Thursday, June 25, 2015

AST and UBC enter into a Collaborative Research Agreement

Ascent Systems Technologies (AST) and University of British Columbia (UBC) entered into a 4-year Collaborative Research & Development (CRD) Agreement to develop Integrated Thermal Hydronic System (ITHS) with Adaptive Control. The project is funded in part by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada.

Despite significant advances in efficiency of solar technologies in the past years however, all of them suffer from the same disadvantage - sun energy is only available during the day and is also affected by weather conditions. A system consisting of a solar thermal collector (STC) as an energy generator, thermal energy storage unit, and an air-to-water heat pump as a thermal energy booster, can overcome this disadvantage. Optimally configured and combined with adaptive control it constitutes a core of the Integrated Thermal Hydronic System (ITHS). Generally, ITHS is only one of the "incarnations" of the integrated Onsite Energy Generation (OEG) system. Others can include PV+Battery+Fuel cell generator for instance, as well as combined or hybrid systems.

In developing control for integrated onsite energy generation, AST uses iterative methods and adaptive control algorithm with real-time feedback loop drawn from the space guidance & navigation which have not been applied to renewable energy systems yet. Resulting optimal control produces precise response to both the external environment and the energy demand. The learning algorithm utilizes predictive capability. These all will result in significantly smaller and more compact physical implementation of the system which also means it would require less materials and labor to produce but also will open up a much wider range of applications that could not have been possible otherwise. Those can range from providing sustainable energy for remote Northern communities and First Nations to temporary or seasonal operations such as exploration camps, and rapid deployment applications such as military or disaster relief operations.