Design and Control of Phase Change Material-Based Energy Storage

We proposed a PCM-based energy storage solution to be integrated in air-distribution systems. Charging and discharging of the PCM storage can be achieved through dynamic reset of the supply air temperature. Compared to conventional PCM wall panels, the in-duct PCM storage offers a range of advantages including 1) deeper thermal penetration with forced convection between airflow and PCM, 2) controllable charge/discharge rate through dynamic supply air temperature control, and 3) negligible indoor comfort impact.

Mixed-integer convex programming-based control algorithms were developed for optimal charging/discharging of the PCM storage, in response to time-of-use electricity rate schedules. These algorithms are easy to implement and can achieve near-optimal control performance. Preliminary economic analysis has shown payback periods of less than 10 months for the packaged storage+control solution.


  • Jiang, Z. and Cai, J. Mixed-Integer Convex Programming-Based Predictive Control of PCM Energy Storage in Buildings, Energy and Buildings, 2020, submitted.
  • Jiang, Z. and Cai, J., Optimized Control of PCM-Based Storage Integrated in Building Air-Distribution Systems, American Control Conference, 2020, to appear.

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