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Agent based control of conflicting objectives in water systems

Subject: Agent based control of conflicting objectives in water systems
Staff Mentor: prof. B. De Schutter
Other Mentor(s): Anna Sadowska (DCSC), Peter-Jules van Overloop (CITG)
Keywords: Model predictive control; Applications; Optimization-based control; Multi-level and multi-agent control
Description: Renewable energy and sustainable resources utilization have been in the focus of attention in the scientific and industrial community for many years. Worldwide, hydropower is one of the most prominent sources of sustainable energy. Yet, in the Netherlands, hydropower is one of the least meaningful resources in terms of energy production. This can be attributed to the sub-sea location of the country which means that the energy is difficult to be successfully generated on a large scale. Instead, energy is in fact required to pump water out of the drainage system to the sea as part of a flood defence mechanism. Therefore, for a country like the Netherlands, it appears to be more relevant to study sustainable and cost-effective ways of energy consumption in terms of water resources management than hydropower energy production itself. In particular, since water needs to be properly managed in low-lying countries (it has to be pumped out of the land to avoid flooding), the associated energy consumption and the related cost may indeed be significant. Therefore, in this project we will look at the problem how to manage water resources (e.g. drain excess water from land) using model predictive control, while minimizing the energy consumed during that process. In addition, the controller should take into consideration various, possibly conflicting objectives that the water system serves. Those may include drainage, water protection, irrigation, navigation, ecology of the surroundings, supplying drinking water, as well as being a leisure spot to the public. These different and possibly opposing objectives could be set up as multiple cooperating agents (an agent is understood as an abstraction of an individual objective) that have to reach consensus among each other to determine which agent at which moment should prevail over the others. Consequently, agents will exist in balance and thus maximize the benefits provided by the water system to the local community whilst minimizing energy consumed and the associated cost.

The MSc student working on this project will work on designing the predictive controller to satisfy a twofold objective. Firstly, the design should be done so that the water system is operated aiming at consuming as little energy as possible and bringing down the associated cost. This can be done, for example, by incorporating into the controller various strategies reducing energy demand, e.g. by realizing the natural flow structure in water systems, tidal patterns and others. Moreover, to cut cost, one could also consider possible day and night price fluctuations as well as other energy cost patterns that may influence the total cost of operating the water system. Secondly, the student should distinguish the different objectives of the system and design the controller the goal of which will be to seek agreement between the various objectives. To that end, dual decomposition of the optimization problem related to the water management task in consideration could be employed.

This project will be supervised by:

Dr Anna Sadowska (DCSC)

Prof. Bart De Schutter (DCSC)

Dr Peter-Jules van Overloop (WRM, CITG)

If you are interested in this project, please contact

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Last modified: 27 June 2013, 15:30 UTC
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