Energy Conversion and Management 45 (2004) 2405–2415

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Neuro-PID tracking control of a discharge air temperature system
M. Zaheer-uddin *, N. Tudoroiu
Department of Building, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada H3G 1M8 Received 15 April 2003; received in revised form 15 September 2003; accepted 23 November 2003 Available online 22 January 2004

Abstract In this paper, the problem of improving the performance of a discharge air temperature (DAT) system using a PID controller and augmenting it with neural network based tuning and tracking functions is explored. The DAT system is modeled as a SISO (single input single output) system. The architecture of the real time neuro-PID controller and simulation results obtained under realistic operating conditions are presented. The neural network assisted PID tuning method is simple to implement. Results show that the network assisted PID controller is able to track both constant and variable set point trajectories efficiently in the presence of disturbances acting on the DAT system. Ó 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Discharge air temperature system; SISO system; HVAC systems; Temperature control; Neural network control; PID control; Neuro-PID tuning; Tracking control

1. Introduction The control of heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems is a difficult problem because even the simplest HVAC system models are multi-variable and nonlinear. Furthermore, these systems are acted upon by multiple disturbances. For these reasons, there is considerable interest in developing real time control strategies to improve the performance of HVAC systems. Several specific aspects of HVAC systems modeling and control have been considered in the literature. For example, the issue of discharge air temperature (DAT) control in HVAC systems has been studied by Shavit [1], Nesler [2], Dexter and Haves [3] and Seem [4]. In our research, we
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Corresponding author. Tel.: +1-514-848-3194; fax: +1-514-846-7965. E-mail address: zaheer@cbs-engr.concordia.ca (M. Zaheer-uddin).

0196-8904/$ - see front matter Ó 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.enconman.2003.11.016

humidity and pressure at their respective set points in HVAC systems in commercial buildings.5].5 CFM RA VALOP 58. Several tests were conducted to gather the data needed for training the neural networks.0 DEG. The temperature of air entering the cooling coil was measured by the sensor [CCITS]. we are interested in finding a simple neural network based strategy for tuning the proportional integral-derivative (PID) controller so that the control loop performance is improved while the controller remains in the closed loop.C Cooling Coil OA CWFRG 4. More recently. Zaheer-uddin. Some work has already been done in this area. Single loop feedback controllers are used to maintain the temperature. C DPS 260. Outdoor air (OA) and room return air (RA) are mixed. The chilled water flow rate is modulated using a valve. For instance. Here.5]. adaptive techniques that utilize statistical experimental design methods have been designed [4.0 DEG. Measurements were made of the above variables every 4 s.78 PCT Fig. Tudoroiu / Energy Conversion and Management 45 (2004) 2405–2415 are interested in adapting some neuro-modeling procedures to build a real time neuro-PID controller for a DAT system. the development of control strategies for improving the performance of PID controllers using self tuning and adaptive control techniques has been studied by Dexter and Haves [3]. . and the mixed air is filtered and circulated in the cooling and dehumidifying coil. the low. 2.2406 M. C CWRTS 12. The discharge air temperature [CCOTS] is controlled to track a chosen set point by regulating the valve position [VALOP]. The discharge air temperature (DAT) control system. N. DAT system oriented structure A typical configuration of a DAT system is shown in Fig. 1.6 DEG. The authors conclude that the magnitude of the disturbances found in the HVAC industry causes problems when applying self tuning and adaptive control methods. a motor-actuator and a PID controller. The experimental setup also includes measurements of chilled water temperatures entering [CWSTS] and leaving [CWRTS] the cooling coil. and the airflow rate was recorded by a differential pressure sensor [DPS]. 1. Also. medium and high load conditions that typically occur in HVAC systems. The data collected represented three different operating points of the system. Nesler [2] and Seem [4.0 DEG. Discharge Air Temperature System CCITS 25. which varies the mass flow rate [CWFRG] (gpm) of chilled water entering the coil. C CCOTS 11.40 GPM CWSTS 7. it has been reported that unmodeled process disturbances and actuator hysteresis limit the effectiveness of the RLS self tuner as such.

Tudoroiu / Energy Conversion and Management 45 (2004) 2405–2415 2407 From the point of view of modeling. DAT system––MIMO model input/output functional block: cooling and dehumidifying coil model (mw ¼ CWFRG. Tao ¼ CCOTS. . [CWFRG](gpm). mw Cooling Coil Tao Fig. respectively. N. in Figs. [CWSTS](F) and cooling coil inlet temperature Tai . chilled water supply temperature Twi . and its outputs are cooling coil outlet mw Tao Qa Twi Tai Cooling Coil Two Fig. Two ¼ CWRTS). 2. Neuro-PID controller structure. Tai ¼ CCITS. DAT system––SISO model input/output functional block: sensible coil-model (mw ¼ CWFRG. it is useful to conceptualize the DAT system as a multiinput multi-output (MIMO) and single-input single-output (SISO) system as shown.M. the inputs to the model is chilled water flow rate mw . air flow rate Qa . 3. Tao ¼ CCOTS). [CCITS](F). 2 and 3. Qa ¼ DPS. Zaheer-uddin. 4. [DPS](cfm). In the MIMO system. error backpropagation z -1 z -1 z -1 Kp _ ynn (k+1)_ K* p target Kp gain parameter _ + Ziegler-Nichols IC z -1 y* (k+1) z -1 IC Ki Kd Kp u(k) PID C o ntroller y (k) * e(k) DAT Plant Hp (z) y(k+1) - Fig. Twi ¼ CWITS.

is more suitable than the MIMO model. The . and the chilled water mass flow rate mw . models derived using neural networks have been shown to offer advantages in both accuracy and robustness over more traditional statistical approaches (regression methods). for control design. 5. in the SISO model. Tudoroiu / Energy Conversion and Management 45 (2004) 2405–2415 Fig. In the SISO model. Neuro-PID controller-discharge air temperature response for u3 ¼ 2 °F. the discharge air temperature Tao .2408 M. N. As such. is considered as the input to the system. The resulting inaccuracies in modeling can be compensated by designing robust controllers that can compensate for the model uncertainties. Zaheer-uddin. we propose to use the SISO model to design a neuro-tracking controller for the DAT system. Neuro-PID controller Precise modeling of the DAT process is difficult to perform due to its high nonlinearity. On the other hand. With this as the motivation. the predictions from the MIMO and SISO models were compared. The other variables were considered as disturbances on the system. In a previous study [6]. temperature Tao . [CWRTS](F). a simpler model. Recently. By tightly regulating the discharge air temperature close to an optimal set point. [CCOTS](F) and chilled water return temperature Two . 3. such as the SISO model. It was shown that the SISO model predictions are close to those of the MIMO model. is the output. a more simplistic point of view is taken in order to reduce the model complexity. the overall performance of the system could be improved.

such as adaptive neuro-controllers and exponentially weighted moving average (EWMA) neuro-controllers. we consider a neural network configuration that consist of three layers [7]. the neural networks can constantly update their connection weights to respond to changes in the plant dynamics. 4. shown in Fig. The controller is assumed to have the transfer function: Hc ðzÞ ¼ Kp þ Ki þ Kd ð1 À zÀ1 Þ 1 À zÀ1 and is shown in this paper to provide good tracking performance for the temperature output and to reduce substantially the effect of the disturbances. Zaheer-uddin. The neural network training was continued until an error goal. Furthermore. namely 5–2–2. The self learning feature of the neural networks can be exploited in autotuning the PID gain parameters (proportional gain Kp . integral gain Ki and derivative gain Kd ) where there are nonlinearities that cannot be expressed in closed form or some unidentified dynamic modes [7]. In this study. Neuro-PID controller-chilled water flow rate response for u3 ¼ 2 °F. N. defined by the mean square root error (MSE) criterion. 6. Tudoroiu / Energy Conversion and Management 45 (2004) 2405–2415 2409 Fig. was met.9].M. The MSE criterion was defined as . Recent work has developed advanced structures and algorithms. Our objective in this research is to determine an accurate neural network based PID controller for the DAT system. an input–output data set was used to train feed forward neural networks using the error back propagation algorithm. trained by an error back propagation technique [8. neural networks are capable of generalizing and learning dynamic relationships between the inputs and outputs of the plant. For this purpose.

and used as initial values. N. 4. To this end. For greater efficiency. the proportional gain KP . Kd ) are then determined directly by the neural network structure.2410 M. such as the Ziegler–Nichols method. To initiate the training process. 4. the plant error and its delayed signals are used as inputs. Neuro-PID controller-discharge air temperature response for u3 ¼ 4 °F. Zaheer-uddin. 4. the PID gain parameters could be computed using well known techniques. we consider the neural network structure with one parameter fixed. E¼ 1X kyi À ti k2 2 i ð1Þ The back propagation technique in the training of neural networks looks for the minimum of the network error function in weight space using the method of gradient descent. and the other parameters (Ki . Alternately. In Fig. It was found that five delayed error signals were needed to capture the dynamics of the DAT control loop accurately. we consider the neural network architecture shown in Fig. one could assign arbitrary values for the PID gain parameters. Tudoroiu / Energy Conversion and Management 45 (2004) 2405–2415 Fig. where yi represents the output of the neural network. as well as the error in the predicted proportional gain and the target proportional gain. as the outputs of . Furthermore. and ti represents the output target value in the supervised learning mode. 7. for example. The system error eðk Þ was defined eðk Þ ¼ y à ðk þ 1Þ À y ðk þ 1Þ and was used in the supervised training mode. were back propagated as shown in Fig. the error between the neural network output and the plant output.

including the DAT systems. y à ¼ 60 °F for the next 200 samples and . the hidden layer. which can be updated by the network by back propagating the neural network output and the plant error. Ki . the network structure shown in Fig. Zaheer-uddin. we consider the case with changes in the discharge air temperature set points (target values): y à ¼ 55 °F for the first 300 samples. Tudoroiu / Energy Conversion and Management 45 (2004) 2405–2415 2411 Fig. The idea behind this scheme is to let the neural network find all three parameters (Kp . its advantage is obvious when using only the PI control. In the PI mode. the derivative action is rarely used as such. We note that the use of initial PID parameter values obtained using the Ziegler–Nichols procedure greatly improved the convergence of the algorithm as compared to Ahn [7] where the initiation of the process in closed loop is not specified. 8. 4. Simulation results In this paper.M. Since in many HVAC systems. Also. Kd . Kd ) by presenting the input–output data set of the DAT system. Even though this technique still requires one to specify a target gain (such as Kp when a full PID control is implemented). Neuro-PID controller-chilled water flow rate response for u3 ¼ 4 °F. Ki . N. and this eliminates ambiguity in the selection of the output parameters Kp . the architectural structure of the PID neuro-control strategy is simplified using one single hidden layer. only two gain parameters are needed. 4 can be readily simplified to a neuro-PI controller by eliminating the target Kp gain.

N. 9. Tudoroiu / Energy Conversion and Management 45 (2004) 2405–2415 Fig. To eliminate this situation. it is apparent from Fig. Because of this. The results of the simulations subjected to the changes in set points and disturbances are presented in Figs. the set point of 60 °F corresponds to almost no load conditions. 6. we have adapted . thus causing rapid movements of the actuators over a short period of time. 5–8. the neuro-controller input responses show periods of transients following the disturbance. good transient behavior. The control operation is otherwise stable and tracks the desired set point. Given that in both Figs. In the simulations results presented here. In the initial 100 s (25 samples) the valve response (Fig. 7 and 8 (with a 4 °F rise in chilled water inlet temperature) show similar trends. but a 5 °F overshoot in output temperature. The sets of responses in Figs. the set points remain the same. New set point trajectory for the neuro-PID tracking controller. The effect of increasing the chilled water temperature can be seen by comparing Figs. 5–8 show the output responses of the system to the changes in set points by ±5 °F when a 2 °F rise in inlet water temperature occurs. The results depicted in Figs. Also. 6. Zaheer-uddin.2412 M. We consider changes in chilled water supply temperature Twi ðu3 Þ as a disturbance on the DAT system. 5 and 6 (a 2 °F change) and 7 and 8 (a 4 °F change). y à ¼ 50 °F for the last 200 samples. 5 and 7. the control valve is almost closed at this set point as shown in Fig. 8 that a higher water flow rate is needed to maintain the same set point when the water temperature is increased by 4 °F compared to the water flow rates shown in Fig. 6) goes from a full closed to full open position before it stabilizes. These figures reveal a good tracking performance (with zero steady state error). This suggests that significant changes in set points impose a large error on the controller.

The advantage of this technique is that the steady state time can be chosen a priori to achieve a desired tracking trajectory. 5. 9. Neuro-PID tracking controller-discharge air temperature for u3 ¼ 4 °F. We have addressed this issue by presenting a tracking solution that represents a new point of view. The tracking trajectory considered in this paper is shown in Fig. Zaheer-uddin. For this reason. 10 and 11. we have built a neuro-PID tracking controller that tracks a reference trajectory such as the one shown in Fig. reducing the oscillations and the actuator . The speed of response can be improved by selecting a trajectory that reaches the set point faster. N.M. The neuro-PID tracking control is useful in minimizing the overshoot. 10. This is achieved by letting the PID controller track a given trajectory. The simulation results from this neuro-PID tracking controller are depicted in Figs. The responses from this neuroPID tracking controller leads to better performance. In the technique used. 10. The corresponding DAT responses are depicted in Fig. It is apparent that the control input responses are smooth even when a 4 °F change in chilled water temperature is imposed as a disturbance on the system. the actuator responses during the initial few samples seems to be more oscillatory. Tudoroiu / Energy Conversion and Management 45 (2004) 2405–2415 2413 Fig. 9. a tracking control technique presented by Anderson and Moore [10]. Performance evaluation The magnitude of temperature oscillations in the neuro-control strategy is somewhat large due to the fact that the model of the DAT system is nonlinear.

eliminate the need for extensive identification. acts smoothly. N. we developed real time DAT control strategies for tuning the PID gain parameters. The proposed neuro-PID structure gave the best fit for the input–output data set with the smallest standard deviation error. Neuro-PID tracking controller-chilled water flow rate response for u3 ¼ 4 °F. consequently. the dynamics of the DAT system could be unknown and the nonlinearity of the actuator is incorporated in its dynamics. Furthermore. this technique still remains useful for HVAC systems for tuning of the PID gain parameters. and we cut off the training once that error level was reached. Zaheer-uddin. Tudoroiu / Energy Conversion and Management 45 (2004) 2405–2415 Fig. The simulation results reveal that the neuro-PID controller gives good tracking performance. 11. They represent only one of the solutions for the triplet among infinitely many possible ones. The values obtained for the PID gain parameters are not unique. Conclusion In this paper. taking into account the fact that for the neuro-control strategy. .2414 M. In spite of this. This represents a big advantage in practical applications. To avoid overfitting. 6. Overall. the neuro-PID controller structure proposed can be applied to DAT systems with unknown dynamics and. we have limited the number of neurons to as few as possible that yield convergence to the desired error level. we consider the neuro-control strategy very useful for tuning the PID parameters. Experimental work is being planned for validating the control strategy reported in this paper.

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