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Stochastic optimal control problems of residential heating systems with a geothermal energy storage
(2023)

In this thesis we consider a residential heating system equipped with several heat production and consumption units and investigate the stochastic optimal control problem for its cost-optimal management. As a special feature the manager has access to a geothermal storage (GS) which allows for inter-temporal transfer of heat energy by storing leftover solar thermal energy generated in summer for satisfying demand later. It is charged and discharged via heat exchanger pipes filled with a moving fluid. Further, the manager of that system faces uncertainties about the future fuel price and heat demand. The main goal is to minimize the expected aggregated cost for generating heat and running the system. This leads to a challenging mathematical optimization problem. The problem is formulated first as a non-standard continuous-time stochastic optimal control problem for a controlled state process whose dynamics is described by a system of ordinary differential equations (ODEs), stochastic differential equations and a partial differential equation (PDE). The PDE, which describes the temperature distribution in the GS, is first converted into a high-dimensional system of ODEs by semi-discretizing the space variables and its stability is investigated. This makes it possible to compute some aggregated characteristics which are useful for the operation of the GS embedded in the residential heating system. Second, the linear time-varying system of ODEs is approximated by a suitable linear time-invariant system. This allows the Lyapunov balanced truncation model order reduction method to be applied. Finally, we investigate the solution of the resulting standard optimal control problem for a controlled multi-dimensional diffusion process using dynamic programming methods and derive the corresponding Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman (HJB) equation. However, no analytical solution of the HJB equation can be expected for the control problem under investigation. Therefore, we transform the continuous-time optimal control problem into a discrete-time control problem for a controlled Markov chain with finitely many states by discretizing both the time and the states. After determining the transition probabilities, the problem is solved using methods from the theory of Markovian decision processes. The thesis presents results of extensive numerical experiments carried out with the developed methods which reveal typical properties of the value function and the optimal strategy of the optimization problem. We end this thesis by describing some alternative methods to overcome the curse of dimensionality.