Optimizing Mixed Cool Thermal Storage Systems Across a Connected Community: Article No. 129333

Karl Heine, Paulo Cesar Tabares-Velasco, Michael Deru

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A high level of electric demand flexibility must be integrated into our building infrastructure to enable greater renewable energy penetration in the grid. In the U.S., 9% of electricity generated is used to cool buildings in a periodic manner, making this end-use an ideal target for active management through cool thermal energy storage (CTES) technologies. Historic uses for CTES are designed around central chilled water plants, but these systems cool less than 25% of U.S. commercial floorspace. Emerging technologies are under development to serve the many smaller distributed cooling systems, such as rooftop units (RTUs), and have the potential to add CTES to an additional 66% of cooled commercial floorspace. However, these unitary thermal storage systems (UTSS) lack the modeling and analysis tools to evaluate them in the future interactive grid context. This study develops the modeling and optimization tools necessary to simultaneously examine central and distributed ice storage systems within the multi-building, connected community context. An integrated simulation-optimization workflow is created to allow for rapid customized analysis. Results demonstrate the energy and flexibility tradeoffs of various implementations.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2023

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5500-88151


  • building energy simulation
  • connected community optimization
  • cool thermal energy storage
  • mixed-integer linear programming


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