PhD Studentship: Hybrid HVAC Control of Mixed-Mode Buildings

United Kingdom
Dec 16, 2015
Dec 01, 2016
Organization Type
University and College
Full Time

PhD Studentship: Hybrid HVAC Control of Mixed-Mode Buildings

Electro-Mechanical Research Group

Location:  Highfield Campus
Closing Date:   Thursday 01 December 2016
Reference:  665615BX

Project Reference: EngSci-ELM-126

Project Themes:  Mechatronics, signal processing and control

According to statistics by the EC’s Joint Research Centre, heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) in the 27 European Union Member States account for approximately 313 TWh of electricity in 2007, which occupies 11% of the total electricity consumed in Europe that year. Therefore, improving the energy-efficiency of HVAC systems is a key to reach the EU’s target of reducing energy use by 20% by 2020. A promising solution is to develop hybrid or mixed-mode buildings, which use natural ventilation if the outdoor weather conditions are favourable, but reverts to mechanical systems for HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning) if the weather outdoors is not amenable. A hybrid building should be able to switch between the two modes of operations in such a way that minimizes energy consumption without compromising indoor air quality or the thermal comfort of its occupants. This requires an intelligent control system that can switch and operate between natural and mechanical ventilation according to the variations of indoor/outdoor conditions. In this project, we, in collaboration with researchers on building engineering from University of Reading, plan to develop a general control design framework for the aforementioned mixed-mode buildings to improve energy efficiency and the thermal comfort of their occupants, and verify the design via large-scale numerical simulation. Both model-based and simulation-based techniques will be employed to synthesize control algorithms with guaranteed stability, performance, and robustness. Experimental validation may also be conducted if possible depending on the progress of the project.  The impact of the proposed research is prominent and promising. The successful completion of this project will not only deepen understanding on principle and theory of control design for hybrid building, but also provide practical design approaches which hold the promise of substantial energy improvements.

If you wish to discuss any details of the project informally, please contact Shu, Zhan Electro-Mechanical Engineering Group, Email:, Tel: +44 (0) 2380 59 3687.

To apply please use the following link and select Faculty of Engineering and the Environment.