to select between a chiller-priority and storage-priority discharge
strategy. Drees (1994) showed that there is a small penalty associated with using a single threshold and that
a chiller-priority discharge strategy should be used if the following inequality holds.
where ECR
is the value of ECR for which chiller-priority and storage-priority discharge strategies give
the same operating costs. Drees also derived the following equation for estimating ECR
Figure 6. Optional minimum energy control daily results
(Office building in Madison, moderate day, centrifugal chiller)


where COP
and COP
are the coefficients of performance for the cooling plant (including chiller, pumps,
and cooling tower fans) during discharging and charging of the tank. The design subscript denotes that
the COPs are evaluated at the worst-case charging and discharging conditions associated with the design
The results of Figures 6 and 7 are representative of many daily simulations that were performed. In gen-
eral, a chiller-priority discharge strategy should be used throughout the occupied period whenever ECR <
. Otherwise, chiller-priority should be used only until the point where the remaining storage capac-
ity is sufficient to meet the building cooling requirements for the remainder of the on-peak, occupied
period. This strategy requires the use of a load forecaster.
Minimum Demand
A control strategy that attempts to minimize the on-peak power demand may be best for the day
within the billing period that would normally establish the demand charge. Minimum demand costs were
generated for daily simulations by setting an artificially low demand limit TDC. Figure 8 shows representa-
tive results for on-peak to off-peak demand cost ratios of 1 and 3. For both cases, storage is charged at the
maximum charging rate during the entire unoccupied period (including on-peak, unoccupied hours). Dur-
ing the unoccupied period, the non-cooling electrical usage is low, and the chiller can operate at maximum
capacity without contributing to the peak power consumption. At the beginning and end of the occupied
period, the non-cooling electrical usage is also low and the chiller operates at a high cooling rate. During
the middle of the occupied period, the chiller operates at a relatively constant cooling rate. Primarily, this is
because the non-cooling electrical load is relatively constant during this time.
There are some differences between the discharge strategies for the two values of DCR shown in Figure
8. As the ratio of on-peak to off-peak demand charges increases, the chiller loading increases during the
Figure 7. Optimal ice consumption for minimum daily energy costs vs. ECR
(Hospital in Baltimore, reciprocating chiller)

off-peak, occupied period and decreases during the on-peak, occupied period. In the absence of off-peak
demand charges or with time-of-use demand charges, a near-optimal discharge strategy for minimum
demand involves using chiller-priority control during the off-peak, occupied period and load-limiting con-
trol during the on-peak, occupied period.
Minimum Energy Costs with a Demand Limit
Figure 9 shows the trajectories of chiller cooling rates associated with demand targets that were set at
the sum of the minimum demand cost and 25%, 50%, and 75% of the difference between the demand costs
for minimum energy and minimum demand control. Similar to the minimum energy control for high ECR,
two distinct discharge strategies occur during the occupied period. In the first and last portions of the occu-
pied period, a chiller-priority, demand-limiting strategy is used. The chiller operates at the maximum possi-
ble capacity that keeps the product of the power and demand charge below the demand cost target. For the
middle of the on-peak, occupied period, the control switches to a storage-priority strategy where the chiller
is turned off, if possible, and storage meets the load (not possible for the 25% demand target). Although the
control switches back to a demand-limited, chiller-priority strategy at the end of the occupied period when
the ambient wet-bulb temperature is lower, the timing of the storage-priority strategy is not critical. For
simplicity, the storage-priority could be delayed until the point at which the storage has sufficient capacity
to meet the remainder of the load during the occupied, on-peak period.
Similar to the minimum energy strategy, the optimal discharge strategy for minimum energy costs with
a demand target depends upon the energy cost ratio ECR. In general, a chiller-priority, demand-limiting
discharge strategy should be used throughout the occupied period whenever ECR < ECR
. Otherwise,
chiller-priority, demand-limiting discharge should be used only until the point where the remaining storage
capacity is sufficient to meet the building cooling requirements for the remainder of the on-peak, occupied
Target Demand Cost
For a given month, the optimal demand target results from a trade-off between energy and demand
costs. Optimal demand targets that minimize total monthly costs were determined for a subset of the systems
shown in Table 2. Figure 10 shows a frequency distribution of the optimal targets expressed as a percentage
of the range of possible demand costs. Zero corresponds to the demand costs for minimum demand control
Figure 8. Optimal minimum demand control daily results
(Office building in Madison, moderate day, centrifugal chiller)
applied throughout each month, whereas 100% is associated with a minimum energy strategy with no
demand target. The optimal demand targets are within about 2.5% of the minimum demand costs for all of
the cases considered. Therefore, a good demand target could be established by applying a demand minimi-
Figure 9. Daily results for optimal minimum energy control
with different targets
(Hospital in Baltimore, moderate day, centrifugal chiller, ECR = 2, DCR = 2)
Figure 10. Frequency distribution of monthly optimal demand targets
as a percentage of the range of possible demand costs
zation strategy for the worst day during the month. This worst day is defined by the fact that the con-
troller would be able to keep the demand costs below this target for all other days within the month.
It would be extremely difficult to forecast the worst day requirements for any month. A simpler
approach would be to estimate an initial demand cost target by applying a demand minimization strategy to
the first day of each month. Minimum energy, demand-limiting control would then be applied for subse-
quent days. The demand target would be reset as necessary for days with high load requirements. This
strategy tends to underestimate the demand target and could result in small energy cost penalties depending
upon when the worst day occurs within the month.
In this section, heuristics developed in the previous section are combined with other simplifications to
give a near-optimal controller that is robust and easy to implement.
Charging Strategy
Figure 11 shows a flowchart for the proposed charging strategy that would be applied at each decision
interval. The charging cycle begins at the onset of the off-peak, unoccupied period and the chiller operates
at maximum capacity until the storage reaches its maximum state (x = x
) or the off-peak, unoccupied
period ends. This strategy ensures that sufficient ice will be available for the next day without the need for
a forecaster and results in efficient operation of the chiller. Furthermore, there is only a small heat transfer
penalty associated with restoring a partially discharged, internal melt storage tank to a full charge. In this
case, the charging cycle always starts with a high transfer effectiveness since water surrounds the tubes
regardless of the amount of ice melted. The heat transfer effectiveness drops gradually until the new ice
formations intersect with old formations, at which point the tank is fully recharged.
As shown in the previous section, an optimal controller might charge storage during the on-peak unoccu-
pied period for situations where it is desirable to minimize demand costs. However, it would be difficult to
anticipate the need for demand minimization and it would not make sense to always charge during the
on-peak, unoccupied period because of energy cost penalties. The algorithm depicted in Figure 11 results from
a trade-off between performance and simplicity. Although it works well for the systems considered in this
study, performance may suffer for systems sized such that the off-peak, unoccupied period is not sufficient to
recharge a large portion of the storage capacity.
The charging strategy may also not work as well for external melt storage tanks since they have a more
significant heat transfer penalty associated with recharging after a partial discharge. In this case, it may be
desirable to fully discharge the tank each day and only recharge as necessary to meet the next day's cooling
requirements. To ensure that adequate ice is available, it would be necessary to forecast the maximum pos-
sible storage needed for the next day.
Discharge Strategy
Figure 11 also shows a flowchart for the discharge strategy that is applied during each decision interval
within the occupied period. Block 1 determines whether the use of storage should be maximized or mini-
mized. If the use of storage lowers daily energy costs, then blocks 2 through 8 are used. In this case, the
goal of the strategy is to minimize the use of storage until the capacity is sufficient to meet the entire build-
ing load for the rest of occupied period. At each decision interval, block 2 estimates whether the next inter-
val would establish the demand cost for the entire billing period. In this case, demand limiting is enabled
and blocks 3 through 5 are used to maintain demand costs at a target demand cost until the point when
chiller operation is no longer needed to meet the building load. When demand limiting is not enabled,
chiller-priority control is utilized until the chiller is turned off and storage meets the entire load. If the use
of storage would increase daily energy costs, blocks 9 through 11 are used to minimize the use of storage,
while keeping the demand costs at or below a target demand cost. A more detailed discussion of the logic
associated with each block follows.
Discharge Strategy Selection (Block 1)
The use of storage should always be minimized during the off-peak, occupied period or during the
on-peak, occupied period when ECR < ECR
, where ECR
is determined with Equation (16). In either
case, blocks 9 through 11 should be applied. The use of storage should be maximized (blocks 2 through 8)
when the equality of Equation (15) does not hold during the on-peak, occupied period.
Demand Limiting Initialization (Blocks 2, 9)
Demand limiting is enabled when for any demand interval k,
where DC
is the cost per unit demand for the next interval, is a forecast of the next interval's elec-
trical demand, and TDC
is the current target demand cost. The demand interval is the time period over
which the building power consumption is averaged in order to determine the current demand, and is typ-
ically 15 minutes. Seem (1995) presented an algorithm for short-term forecasts of electrical demand that
could be used to estimate for each demand interval.
The previous section demonstrated that the best target demand is the minimum possible demand cost for
the entire billing period. An estimate of the minimum demand cost is determined by applying the load-lim-
iting control on the first day of each billing period. For subsequent days in the billing period, the minimum
demand cost is updated at each interval as
Storage-Priority Initialization and Control (Blocks 3, 6 and 5, 8)
In the previous section, it was shown that the optimal control switches from a chiller-priority to stor-
age-priority strategy whenever the storage capacity is greater than the remaining integrated load. There-
fore, storage-priority control is enabled whenever
Several methods exist for forecasting hourly cooling loads, such as those presented by Forrester et al.
(1984), MacArthur et al. (1989), and Seem et al. (1991). These methods give the expected value (not a
worst-case value) for hourly forecasts and could be integrated to give an expected value for the total future
cooling requirement. It is probable that forecasting errors could result in premature depletion of storage in
some situations. Several alternatives exist for dealing with this problem.
The simplest approach to dealing with premature storage depletion would be to tolerate it. The thermal
mass of most commercial buildings is sufficient to maintain conditions within the comfort zone for up to an
hour in the absence of air conditioning. Furthermore, the building load would be low at the end of the day
when storage would be depleted. A conservative strategy would be to allow comfort conditions to float
up to an upper comfort limit after which the chiller(s) would turn on to maintain conditions.
An even more conservative strategy would be to ensure that adequate ice is available by using a
worst-case forecast of the integrated building load for the rest of the on-peak period in Equation (19).
Worst-case hourly forecasts could be determined using one of the existing forecasting methods by adding
the expected value of the hourly forecasts and the forecast errors associated with a specified confidence
interval (e.g., 2 standard deviations for a 95% confidence interval). The worst-case hourly forecasts would
then be integrated to give a worst-case integrated forecast.
Once the control switches to a storage-priority strategy, the goal would be to not operate the chiller for
the remainder of the occupied period. However, this would not be possible if the discharge rate from stor-
age was insufficient to meet the load. Fortunately, this would not be the case for most systems since the
heat exchanger area is primarily dictated by the charging not discharging requirements. In fact, the heat
transfer rates for storage discharge are generally about a factor of three greater than those for charging due
to a much larger temperature difference between the secondary fluid and storage. For situations where the
discharge rate is not sufficient to meet the building load, then a load-limiting discharge strategy would be
more appropriate for the on-peak, occupied period than the strategy proposed here.
Demand-Limiting (Blocks 4, 10)
k 1 +

k 1 +

k 1 +

k 1 +
Maximum DC
k 1
, { } =
( X
mi n

bldg k ,

Figure 11. Flow chart for the rule-based control strategy
Once demand-limiting has been initiated, a feedback (e.g., PI) controller would be used to adjust the
chiller cooling rate in order to keep the demand cost (DC
) equal to the target demand cost (TDC
). The
controller would tend to increase the chiller cooling with decreases in either non-cooling electrical or build-
ing cooling requirements and decrease the loading, otherwise.
Although the demand-limiting discharge tends to minimize the use of storage, it would be possible to
prematurely use all of the ice if the target demand cost were too low. Therefore, a lower limit for the chiller
cooling rate is established by using the load-limiting rate determined with Equation (2).
This section presents comparisons of performance for optimal, rule-based, load-limiting, and chiller-pri-
ority control. These results were generated assuming perfect forecasts of future cooling loads for the
rule-based and load-limiting methods and an ideal feedback controller for demand limiting with the
rule-based controller. Table 2 describes the systems that were considered for daily and monthly compari-
Daily Results
Figures 12A and 12B show comparisons between the rule-based and optimal controllers for a moder-
ate day with specified demand cost targets. The demand cost targets are specified as a percentage of the
difference between the demand costs that would occur on this single day for two limits: minimum energy
and minimum demand control. A 0% target corresponds to the demand cost when minimum demand con-
trol is applied and a 100% target is the demand cost for minimum energy. The figures show the time varia-
tion in chiller cooling requirements for different target demand costs.
Figure 12A shows that the rule-based and optimal control trajectories are nearly identical for the 75%
target. During the occupied period, the controllers begin with a chiller-priority strategy, followed by
demand-limiting, and end with storage-priority control. The energy and demand costs for the rule-based
controller are within 1% of those for the optimal controller.
The trajectories of the optimal and rule-based controllers differ for the lower target demand in Figure
12B. The optimal controller must use a portion of the on-peak, unoccupied period for charging in order to
meet the demand constraint, while the rule-based controller is limited to the off-peak, unoccupied period.
The rule-based controller operates with a load-limiting discharge strategy during the occupied period in
order to avoid premature storage depletion and does not meet the demand constraint. However, the higher
demand costs of the rule-based controller are offset somewhat by lower energy costs. Both controllers
switch to chiller-priority control near the end of the day in response to lower non-cooling electrical usage.
For the rule-based controller, the use of the chiller-priority strategy saves additional storage capacity that
allows a switch to storage-priority control for the last hour of the occupied period.
Similar comparisons were obtained for other days, buildings, and utility rates. On the design day, the
rule-based controller reverts to the use of a load-limiting strategy in order to meet the building cooling
requirements. For off-design days with no time-of-use energy rates, the rule-based controller operates with
chiller-priority control except during the middle of the occupied period when demand-limiting control is
Monthly Results
Figure 13 presents comparisons of monthly total building electrical costs (combined energy and
demand) for chiller-priority, load-limiting, and rule-based control normalized by the optimal control costs
for the range of systems described in the monthly column of Table 2. The abscissa is the total monthly cost
for providing electricity to the building for each of the strategies divided by the cost if optimal control had
been applied, while the ordinate is the number of occurrences of a particular cost ratio within a specific
range of ratios.
The overall performance of the rule-based controller is excellent, and is superior to both chiller-priority
and load-limiting control. On average, the rule-based controller gave costs that were within 3% of the opti-
mal. In contrast, the costs associated with the chiller-priority controller were between 3% and 20% greater
than the optimal control. Although the load-limiting controller performed well in most cases, the average
costs were about twice those of the rule-based controller.
Figure 12. daily comparisons of optimal minimum energy control and rule-based, near-optimal
control for demand targets of (A) 75% and (B) 25%
(Office building in Madison, moderate day, centrifugal chiller, ECR = 2, DCR = 2)
Figure 13. Frequency distribution of monthly costs relative to optimal costs for chiller-priority,
load-limiting, and rule-based control
For the rule-based controller, the worst relative performance occurs in hotter months having higher
cooling requirements. For these months, the optimal controller can achieve a lower peak demand by utiliz-
ing the on-peak, unoccupied period for charging. All three of the simplified strategies have similar perfor-
mance for the hotter months, because the chiller must operate near its capacity in order satisfy the building
load requirements. The performance of the chiller-priority control suffers in cooler months. For low
energy rate ratios, the chiller-priority gives low energy costs at the expense of high demand costs. For high
energy cost ratios, both energy and demand costs are high for chiller-priority. In contrast, the load-limiting
control always gives low demand costs but may give high energy costs when energy cost ratios are low.
The rule-based controller works well because it selects an appropriate discharge strategy that depends upon
the utility rates and load requirements.
Table 3 gives seasonal results for a typical system for two different energy cost ratios. The seasonal
costs were determined by adding the costs associated with the monthly simulations. The optimal and
rule-based controllers give nearly identical seasonal costs, whereas the chiller-priority is significantly
worse, and the load-limiting is slightly worse. Although the relative performance of the load-limiting strat-
egy is worse in the absence of time-of-use rates, it represents a reasonable strategy for this system.
This paper described the development and evaluation of a rule-based control strategy for ice storage sys-
tems. The controller combines heuristics that were developed through the use of daily and monthly simula-
tions with additional simplifications that improve robustness and ease of implementation. For a range of
systems, load profiles, and utility rate structures, the monthly electrical costs for the rule-based control
strategy were within about 3% of the minimum possible costs and were significantly less than those associ-
ated chiller-priority control. The rule-based strategy can be easily implemented within a small micro-pro-
cessor controller and only requires measurements of the system cooling requirement, building electrical
usage, and state-of-charge of storage. The performance of load-limiting control is slightly worse than the
rule-based controller and could be considered as a viable alternative. This strategy is somewhat simpler
than the rule-based controller to implement and does not require a measurement of building electrical
c specific heat
storage capacity (maximum possible change in internal energy)
COP cooling system coefficient of performance (cooling rate divided by power consumption)
DC utility demand charge, $/kW
DCR ratio of on-peak to off-peak demand charges
EC utility energy charge, $/kWh
ECR ratio of on-peak to off-peak energy charges
value of ECR where chiller-priority and storage-priority discharge strategies
give identical energy costs for a day
J integrated electrical demand and energy costs for building operation
mass flow rate of secondary fluid through the tank
N number of time intervals for optimization
P total building electrical power (cooling and non-cooling)
heat transfer rate
integrated building load forecast from stage k until the end of the occupied period
T temperature
TDC target demand cost for the billing period
u storage charging rate (rate of energy removal from storage)
x fractional state of charge
Table 3. Seasonal Cost Comparisons
(April through September in Madison, typical electrical profile, centrifugal chiller, DCR = 2)
ECR Chiller-Priority Load-Limiting Rule-Based Optimal
1 $57,212 $56,132 $54,536 $53,139
2 $77,217 $73,160 $71,588 $70,641


overall storage heat exchanger effectiveness
t time interval
c charging
chs chilled water supply
d discharging
f secondary fluid conditions
i inlet conditions
k time stage
max maximum allowable
min minimum allowable
s refers to conditions or properties of storage
wb wet bulb
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